Tue, Mar 30, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Taichung official defends Jason Hu

`TERROR' POSTER A staffer at the city's Bureau of Cultural Affairs said the mayor has already distanced himself from the controversial KMT-PFP election flyer

By Joy Su and Martin Williams  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A Taichung City official and long-time associate of Taichung mayor and former foreign minister Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday said that the Taipei Times' investigation into a pan-blue "terror" poster misrepre-sented Hu.

Anna Wang (王瑩), an official at the Taichung City Bureau of Cultural Affairs, contacted the Times to say that Hu had already released a statement distancing himself from the production of the poster, which likens President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to Osama bin Laden and former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and features a graphic of the Sept. 11 attack on New York City's World Trade Center.

However, the Times can confirm that the posters were freely available at the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party campaign headquarters at least until March 19 -- the day before the election and one day after the Democratic Progressive Party had launched legal action against Hu over the poster, and at least one day after Hu was reported as saying that he had been shocked by the poster's content.

Wang also said that the headline of one of the newspaper's reports on Saturday ("Jason Hu let `terror' poster stay in circulation," March 27, page 2) unfairly reflected on Hu's character, because it was not practical to recall the material that had already been sent out by the campaign office.

Wang is also a former editor-in-chief of Sinorama magazine, a publication under the Government Information Office, of which Hu was head from 1991 to 1996.

Wang was at pains to defend Hu's reputation. She said she knew the mayor "really well" and that it was "not his style" to be involved with such material.

She said she would contact Hu so that he could personally comment on the matter.

Previous attempts by this newspaper to contact Hu so that he could make a statement were unsuccessful.

Wang added that the Taipei Times was the only media organization that was continuing to "circulate" the poster.

Wang also said she had been involved in the Taichung City government's campaign to establish a branch of the renowned Guggenheim Museum in the city, but said that she had received no feedback from that organization regarding the pan-blue alliance's use of such campaign materials.

The Times earlier contacted the Guggenheim Museum in New York for its response to the pan-blue camp's use of images of the World Trade Center attack, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler as a way of attacking President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

A spokeswoman for the Guggenheim declined to comment last Thursday.

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