Mon, May 29, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chiu's `rights' speech canceled

NO THANKS Chinese Nationalist Party Legislator Chiu Yi, who has made a name for himself by exposing scandals, was barred from talking on freedom of speech in China

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although the scandal involving alleged insider-trading by the president's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) made headlines on China's state-run CCTV station last week, the legislator who first blew the whistle on the case was last night prohibited from giving a speech on the matter at Peking University.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), who was scheduled to deliver a speech at Peking University last night, informed the press yesterday that the university had cancelled his speech at around 12:30am on Saturday.

"I believe [the reason for the cancellation] was the subject that I wanted to address -- freedom of speech -- which is what made it possible for the recent scandals to come to light," Chiu said.

Recently, a string of allegations against government officials and members of the first family have been made, mostly by Chiu.

The lawmaker has made a habit of holding press conferences in the legislature by day, and appearing on political talk shows by night.

Some of the scandals Chiu has exposed include the case of former deputy secretary-general to the Presidential Office Chen Che-nan (陳哲男), who was detained last month on suspicion of accepting bribes from a businessman in exchange for helping him settle embezzlement charges, and that of Chao, who was detained on Thursday over allegations of insider trading.

Chiu said that he attributed his successes in exposing the scandals to the nation's freedom of speech, and wanted to make this the main theme of his speech in China.

"Without freedom of speech, I wouldn't be who I am today and it is unlikely [that the scandals would have been made public], even if there were 10 Chiu Yis," Chiu said.

Chiu said the scandals were a phenomenon of the nation's "crony capitalism" -- a pejorative expression describing a close relationship between government and business -- saying that the same phenomenon was emerging in China.

"I wanted to use the speech to teach the Chinese public how to fight corruption, as corruption is also a serious problem in China," Chiu said.

Chiu said that he was not surprised that the Chinese authorities had prevented him from making the speech at the last moment, as he had feared such a consequence after he revealed the main theme of his speech to the press in Beijing.

"Although A-bian [Chen] might hate me, he wouldn't go so far as to use the power of the state apparatus to suppress my freedom of speech," he said.

Chiu returned to Taiwan last night.

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