Sat, Jul 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT should say sorry, Hsieh says

CHANGE OF HEART Many KMT supporters hounded Chan Chi-hsien following the 2004 assassination attempt and accused him of being a DPP accomplice

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should make a public apology to former Department of Health minister Chan Chi-hsien (詹啟賢) before inviting him to join its presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) campaign team, Ma's electoral rival said yesterday.

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate, made the remarks after the KMT announced Chan had joined Ma's campaign team.

Chan has been the superintendent of the Tainan-based Chi Mei Medical Center since the KMT lost power in 2000. The hospital was where President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were first treated after an assassination attempt on the eve of the 2004 presidential election.

KMT members have claimed that the incident was staged by the DPP to win sympathy votes. At the time, Chan dismissed speculation that the shooting had been staged and that Chen's medical records had been forged.

In the post-election turbulence, many KMT supporters and politicians panned Chan and accused him of being an accomplice of the DPP, who they claimed had staged the assassination attempt.

When asked about his view on Chan's decision to join Ma's campaign, Hsieh said he felt that the KMT owed Chan a public apology.

"After the shooting on March 19, 2004, the KMT defamed Chan as if he were not worth a dime. And now the party is making a dramatic about-face. This means that all of the KMT's previous accusations against Chan and the DPP with regard to the shooting have been proven to be lies," Hsieh said, adding that the KMT's embrace of Chan was simply an election gambit.

A country's head of state must uphold civic values, mores and culture, and integrity and consistency in words and deeds are important virtues of a great national leader, Hsieh said.

Chan was a minister when Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) held the premiership. Siew is now Ma's running mate.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said Chan's inclusion on Ma's campaign team would be helpful to Ma because Chan has a good reputation with voters in central and southern Taiwan.

Ma said that Chan is a KMT member and it is therefore a matter of course that Chan would support the KMT's presidential ticket.

As to whether Chan should explain the doubts surrounding the shooting, Ma said it would be up to Chan to decide whether he should hold a news conference.

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