Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 3 News List

`Kill Shih' plot a pro-China strategem

CONSPIRACY A DPP lawmaker said that assassinating Shih Ming-teh would only advance the cause of the pan-blue camp and give China a pretext to invade Taiwan

By Ko Shu-ling and Lai Jen-chung  /  STAFF REPORTERS , WITH AFP

KMT Taipei City Councilor Lin Yi-hua yesterday uses a piece of pork to test the sharpness of the blades on new barricades procured by the police.

PHOTO: SUNG CHIH-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

China or the pan-blue camp might assassinate former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) and then put the blame on diehard pan-greens for trying to disrupt Shih's campaign against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), a DPP lawmaker said yesterday.

Legislator Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶), dismissing rumors that supporters of radical independence groups plan to assassinate Shih, told a press conference yesterday that a "college professor" had told him that the pan-blue camp wanted to take Shih's life, in the interest of advancing the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) political interests.

Shih, who has initiated a campaign to oust the president over scandals involving the first family, in-laws and aides, has has been given permission to stage a demonstration in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagelan Boulevard between Aug. 23 and Sept. 17.

"Should Shih get hurt or killed, one could hardly imagine what would happen to Taiwan," Lin said.

"As supporters from the two sides are coming up with their separate rallies to support or oppose the president, such an event would turn Taipei streets into a bloody battleground," Lin warned.

Lin said that a "China-based Taiwanese businessman" had told him that China might take advantage of Taiwan's political situation to get rid of Shih in a bid to heighten political tensions between the pan-greens and the pan-blues.

China would then have a "legitimate excuse" to activate its"Anti-Secession" Law and send troops to Taiwan, Lin said.

Beijing has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan if certain situations occur, including "Taiwan plunging into chaos for whatever reason."

Lin said that he would report the details to authorities and let investigators and prosecutors discover the truth.

Shih's office said yesterday that Shih has hired bodyguards following reports of death threats over his campaign to oust Chen.

"We've heard such reports. We'll be careful in handling the matter," said one of Shih's assistants who identified herself only as Yang.

"Mr. Shih has hired bodyguards to ensure his safety," she added.

Meanwhile, in response to the joint action by representatives of 14 bar associations supporting Shih and condemning the president, the head of the Taiwan Association for the Rule of Law yesterday called Shih's anti-Chen demonstration an anti-democracy action.

Chang Hsieh-hai (張學海), the head of the association, published a statement criticizing Shih as the initiator of a campaign that has "created more social disturbance and [led to] stand-offs under the pretense of democracy."

"Politicians have to honor democracy and the rule of law," Chang said in the statement.

"[They] should not do anything to break the law in the name of democracy, which would only create more panic, conflict and chaos in society," Chang said.

He also criticized Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, for giving Shih's group permission to stage an around-the-clock sit-in demonstration on Ketagelan Boulevard.

Chang claimed that it was an obvious case of double standards because two years ago Ma ordered police to disperse the anti-Chen Shui-bian protest led by then KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) in the wake of the 2004 presidential election.

Chang panned Ma for creating a "Shih Ming-teh clause" in the demonstration rules to allow Shih and his supporters to carry on their campaign aimed at ousting the president.

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