Two senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members will lose membership privileges for three years because they attended a cross-strait forum in China organized by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the DPP said yesterday.
DPP Central Disciplinary Committee chairman Chen Ching-de (陳金德) said former DPP legislator Hsu Jung-shu (?Q) and former Council of Agriculture minister Fan Chen-tsung (范振宗) were warned of the consequences if they chose to attend last month’s forum but still chose to go.
“However, considering the immensity of their past contributions to the party and their contrite attitude, we have decided not to strip them of their membership, but rather suspend their membership privileges for three years, which is the maximum period of suspension,” Chen told a press conference.
The penalty is harsh but fair, Chen said.
Fan and Hsu were being punished for breaking party rules, not for holding ideals that are different from the party’s, Chen said.
In making their case to the committee, Fan and Hsu apologized for any trouble they had caused and said they wanted to stay in the party, Chen said.
A few committee members wanted the pair to apologize to the public, but Chen said it was up to Hsu and Fan to decide.
The party should formulate a clear and uniform policy on its officials visiting China, Chen said.
Hsu said she would take the committee’s decision to arbitration and that she had nothing to apologize for because her actions were motivated by her love for Taiwan.
Prior to going into the meeting, Hsu and Fan told reporters they were confident they wouldn’t lose their party membership because “these are old friends.”
The forum they attended was not the KMT-CCP forum that the party had prohibited its members from attending, but rather a “Cross-Strait Trade and Cultural Forum.”
The name of the forum was changed after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) suggested earlier this month that it be called “cross-strait” to encourage the participation of non-KMT members.
In a joint statement, Hsu and Fan said Taiwan needed to face the fact China was an emerging economic powerhouse and that both sides of the Taiwan Strait should establish positive interactions to co-exist peacefully.
“The final words we have for the party is that the Taiwanese remain the core of Taiwan’s political power and the Taiwanese will be the victims of erroneous policies,” they said.