When a pan-green legislator on Thursday delivered a stinging attack against the man behind the campaign to depose the president, his actions epitomized the complicated history that many former dissidents share, despite having followed disparate career paths.
It all started in 1979, with the Kaohsiung Incident, in which a democracy protest turned into a full-fledged clash with riot police broke out. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government started to hunt down opposition activists immediately after the confrontation.
Former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (
Unfortunately, the head of the church, Reverend Kao Chun-ming (
Huang Chao-hui said Shih immediately called him on the night he fled the church, saying "The KMT's crackdown has begun!"
According to Huang, who was a volunteer at Formosa magazine (
Huang said that Reverend Chao Chen-er called him and asked him to hide Shih.
He drove Shih from one hiding spot to another. Huang said that it was difficult to hide Shih, because the KMT was going to great lengths to search for the activist.
"The reward for catching Shih was even raised from US$500,000 to US$5 million," Huang said. "But none of us sold him out."
He said that at the time, Shih was striving for Taiwan's democratization and was a good man, not a "traitor" as the KMT had portrayed him.
Shih was eventually arrested in Taipei's Ximending district, and those who had assisted him were caught as well.
A total of 10 people were arrested for helping Shih while he was on the run, including Huang, Kao, Chang, Chao, Shih Jui-yun (
Huang said that many of those people did not know one another until they met in court.
This complex history was on full display when Huang blasted Shih on Thursday, calling the former dissident a "beast" during a press conference in response to Shih's criticisms of Reverend Kao.
The exchange began when Kao criticized Shih as greedy and materialistic, and accused him of selling out Taiwan.
Shih responded that because Kao had previously been appointed national policy adviser and senior adviser to the president, he did not dare to criticize President Chen Shui-bian (
Huang jumped to the reverend's defense, saying that Kao sheltered Shih 27 years ago and had been jailed for four years and three months after helping him to hide in his church.
"How could you say anything bad about your past benefactor?" Huang asked. "Don't you have a conscience?"
"Is Shih qualified to criticize Kao, who went to jail for him?" he added.
He also asked Shih whether he still remembers the words he spoke in court when he was forced to testify against Kao and the others who had helped him to escape:
"I refuse to testify, because you are judging the righteous!"
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