Mon, Apr 26, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Newsmarkers: Shen's self-promotion under fire

OFFENDED FRIENDS Few doubt DPP Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung's wit or energy, but his actions have sparked complaints over his ego and self-aggrandizement

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung has made enemies within his own party, members of which consider him a grandstander.

TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO

Once a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweight and a torch-bearer for the pro-independence movement, Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) has become a controversial figure within the party.

Born in 1939, Shen shows extraordinary energy for a man his age. He looks to be in his mid-40s, has a sharp tongue, quick wit and a big ego.

Shen, under his "Love Taiwan" theory, said the DPP should stop using ethnic issues and the drive for a Taiwanese national identity as campaign themes. He cited media polls to suggest this theory had strong public support.

Shen has been confirmed by the Justice Alliance faction as a nominee for December's legislative election.

"We will see who gets votes in the election. I am confident. Or maybe I will organize a movement to `Save Private Fu-hsiung' since they say I am in danger [of losing the election]," Shen said.

"It is customary for the DPP to arrange for the distribution of votes after the nominations are confirmed, and then we will see who has more votes to help the others. People say that I am screwed," Shen said.

Although he seems proud of his recent performance, Shen's behavior has drawn criticism from fellow party members.

In the run-up to the election Shen spoke on the furor over the political donation former Tuntex Group chairman Chen Yu-hao's (陳由豪) said he gave President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

On March 19, he said he accompanied Chen Yu-hao to visit and make donations to First Lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) at her residence 10 years ago. But his statements were considered by many party members to be a selfish act.

"He only thought about himself when he came out on Chen Yu-hao's case," said a DPP legislator who wished to remain anonymous.

"He is a self-centered and selfish person," the legislator said.

Other party members have said Shen did not have the party's interests in mind.

"He is opinionated and does not listen to others. He has a quick response to everything, he is eloquent and he has high self-esteem," the legislator said.

The legislator said that when Shen urged President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to "do something" about ethnic conflict, Shen thought too much of himself.

"It is the darkest time for Shen. He has offended his friends, and no one wants to speak to him these days. He has become a `lone bird' inside the party," the legislator said.

The term "lone bird" in Chinese is used to describe someone in a group who has become isolated.

But there are still some party members who support Shen.

"Legislator Shen is an asset to the party, and what he has said is for the good of the party. He has highlighted an issue for discussion, and we thank him for that," DPP caucus director-general Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said.

"Yet he has made himself into a lone bird. It's all because of his personal traits," Tsai said.

Meanwhile, Shen has modified his policies to realize a bigger political ambition.

"Shen's intention behind his recent act is clear -- he wants to run for Taipei Mayor in 2006. That's why he thinks it is not beneficial to keep on pleasing pan-green supporters. Their votes will not be enough for him to win the mayoral race. Instead, he is trying to please the pan-blue supporters," political commentator Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒) said.

"This is quite apparent -- when he proposed his `Love Taiwan' theory, he won praise all from pan-blue supporters because the appeal to drop the `Love Taiwan' issue is good for the pan-blue camp," Chin said.

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