Mon, Jun 21, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Returning the Chiang family to the political stage

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

We had seen Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡) waving the national flag with fervor as she took to the street with group of protesters last year pronouncing their anti-independence stance. We had witnessed her wrath last October, when she accused President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of not recognizing the Republic of China, and opposed Chen's laying a flag on former first lady Soong Mayling's (宋美齡) casket, saying that allowing so would be an act of disrespect to the ideals that Madame Chiang Kai-shek devoted her life to.

We had also seen her filled with glee as she proudly displayed the tiny inked footprint of her first-born granddaughter in front of the press last July.

Now shes is trying to get a nomination from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for the year-end legislative elections to return the Chiang family to Taiwan's political stage.

Chiang Fang Chih-yi is the wife of Chiang Hsiao-yung (蔣孝勇), the third son of late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

Perceived by many as the most active member of the Chiang family in recent years, Chiang Fang surprised many in the nation's political circles when, last Monday, she registered her candidacy at the last minute to run in December's legislative election.

Given that KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴), Chiang Ching-kuo's son born out of wedlock, also had his candidacy registered in the same constituency as that of Chiang Fang, the party had hoped to avoid a race between the two since they both would compete for support from the same voter groups. As the party failed to dissuade either from running in the same constituency, director of the party's Organization and Development Affairs Liao Feng-teh (廖風德) said that the party would resort to a primary as the fairest way to resolve the deadlock.

Chiang Fang said that her decision to run had nothing to do with Chang but her will "to serve the nation and the society."

Chiang Fang said she wished to push causes for minority groups and educational affairs.

Noting that Chiang Fang, since registering her candidacy, had come under pressure from party central to dissuade her from running, Chao Shu-chien (趙叔鑑), a close friend of Chiang Fang's, said that he was worried that she might yield and decide to withdraw.

In view of a local Chinese-language report published yesterday which said she might renounce her candidacy at a press conference today, Chiang Fang yesterday dismissed the report and said she was determined to run.

"I am determined to run in the race," Chiang Fang said yesterday. "The party has a party system, we should let the primary determine the call."

In comparison to other Chiang family members who keep a low profile, Chiang Fang has seemingly become the spokeswoman for the family in recent years despite only having married into the family rather than being born into it.Whenever an issue involving the Chiangs hits the news, there is Chiang Fang, holding forth to the media.

The daughter of former Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau director Fang Shih-hsu (方思緒) , Chiang Fang also uses the English name Elizabeth. Chiang Fang was married to Chiang Ching-kuo's (蔣經國) son Chiang Hsiao-yung (蔣孝勇) in July 1973. Chiang Hsiao-yung died of esophageal cancer in December 1996. Chiang Fang, 55, had three sons: Chiang Yo-po (蔣友柏), Chiang Yo-chang (蔣友常) and Chiang Yo-ching (蔣友青).

Chiang Fang founded a small-scale nursery school in Taipei City called Yi-hsing 18 years ago and is known to the kids in the nursery as "Aunty Chiang."

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