Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chen brushes off hecklers' taunts at separate venues

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) shrugged off hecklers at two functions in Taipei City yesterday, a departure from a few days earlier, when he responded to their challenge.

"It was quite a fanfare," Chen told reporters as he was leaving the International Conference Center where he attended the opening ceremony of a medical forum.

Chen made the remarks in response to media inquiries about recent disturbances caused by hecklers during his outdoor activities.

Two men and one woman were taken away by police after causing a disruption as Chen entered and left the venue yesterday.

They shouted "preserve the Lo Sheng Sanatorium" and "why can the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall be designated a historic site while the Lo Sheng Sanatorium cannot?"

The sanitarium was built under Japanese colonial rule in 1930 in Sinjhuang (新莊), Taipei County. The Taipei City and Taipei County governments initially planned to demolish the facility to make way for the Xinzhuang Line of the mass rapid transit line.

Patients and human-rights advocates, however, refuse to abandon the hospital and the Council for Cultural Affairs has sought to have it turned into a historic site.

At a separate setting, a father surnamed Chang () shouted "A-bian [Chen's nickname] step down," before Chen was to deliver a speech at the Taipei Municipal Zhong Zheng Elementary School centennial celebrations yesterday morning.

Chang was taken away and later told reporters his behavior was not premeditated.

He said he was disappointed with the performance of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government over the years and that he was particularly upset by remarks Chen had made a few days earlier.

Chen came under fire for making comments about a heckler who shouted: "People can barely make a living" while attending an exhibition at the World Trade Center on Thursday.

Chen appeared momentarily distracted but soon regained his composure and said that unlike the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, the DPP administration would not ask someone like late gangster boss Chen Chi-li (陳啟禮) to assassinate dissidents.

The president mentioned the incident at another setting later that day, saying the heckler must have a decent lifestyle or he would not have had the time, frame of mind or money to attend the exhibition.

Later yesterday, Presidential Office spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said the president had asked the Executive Yuan to meet members of the Lo Sheng Self-Help Association this week to figure out a way to strike a balance between conservation and development.

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