Sun, Nov 30, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Chu Hsing-yu's temper not tempered by years in office

POLITICAL REPERCUSSIONS The DPP lawmaker has had his party membership suspended again because of his behavior on and off the floor of the Legislative Yuan


DPP Legislator Chu Hsing-yu, right, is restrained as he tries to approach Taiwan Provincial Governor Lin Kuang-hua, left, at a meeting of the legislature's Home and Nations Committee yesterday, after Lin had neglected to return a phone call from Chu.


In 1996, after he allegedly assaulted a hotel employee while drunk, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chu Hsing-yu (朱星羽) said that "Times have changed. The world had changed and I must change, too."

Chu vowed to stay away alcohol, which he blamed for his actions.

The DPP suspended his membership for several months over the assault.

Chu was suspended by the party once again last week for what the DPP said were "continuous improper acts at the legislature." He lost his party priviledges for six months.

"I accept the punishment since it means that the DPP felt that my actions had jeopardized its image," Chu said in response.

But going on the offense, he said "Why can't I beat a provocateur who is inciting me to irrational actions of that kind?"

The provocateur Chu referred to was a DPP colleague, Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨).

Last Thursday, Chu lost his temper and went after Lin during a meeting of the legislature's Finance Committee after his colleague criticized politicians as shameless and selfish.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers intervened to prevented a fight.

Two days earlier, Chu had thrown a chair at the podium on the floor of the legislature after becoming angry with a delay in confirming a trade agreement between Taiwan and Panama.

"Lin was the one egging Chu to throw the chair. He shouted from behind Chu and provoked him to make the move. A feeling of animosity between the two DPP men was ignited," said Hsu Guo-sheng (許國盛), director of Chu's legislative office.

"Chu was unhappy with Lin's instigation, although he acknowledged that he must shoulder the responsibility for such impulse," Hsu said.

Lin's comment about politicians on Thursday was apparently taken by Chu as criticism against him.

"A leopard never changes his spots," Hsu said, hinting that the DPP suspension had as much to do with Chu's record as with his latest outbursts.

"Chu is a forthright person. He is not among those who can disguise their resentment," Hsu said.

"He has been confronted with more challenges as a ruling party lawmaker since the DPP won power in 2000. He felt that he could not be as demanding of government officials [as before] for the benefit of the people," Hsu said.

Born in Gushan, Kaohsiung City, Chu was the son of a cement worker who went to become head of a district subdivision. His mother died when he was a child.

Chu started his public service at young age when he took over the subdivision chief's job after his father became ill with lung disease.

After his father's death he ran on his own in the next subdivision election and won. He finished college during his first term in office.

Hsu explained that Chu's unique style of interpellation at the Legislative Yuan was due to his experience as a low-level elected official and his family and education background.

"Chu never tried to ask his questions using intricate wording. He doesn't think about maintaining a public image as a elegant and refined person," Hsu said.

Reporter Wang Chun-hua (王炯華), who has observed Chu since his firm term in the legislature, concurred with Hsu's comment.

"Chu isn't like a legislator" in the way he walks or his style of questioning government officials at the Legislative Yuan.

"Chu sometimes impresses the media and other lawmakers by using extraordinary terms. For example, he once addressed a high-ranking military officer at the legislature in terms used by the Chinese Communist Party, causing confusion among reporters and military officials at the scene," Wang said.

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