Sat, Jul 15, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taipei Society dismisses report

QUESTIONABLE REPORTING The society denied a report that it supported a petition calling for the president to step down, but then said it didn't oppose the petition, either

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Executive member of the Taipei Society Hong Yu-hung, left, denies a report that the society had issued a declaration supporting demands that President Chen Shui-bian resign.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taipei Society yesterday dismissed a local media report claiming that it had echoed the call of a group of pan-green academics for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to step down.

The Taipei Society, a civil organization generally regarded as pan-green-friendly, made the remarks yesterday in response to a front page story published in the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday, which cited a Taipei Society member as saying that his group endorsed the signature drive by pan-green aca-demics calling for the president's resignation.

At a press conference held to dismiss the report and clarify the Taipei Society's stance, Hong Yu-hung (洪裕宏) and Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華), two executive members of the group, said that the society had never issued any declaration to support a campaign for the president's ouster.

Hong added that nobody from the United Daily News had interviewed him about the statement, even though he was cited in the story as saying that the Taipei Society echoed the statement of the pan-green academics.

"We regret that the United Daily News reporter wrote something unverified in a bid to further the newspaper's political goals," Hong said.

Hong said that while the society did not support the academics' statement, it did not oppose it.

"We will let our society mem-bers use their own judgment about whether they should join the signature drive," Hong said.

Ku said that the Taipei Society was considering suing the United Daily News if it did not apologize for its inaccurate reporting.

Both Hong and Ku said that they personally would not sign the academics' petition.

Ku said that an abrupt resignation by the president at this point in time would only trigger another spate of political warfare and instability.

"I personally hope that the president would diminish his influence on the operation of power and work to rebuild the people's trust in the nation's leaders," Ku said.

In response to the Taipei Society's comment, the United Daily News issued a statement last night saying its report was not biased, according to a CNA report. The paper said the quote from Hong mentioned in the report was taken from his remarks in a news clip broadcast on Wednesday night on SETV.

"We did not exaggerate the story," the statement said, adding that it will have a follow-up report on the issue in today's edition.

In other development, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday said that the DPP was sad to learn the opinion of the pan-green academics, but that it would accept their opinion humbly and speed up the reforms that the public has been expecting.

"The DPP sees these criticisms as catalysts for moving forward," Yu said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that he approved of the pan-green academics' call for Chen's resignation, adding that all politicians should engage in introspection.

"I am touched [by their move]. But I do not take pleasure [in Chen's situation]," Ma said yesterday.

When academics or other groups that represent the nation's conscience shift their support, all politicians should think about such a change, he said.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

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