The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday celebrated the 22nd anniversary of its founding with a low-key get-together and a grassroots approach.
The theme of the celebration “Taiwan Cannot Be Without You,” started off with a fun fair held at Taipei’s Yuanshan Park in the afternoon and an informal rally held at Taipei’s Zhongshan Soccer Stadium last night.
Addressing the crowd, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the nation needs a strong DPP to supervise the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, adding that DPP legislators would continue to keep the government and its China-leaning policies in check.
“Taiwan’s sovereign status has been in danger under the KMT administration and its China-leaning policies have become a nightmare,” Tsai said. “The DPP’s mission is to lead the public to defend Taiwan’s sovereign status.”
Tsai added that the DPP must seek strength from the public and transform itself into a “reasonable, assertive and practical party.”
The party’s 22nd anniversary was overshadowed by the alleged money laundering case surrounding one of its former chairmen — former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Prosecutors are investigating whether any portion of Chen’s “state affairs fund” had been wired to the overseas bank accounts of his family members during his eight-year presidency. Chen has claimed his innocence, insisting that funds from the “state affairs fund” were used for six secret diplomatic missions and that none of the money lined his own pocket.
While calling on supporters to view the case reasonably, Tsai also called on judicial agencies to maintain their independence and not politicize the case.
Chen did not take part in the party’s anniversary celebration in Taipei yesterday. Instead, he was in his hometown in Tainan County meeting with local supporters.
Chen started off his speech wishing the DPP a happy 22nd anniversary. He then condemned the KMT and prosecutors for oppressing him and said he could be sent to jail by prosecutors soon.
“This could be the last time I meet with you before the KMT and prosecutors send me to Tucheng Detention Center,” Chen said.
Saying that his case was not a purely judicial case but had become political persecution, Chen said that in service to the ideal of Taiwanese independence he was willing to be the first political prisoner under the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH