Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member Liu Po-yen (劉柏煙), who set himself on fire to protest the government’s special treatment of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) last month, died in hospital yesterday.
“Liu had eight skin graft operations over the past month while at National Taiwan University Hospital,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Tsai Chi-hsun (蔡季勳), who has been helping Liu’s family to cover his medical costs, told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview.
“Unfortunately, the operations did not seem to be very effective because of Liu’s age,” Tsai continued. “In addition, infection began to set in last week.”
Doctors announced Liu’s death a little after 4am yesterday morning.
Liu, aged 80, set himself on fire on Nov. 11 in Liberty Square as members of the Wild Strawberry student movement staged a sit-in protest against alleged police brutality in cracking down on anti-China demonstrations during Chen’s visit from Nov. 3 to Nov. 7.
In a flyer that Liu handed out to passers-by before setting himself on fire, Liu said that he joined the KMT in 1950.
“I don’t know what the president thinks about what happened lately — I saw people getting arrested by the police for waving the national flag on the street, and I saw nothing happened to police officers who beat people,” he said in the statement. “I heard that 16 civilians have been arrested and may be indicted, I wonder if the police officers who beat up civilians with batons will receive merits?”
Liu also said that he was upset to see President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) being happy to be addressed by Chen as simply “you.”
“I wonder if the president will kneel down to welcome Chinese officials of higher ranks?” he wrote.
KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) said Liu was not a KMT member, “since he did not reinstate his membership in 2000.”