Sat, Nov 23, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Defeated New Party brass take flight across the Strait

By Hsieh Chun-Man and Shang Tao-Ming

Former New Party lawmakers, front from left to right, Yao Li-ming, Huang Kuo-chuang, Chu Kao-cheng and Yok Mu-ming, along with Cheng Lung-shui, at podium, and other founding members of the party attend a function in this file photo. The New Party won more than 20 legislative seats in the 1995 elections to become Taiwan's third biggest party. However, after last year's polls, it is down to only one seat.

TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO

The New Party suffered heavy losses in last year's mayoral, county commissioner and legislative elections and has nearly evaporated. One after the other, New Party members have left the political stage, many of them to a life of obscurity.

Recently, however, many of them have silently moved to China to seek a new future there.

So who are these New Party political migrants? And what are they doing in China?

Wang Chien-hsien (王建火宣) has gone to China to set up Hope elementary schools (希望小學). Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) is developing a cultural and educational business aimed at children. Elmer Fung (馮滬祥) has set up a company offering services to Taiwanese businessmen. Yok Mu-ming's (郁慕明) iCareAsia (亞洲醫療網) has set up a branch in China. Fu Kuen-cheng (傅崑成) is teaching at Xiamen University. Hsu Li-nung (許歷農) frequently goes to China to visit his daughter and to travel.

Most New Party officials have academic backgrounds, which is why most of them have undertaken semi-public services or cultural and educational activities after moving to China. Only a minority invest with the sole purpose of making a profit.

Public services

For example, Wang went to China to involve himself in public-service activities.

Wang, a devout Christian who participated in last year's county commissioner elections on behalf of the pan-blue camp, has the spirit of a religious person. Together with his wife, Su Fa-chao (蘇法昭), Wang set up a cultural and educational foundation for charitable public service activities.

The foundation's public-service activities are aimed at providing support for the elderly and children as well as blood donation programs in Taiwan.

Last year, Wang started thinking about setting up Hope elementary schools in China. For between 200,000 yuan and 250,000 yuan, an elementary school can be set up in the country's remote areas. Wang has traveled to China on several occasions to evaluate possible school locations.

Wang says he hopes to "invigorate education" in China by improving the opportunities for poor students.

Hsieh Chi-ta, a former chairwoman of the New Party's National Committee, is also planning to involve herself in children's education and cultural activities in China. Recent media reports say that Hsieh will open classes for reading the Book of Odes (詩經).

Hsieh says that teaching children to read poetry from the Chinese classic is just part of her plans. What she really wants to do is develop a children's education and cultural business in China. She has already completed the first stage of her planning and the whole project will be finalized after discussions with her business partners.

Hsieh has a background in law. When she had to leave her post as a legislator, she would still have been able to make a living by falling back on working as a lawyer. Instead, she chose to develop something new across the Strait.

Talking about her experiences in China fills Hsieh with amazement. She says she rested for six months after last year's elections and started thinking of where she would go from there.

During that time, a Chi-nese law firm invited her to serve as a consultant, but she did not want to practice her profession in this manner and rejected the offer.

When, at 18 years old, Hsieh began her working life, she spent a decade as an elementary school teacher. Between 28 and 38 years of age, she was a judge, and was a politician for the following 10 years.

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