Mon, May 08, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Newsmaker: Embattled first lady just wants to live her own life

THE WU WE KNOW Wu Shu-jen has faced growing allegations of impropriety in recent weeks, but those close to the president's wife have defended her character

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP Legislator Lan Mei-chin (藍美津) described Wu as a courageous, sincere and ardent woman. Lan is the wife of National Policy Adviser to the President Huang Tien-fu (黃天福), Huang Hsin-chieh's brother.

"When my brother-in-law was arrested for his role in the `Kaohsiung Incident,' nobody dared to talk to us, not to mention defend him," she said.

"It was very courageous of Wu to encourage Chen to serve as my brother-in-law's defense lawyer. She said she was inspired by my brother-in-law's decision to stand up to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian regime," Lan said.

Lan and Wu then developed a close relationship after both of their husbands were sent to jail in 1986. Huang Tien-fu was the founder of Formosa magazine, of which Chen was the director. The two were imprisoned for publishing an article which said the doctoral dissertation of Elmer Fung (馮滬祥), then one of the KMT's rising stars, was a work of plagiarism.

Commenting on the recent deluge of allegations lodged against Wu, Lan said that she believed the first lady welcomed any constructive suggestions and criticism. However, she thought it was unfair to make groundless allegations against Wu.

"If the accusers had any solid evidence to substantiate their claims, they should have presented it in court instead of using the media to spread rumors," she said.

Lan said that the only change that she had detected in Wu over the years was that her health had deteriorated markedly, preventing her from indulging in pastimes such as shopping and going to movie theaters.

Describing Wu as straightforward, stout-hearted and fervent, Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said that the first lady could swear "like a man" when she was furious.

"She might offend some people unknowingly, but those who know her realize that is just the way she is," said Su, who served as Chen's assistant when the president was a Taipei City councilor and a legislator.

Su dismissed the rumors that Wu loves money and takes an active interest in politics, saying the first lady was more interested in living her own life.

Because Wu comes from a very wealthy family, Su said she is accustomed to an easy and well-to-do lifestyle.

Su attributed the recent string of allegations against Wu to her enthusiasm to help people. Although there is nothing wrong with being benevolent, Su said that he thought it would cause Wu less trouble if she realized the sensitivity of her role.

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