After a number of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers launched a volley of verbal abuse at former party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) in recent days, several DPP figures yesterday called on party members to cease their personal attacks.
"I don't agree with our DPP comrades' criticism of Shih's personal character, even though I disagree with Shih's campaign to oust the president," said Chen Chu (
Chen, a close friend of Shih, made the remarks at a press conference where she presented an open letter to Shih, who is behind a sit-in protest aimed at ousting the president.
She urged the party to "tolerate" Shih's right to do and say what he wants.
"The DPP should put up with Shih's sit-in protest for half a month, one month, or however long he wants it to go on," she said.
Chen made two points in support of her argument.
"To collect more than NT$ 100 million [US$3.1 million] in such a short time means that there are actually a great number of people who are unhappy with the DPP. We have to face up to their indignation, which is what a ruling party should do."
"Also, people have the right to express their indignation with the government. We have to defend that right because it was what we stood for in the past -- even to the extent of going to prison" she added.
Chen and Shih were both arrested and jailed following the Formosa Incident in 1979, in which the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government cracked down on a rally organized by pro-democracy dissidents.
Ever since Shih launched his campaign demanding the president's resignation, a number of DPP lawmakers have criticized him for being a tool of the pan-blue camp in their bid to topple the president.
Calling Shih her "eternal older brother," Chen said she had no doubt that he had changed his political position, but urged him to call off his campaign.
Chen said that the media would not portray Shih as a hero if he succeeded in forcing the president from office.
"I want to remind Shih that there are no heroes in a democratic society. There are only people. Taiwan doesn't need a revolution," Chen said. "Now that the president is elected through a democratic system, we have to resort to the methods of recall or impeachment to demand the president's resignation," Chen said.
DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui (
"It's cruel to have Shih's ex-wife make accusations and expose the letter Shih wrote during his incarceration asking for forgiveness," Lin said.
He said that people who didn't dedicate themselves to opposing the authoritarian regime during the martial law period should not criticize Shih at this time.
"As politicians, those who oppose Shih's efforts to oust the president should challenge him with political arguments, rather than talking about his personal affairs," he added.
In other developments, despite KMT Chairman's Ma Ying-jeou's (
The lawmakers said they would participate as individuals.