Tue, Feb 18, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui goes on attack against Chen's reform drive

By Lin Mei-Chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) appeared to step up his criticism of the government's reform efforts yesterday, warning that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) runs the risk of hurting himself if he did not clearly explain the rationale for the reforms and their implementation.

In an interview published yesterday morning on Ettoday -- an Internet news site -- Lee attacked the DPP's judicial and media reform efforts, saying Chen would encounter more problems in trying to impose the plans unless the president could explain what he meant by "reform."

"What is reform? [The DPP] should be more clear on its definition ? Otherwise, they are simply lies to trick people," Lee was quoted as saying by Ettoday.

"Don't try to deceive people in the name of judicial reform. [The government] is not equipped with concrete measures and clear thoughts. One can't carry out reform with words," he was quoted as saying.

Lee also was quoted as saying that Chen did not understand the impact the judicial reform drive would have.

"[Chen] had no idea how much he has to pay for [the cases]," he was quoted as saying.

However, later in the day, Lee issued a press release saying that he had never criticized the government's judicial reform drive.

According to the press release, the comments quoted on Ettoday came from "casual conversations with friends," that were taken out of context and were therefore misunderstood.

Chen's resolve to overhaul the judiciary have been highlighted in two recent events -- the detention of China Development Finan-cial Holding Corp chairman and former KMT treasurer Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) and the sentencing of DPP Legislator Chou Po-lun (周伯倫) to a six-year prison term in connection with a 15-year-old corruption scam.

Lee voiced his disapproved of Chen's drive to remove political and military influence over the media.

He said the campaign would lead Chen to failure because the pro-unification media dominates the market.

A strong critic of the DPP's China policy, Lee again reminded the government to put more emphasis on management control before it opens the economy further to the Chinese market.

"The president cannot give in, bowing to the pressure of profit-seeking business leaders," he was quoted as saying.

Asked by reporters to respond to Lee's criticism, DPP legislative whip Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said the government is committed to its reform drive, regardless of the price it might have to pay.

Chen Chi-mai said the DPP would adhere to its reform promises even though the measures might cost it voter support.

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