Sun, Jun 20, 2004 - Page 3 News List

`Worm' comments draw KMT fire

DEFENDING THE BOSS As Lien Chan's `thanksgiving tour' continued, the KMT chairman was probably relieved not to be subjected to any more name-calling

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

As Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) "thanksgiving tour" took him to Hsinchu yesterday, a number of the party's supporters spoke out against a grassroots KMT member's characterization of Lien as a "lazy worm."

Chiu Teh-hung (邱德宏) a rank-and-file KMT member and chief of staff for the vice speaker of the Miaoli County Council, on Friday called Lien a "lazy worm" during a forum that Lien was conducting.

The announced purpose of the forum was to give Lien a chance to listen to grassroots supporters' ideas about the party.

`Get lost'

Chiu also called party Secretary-general Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) a "caterpillar" and the head of the party branch office a "parasite."

Lien heard no such criticism yesterday. In fact, several grassroots KMT members came to the chairman's defense.

"What was Chiu thinking about when he said all that stuff about the worms?" said Ko Chun-hsiung (柯俊雄), a former film actor who has won Golden Horse and Asia-Pacific Film Festival best-actor awards.

"Chiu should just get lost," said Ko, who is seeking the KMT's nomination for a legislative seat representing Hsinchu.

`Laughingstock'

A party supporter surnamed Wang referred to Chiu as the "three-in-one worm," while another KMT member said that "party members should bravely stand up and defend their chairman when he is being insulted."

During a talk he gave at yesterday's forum, Lien said that "one should not, under the disguise of calling for reform, do things that actually harm the party.

"Acting with too much abandon only makes you a laughingstock," Lien said.

Urging unity among the pan-blue forces, Lien said -- contradicting remarks he made a few days ago -- that there is no timetable for a merger with the People First Party (PFP). But he told his audience that he hoped "the KMT and PFP will soon end their love affair and get married."

Lien then took aim at the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), saying that the KMT had in the past few years made strides in reforming itself while the DPP, in his view, seems to be going backwards with decisions it has made about party structure.

`Emperor'

Lien was referring to a DPP proposal to amend its party charter to authorize the president to name the party's chairman, contingent on endorsement by the DPP's Central Executive Committee.

"If [President Chen Shui-bian ((陳水扁)] has the authority to appoint the party chairman, it is like he is acting as emperor," Lien said.

Following the Hsinchu forum yesterday morning, Lien's "thanksgiving tour" proceeded to Panchiao, Taipei County. Lien is slated to travel to Hualien and Taitung today.

In related news, Lee Chin ?sung (李錦松), head of the KMT's branch office in Miaoli County, said yesterday that his office would consider disciplinary action against Chiu.

"In view of Chiu's rhetoric about the party in the last couple of months, the branch office will considering stripping his party membership," Lee said.

Chiu, a member of a group of young KMT members that calls itself the Blue Eagle Warriors (藍鷹戰將), has frequently called TV call-in programs since the presidential election and has been outspoken in criticizing the party's pace in making reforms.

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