Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Shih aide steps down over shady past

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO Wang Li-ping, a central figure in the campaign to unseat the president over allegations of embezzlement, was convicted of taking bribes in 1994

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

One of the key organizers of the campaign to oust the president for alleged graft resigned yesterday in disgrace after it emerged that her political party kicked her out because she was convicted on bribery charges 12 years ago.

Wang Li-ping (王麗萍), one of the camp's decision-makers, yesterday announced that she was leaving her post with Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) campaign to oust the president after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) revoked her party membership because of her involvement in the bribery case.

Wang said that she would continue to be associated with the anti-corruption campaign as a volunteer.

Wang was convicted of bribery during the Yunlin County Council speaker election in 1994. She received a seven-month jail sentence, and a two-year suspended sentence.

She also came under fire yesterday for getting caught leaving the "around-the-clock sit-in" protest to go to a sauna.

Wang confirmed that she did go to a sauna, saying that she was tired at the time and needed a place to rest.

The DPP recently questioned Wang's credibility in taking part in the anti-corruption campaign, and decided to revoke her membership Friday.

The anti-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) camp, which has campaigned on a platform of "anti-corruption," condemned the DPP for "shifting the focus" of the campaign by bringing up the incident.

Meanwhile, other Shih campaign backers were also coming under fire.

DPP Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) questioned the motives of anti-Chen "consultant" Hsu Po-yun (許博允), who traveled to China via Macau three days ago.

Wang Shih-cheng accused Hsu of reporting to Chinese authorities on the progress of the anti-Chen campaign on behalf of Shih, then receiving further instructions.

The anti-Chen campaign's news coordinator, Chang Fu-chung (張富忠), said Wang Shih-cheng's charges were pure fantasy, and that the headquarters was under no obligation to clarify details of Hsu's trip.

Hsu is reportedly in Xinjiang attending an international "Asian culture coalition" conference.

When contacted by reporters, Hsu condemned Wang Shih-cheng's charges. He said he would return to Taiwan this Thursday or Friday to clarify the situation, and that he had not ruled out suing Wang Shih-cheng.

Meanwhile, the anti-Chen campaign announced that it will move its protest site to Jinan Road on the east side of the Legislative Yuan after its permit to occupy Ketagalan Boulevard expires at midnight on Wednesday.

The anti-Chen camp also outlined the route it planned to take for a "siege" on Sept. 30, which it hopes will attract more protesters than the Sept. 15 "siege."

Luo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), a spokeswoman for the camp, said the rally will begin at Jinan Road at 3pm, and march along Zhongshan S Road, Nanjing E Road, Jianguo S Road and Renai Road.

The rally is scheduled to return to Jinan Road at midnight.

In addition to demanding the resignation of the president, the parade is also calling for ethnic reconciliation following violence between pro-Chen and anti-Chen protesters in several demonstrations around the nation.

"The goal of the campaign is to fight against corruption, but the focus of the protest has been shifted to ethnic confrontation. Therefore we want this parade to bring reconciliation to all ethnic groups," she said yesterday.

The rally, entitled the "seven-color peace parade," will also aim to move away from the focus on the color red -- with which the camp has become closely associated in recent weeks -- and embrace the colors of the rainbow.

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