Sat, Dec 01, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Forum discusses Chiang Ching-kuo assassination bid

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The attempted assassination of late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) had both positive and negative implications for the Taiwanese independence movement, Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深), an associate research fellow at the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica, said yesterday.

Chen has published his research on the incident, in which 32-year-old Taiwanese Cornell University student Peter Ng (黃文雄) tried to shoot Chiang in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel in New York City on April 24, 1970.

Chen was one of the panelists invited to speak at an Academic Historica forum in Taipei entitled "Post-World War II Dossier and History Study."

Ng, who also attended the forum, said the assassination attempt was planned by four people: himself, his sister, his brother-in-law, former secretary-general of World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI) T.T. Deh (鄭自財), and WUFI member Lai Wen-hsiung (賴文雄).

Ng raised his gun and was preparing to shoot Chiang, who was in the US to meet US president Richard Nixon in his capacity as vice premier, but a member of Chiang's US security detail struck him on the elbow, causing him to miss his mark.

Ng was wrestled to the ground and immediately arrested, along with Deh, who came to Ng's aid when he heard the shot go off.

Asked whether WUFI had backed away from the assassination attempt, Ng said: "Although there was some discussion of the assassination attempt within WUFI, [the organization] didn't come up with a concrete plan. We also wanted to protect the organization."

A guest at the forum suggested that WUFI had abandoned the assassination idea because Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮), then chairman of WUFI, was against it.

Chen said the assassination attempt had initially boosted morale among independence activists. However, he said the decision by Ng and Deh to skip bail, coupled with WUFI's mishandling of the incident, had a disruptive effect on the pro-independence camp.

Ng said in his own book that he had never considered the possibility of serving time in the US. He argued that there was no reason for him to comply with the laws of the US government, which had helped consolidate the Chiang regime.

In Chen's book, Ng was quoted as saying the assassination attempt was intended to build connections between Taiwanese independence activists and international social movements in exile.

Other topics discussed during the forum included the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime's crackdown on democracy advocates.

This was the subject of a presentation given by Lin Chi-yang (林淇瀁), an associate professor at National Educational University of Taipei.

He cited Lei Chen (雷震) as an example. The KMT regime arrested Lei in 1960 for his publication of the Free China journal, a biweekly advocating liberalism and sharply critical of the KMT's autocratic form of leadership.

This demonstrated the KMT regime's willingness to exhaust all efforts to perpetuate its existence, Lin said.

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