Fri, Jan 27, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Ma denies `lauding' China's leader

BACKING OFF The KMT chairman's hope that the party's new youth wing could produce a Hu did not impress the woman who once fronted his cultural agenda in Taipei City

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said his remarks that the KMT Youth Corps could produce another Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) were not meant to be a compliment to the Chinese Communist Party.

The formation of the KMT Youth Corps, which will be established in March, was one of Ma's campaign promises in last year's KMT chairmanship election.

The initiative is seen as an attempt to inject new blood into the party to boost reform. Ma said last week that he hoped the corps could produce another Hu Jintao.

Ma yesterday said the public had misunderstood his remarks.

"I did not laud the Communist Party. I was just trying to emphasize that the KMT should take our young people more seriously," he said.

Ma said his comments not only referred to Hu and China's Communist Youth League, but also former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who was president of his party's youth corps.

"What I mean is that if the KMT doesn't value young people, then it will be worse than the Communist Party," he added.

The KMT Youth Corps has been dubbed by the media as a "clique of princes," with senior members that include former KMT chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) son, Lien Sheng-wen (連勝文) and KMT legislator John Wu (吳志揚), the son of KMT Vice Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄).

But Ma came under attack from former Taipei City cultural affairs chief Lung Ying-tai (龍應台), an essayist with a wide audience in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

Lung, who was a Ma appointee, described the remarks as "the worst joke that Ma has ever told" in an article that appeared yesterday in the China Times, a local Chinese-language newspaper.

"Ma's remarks indicated that he hasn't thought deeply about what sort of system the Chinese Communist Party's youth corps is, and what sort of country [China] is under Hu's leadership," she said.

In the article entitled, "Please persuade me with civilization: An open letter to Mr. Hu Jintao," Lung said the closure of Bing Dian (Freezing Point), the weekly supplement of the China Youth Daily crushed the last hopes of many Taiwanese that Hu would allow a more open society.

"What I really want to say, [Mr. Hu], is that as a Taiwanese, I don't care about whether [proposed gift pandas] Tuan Tuan (團團) and Yuan Yuan (圓圓) can come to Taipei, although pandas are so cute that we melt," she wrote.

"But Taiwanese like me really care about the circumstances of Bing Dian ... There are many Taiwanese who still deeply love the land of China; how can you discuss reunification with them without being cursed or sneered at?" she asked.

also see story:

Editor slams CCP over closure

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