Tue, Jan 06, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Groups threaten siege over Lee

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Taiwan Association of University Professors and other pro-Taiwan groups protest outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday. They demanded that the legislature relieve Diane Lee of her duties.

PHOTO: CNA

Pro-localization groups said yesterday they would lay siege to the legislature from Friday if Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) was not relieved of her duties. Lee resigned from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) last week after accusations that she possessed US citizenship. The Nationality Act (國籍法) bans government officials from holding dual citizenship.

“If the legislature does not rule that Diane Lee and [KMT Legislator] Mark Li (李明星) should be relieved of their duties as legislators during Friday’s plenary session, then we will stage a ‘siege’ of the legislature, and the siege will continue for 24 hours a day until such a ruling is made,” Taiwan Association of University Professors chairman Tsai Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) told a press conference in front of the legislature yesterday.

Lee and Li clearly took up their seats before relinquishing their US citizenship, but the legislature has neglected its duties in not dealing with the cases, and therefore people have the right to exercise “people power” and ask the legislature to do what it should have done, Tsai said.

He added the protest would be held under the principles of “do not enter the legislature, do not hurt anyone, do not oppress anyone, do not retreat, do not hit back and do not answer back.”

The demonstration would be co-sponsored by the Taiwan Association of University Professors, the Taiwan Calling for Referendum Amendment Alliance, the Taiwan Teachers’ Alliance and others.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that she had asked the legislature to deal with Lee’s case before next Tuesday — the day the legislative session finishes.

“I am going to the legislature tomorrow [today] to ask the legislature to clear up Lee’s case on the floor and conduct a vote to decide on Lee’s dual citizenship case,” Tsai told reporters yesterday.

She said that a legislator had had dual citizenship for so long and the legislature’s inability to deal with it had hurt the nation’s political system.

The KMT agreed to let Lee withdraw from the party on Wednesday, but stopped short of meting out punishment to the four-term legislator.

Despite a US statement that Lee still possesses US citizenship, the Legislative Yuan resolved on Dec. 26 not to rule on her eligibility to be a lawmaker until the US responded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ request for a more detailed nationality probe.

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