Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Former DPP heavyweight comes back into the ring

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) is trying to make a comeback on the political stage by running for the legislature. But he's fighting for his legislative seat in the toughest constituency in Taipei City.

Hsu registered in the southern district of the city and will compete with 29 other candidates for only eight available legislative seats. Two seats are promised to female candidates.

Political heavyweights such as the DPP's Duan Yi-kang (段宜康), Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)'s Apollo Chen (陳學聖), Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), the People First Party's (PFP) Diane Lee (李慶安) and independent candidate Li Ao (李敖) are all campaigning in the same constituency.

In his campaign, Hsu is proposing a "new one China policy" for future Taiwan-China diplomatic relations, which he said should be modeled on a European Union (EU)-style partnership.

Under Hsu's proposed "new one China policy," the status quo should be maintained with the institutional structures of the "Republic of China" intact. The policy calls for the establishment of a common cross-strait marketplace to facilitate the opening of air travel, financial markets and tourism between China and Taiwan. An administrative mechanism would be established above the existing institutional structures on either side of the Strait to jointly regulate the cross-strait economic marketplace. Finally, an advisory body called the "Chinese Parliament," without legislative authority, would be established to put Taiwan and China on an equal footing for negotiations.

"An EU-style mechanism for cross-strait relations meets the country's need for security and dignity and would let Taiwan take the initiative in shaping the future on its own terms," Hsu said.

Hsu, a Taoyuan County native who was born on May 27, 1941, started his political career in 1973 when he was elected as a Taiwan Provincial Assemblyman. But he became a heavyweight for what was then the opposition after becoming Taoyuan County commissioner in 1977.

With a master's degree in political science from National Chengchi University, Hsu is also one of the founders of the DPP and served as the party's chairman from 1991 to 1993 and from 1996 to 1998.

Along with Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Hsu was also one of the political victims of the infamous Kaohsiung Incident (美麗島事件).

The incident started as a democracy rally on Dec. 10, 1979, involving primarily members and supporters of the outlawed tangwai movement. The government arrested many protesters on charges of treason and imprisoned them on Green Island for various lengths of time.

The gap between Hsu and the DPP grew wider, until he eventually quit the party and became an independent political figure on May 8, 1999. He made the final break so he could run for the presidency, since the DPP did not nominate him as a candidate. In addition, when his cross-strait policy gradually became more and more China-friendly, some old supporters and comrades became his political enemies.

In 2000, Hsu campaigned for the presidency with his partner, former New Party legislator Josephine Chu (朱惠良), but the pair lost miserably. Since then, Hsu has faded from the political scene -- but he's never quit politics.

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