President Chen Shui-bian (
"It deserves sympathy that Shih wrote a letter during his incarceration to dictator Chiang Kai-shek (
The letter the president referred to was almost made public by DPP Legislator Lin Kuo-ching (
Chen Shui-bian said that, provided Shih did not break the law, he would never be arrested.
He called on the public and political parties to value the nation's democratic achievements and exercise self-restraint.
He made the remarks while receiving legislative members of Germany's Social Democratic Labor party at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon.
Supporting Chen's comments, Vice President Annette Lu (
"I don't really want to see this happen," she said. "Since we come from the same root, why do we want to attack each other?" she asked, alluding to a well-known poem from the Jin Dynasty.
Lu, who served nearly five-and-a-half years in jail during the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) period of rule, said that she did not want to see anyone target the weaknesses of those who had been persecuted during the White Terror era.
Lu was sentenced to a 12-year term by the then KMT administration on charges of sedition for a 20-minute speech on human rights she made in December 1979 in Kaohsiung.
Shih was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of treason in April 1980 and was pardoned in May 1990 by then president Lee Teng-hui (
Earlier, in 1964, Shih was sentenced to life imprisonment for trying to organize an association to push for Taiwanese independence. He was released in 1977 after serving a 15-year jail term.
Commenting on the Taipei City police's approval of the 24-hour sit-in Shih plans to hold in front of the Presidential Office, Lu called on KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
DPP Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (
"It is ironic that you [Shih] let the old ghost of an evil regime dictate to you and are willing to go all out to serve the KMT," he said. "Please wake up! This is my last call. Please wake up before a terrible mistake is made."
Calling on Shih not to be a pawn of the pan-blue camp, Lin Kuo-ching urged the former DPP chairman to respond to his questions about a condominium which Lin claims was a gift from fugitive tycoon Chen Yu-hao (
"Please don't be such a cowardly turtle curling up in your own shell," he said.
Lin also urged religious leaders to use their influence to prevent the sit-in degenerating into violence and making headlines around the world. If this happened, Lin said, China might take the opportunity to invoke its "Anti-Secession" Law and invade the country.
DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (