TSU names Tainan nominee
Former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Chien Lin Hui-chien (錢林慧君), yesterday entered the campaign for Tainan mayor to challenge the DPP's candidate Hsu Tien-tsai (許添財), the incumbent mayor who is seeking re-election. Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had previously singled out Chien Lin to run for Tainan mayor but she had been cool to Lee's suggestion and instead accepted President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) offer to become a national policy adviser to the president after she lost her bid to be re-elected as a legislator. Chien Lien said that Lee was happy about her decision. TSU Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強) said that Chien Lin's decision demonstrated the TSU's autonomy and offered an alternative for Tainan citizens other than the DPP.
Man gouges out eyes
A jobless, homesick man gouged out his own eyes, surrounded by families celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, a newspaper said yesterday. The man, surnamed Chiu, lives in Taoyuan County with his mother, wife and two toddler-age children but has been out of work for a long time, the Apple Daily reported. For several months, Chiu, 40, had worked odd jobs in Chungli (中壢) and he was homesick late Sunday during the Mid-Autumn Festival. At 11pm, he was sitting in a park in Chungli as numerous families were barbecuing in the park. "The full moon, smell of barbecue and the revellers' laughter made him even more homesick and angry at his fate. In a fit of anger, he gouged out his eyes with the forefinger and middle finger of his right hand," the daily said.
China blasts Swiss visit
China has lodged a protest with Switzerland's government over a senior politician's meeting with Taiwanese leaders while on a private trip to Taipei last month, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Sunday. China slammed as "incomprehensible" the visit by Bruno Frick, the speaker of the Council of States, the upper house of the Swiss parliament, in a statement issued by its embassy in the Swiss capital Bern. During his stay, Frick met with Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as well as other leaders. Frick said he supported Taiwan's campaign to gain observer status in the World Health Organization. A spokeswoman for the Swiss foreign ministry conceded Frick's sojourn in Taiwan was "inconvenient" although she noted the nation's separation of powers between the government and the legislature.
■ Cross-strait ties
Soong took message to Hu
Presidential Office spokesman Chen Wen-tsung (陳文宗) yesterday said President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did ask People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to convey a message to Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), but it was not about what constitutes "one China," as James R. Keith, a senior adviser at the US State Department, had said last week. According to Keith, Soong met Hu and other Chinese leaders in Beijing on May 12 and passed on a message that Chen was willing to engage in dialogue with Beijing using a flexible formulation about what constitutes "one China." Up to yesterday, the Presidential Office had denied asking Soong to be Chen's messenger. While declining to reveal what the message was, the Presidential Office said it was not about a "flexible formulation on what constitutes `one China.'"