Sun, Mar 16, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP mourns loss of Fei Hsi-ping

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian attends a ceremony yesterday in memory of Fei Hsi-ping, one of the 18 founders of the DPP. Fei died last month at his Los Angeles residence at the age of 86. The party says Fei stood out as a ``democratic pioneer'' during a time of dictatorship.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The DPP and government heavyweights paid respects to late party stalwart and founding member Fei Hsi-ping (費希平) in a memorial ceremony yesterday.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) lauded the deceased former lawmaker for his judicious wording of the Taiwan independence clause contained in the DPP's charter.

"During the DPP's extraordinary National Delegation Congress in 1988, the party elite seriously argued the issue of whether to put the clause into the party's plat-form," Chen said in an address at Fei's funeral.

Party officials praised Fei's achievements, saying he stood out as a "democratic pioneer" during a time of dictatorship.

"It was Fei, who sat beside me during the congress, who supported my idea of proposing an amendment called `the four ifs' to soften the impact of the clause," Chen said.

The clause listed four circumstances in which the DPP would declare the nation's independence: if the KMT negotiated with the Chinese Communist Party, if China invaded Taiwan, if the KMT government sold out Taiwanese interests, and if the KMT government refused to introduce real democracy and constitutional government.

Chen said that he proposed this amendment during the congress and that Fei's support was crucial to the reaching of a consensus in its favor.

Fei, a mainlander and a former KMT lawmaker who sided with opposition political groups to attack the KMT in the late 1970s, passed away on Feb. 21. He was 86.

Chen said that Fei was not only one of only a few mainlanders devoted to democratization but also a brave politician who confronted the autocratic regime with an instinctive understanding of right and wrong.

"Fei proved throughout his life that the pursuit of democracy, freedom and human rights can transcend ethnic lines," Chen said. "His career also ensured that the society of Taiwan will expect and admire a politician, whether Taiwanese or Chinese, if he speaks and behaves in accordance with justice and his conscience."

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) praised the strength of character with which she said Fei fought the alien, autocratic KMT regime. Lu said the former regime should serve as a constant reminder to people who harbor unrealistic expectations of Beijing.

"The different attitudes toward China within Taiwan, with some hostile to China and others adopting the illusion that China is our friend, is the crux of the division within our country over the development of cross-strait relations," Lu said.

The DPP also praised Fei for the considerable assistance he provided to victims of political oppression. It said he was a true patriot unencumbered by ideology.

Fei was born in 1916 in China's Liaoning Province. He graduated from Beijing University and was elected as a legislator in 1948. He maintained the position for 42 years until 1990 when he retired.

During his political career, Fei repeatedly defended Lei Chen (雷震), who tried to organize a China Democratic Party (中國民主黨), but was imprisoned by then-president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) in 1960.

He campaigned for opposition politicians after the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident.

In 1986, Fei was elected to the DPP's Central Standing Committee.

But unable to identify with the party's march toward independence, Fei broke with the party in 1988. he withdrew from the political scene after moving to the US.

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