Tue, Jan 08, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Shih Ming-teh sues Chen, Cho

STICKS AND STONES A DPP caucus whip said Shih should be more open-minded and tolerant of criticism after Shih said the president had 'insulted' red-shirted campaigners

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shih Ming-teh (施明德) yesterday sued President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰).

He said the DPP had insulted people who took part in his 2006 campaign demanding that Chen step down in recent TV advertisements and through comments by Chen.

When approached for comment, Shih said Chen had "insulted" the "one million" participants of the campaign by calling it "the Red-Shirted Riot (紅衫軍之亂)" in order to boost the DPP's electoral prospects.

Shih said he had filed the suit against Chen now instead of waiting until the end of his presidential term because he was upset at the DPP's recent TV advertisements, in which the term "Red-Shirted Riot" was used to describe the campaign.

Shih said that the lawsuit did not target "President Chen," but "Chairman Chen" of the DPP.

"The anti-Chen campaign was not only a historical movement in Taiwan but also a civil movement on an international level," Shih told reporters at the Taipei District Court.

The campaign's deputy director Lee Hsin (李新), who was also present, said Chen's comments and the TV advertisements constituted public insults against the campaign as the word "riot" is defined by the Ministry of Education's on-line dictionary as a rebellion.

"As initiators of the anti-corruption and anti-Chen campaign, we hereby file a lawsuit against [the DPP] for its unlawful comments that twisted history and directly insulted the one million citizens who took part in the campaign," Lee said.

Shih said any compensation amount from Chen would be decided in accordance with the number of people who made a NT$100 donation to the campaign in 2006.

In response to the lawsuit, DPP caucus whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) said Shih, who has spent large portions of his life in the fight for democracy, should be more open-minded and tolerant of criticism.

He said the same matter could be interpreted in different ways in a pluralistic society and that Chen used "chaos" to describe the activity that Shih was organizing, which should be allowed within the realm of freedom of speech.

Additional reporting by Rich Chang

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