Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate and party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) lauded late democratic activist Fu Cheng’s (傅正) life-long contribution to Taiwan at a commemorative event held yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.
The commemoration took place at Taipei’s Grand Hotel — the site where he and other democracy activists founded the DPP in 1986.
“On Sept. 28, 1986, the DPP was formed at the Grand Hotel. Today, at the same place, we hold a memorial ceremony for one of the party’s funding fathers, democracy activist Fu Cheng,” Tsai said in her speech.
Fu, born in 1927 in China’s Jiangsu Province, was a stalwart Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member who in the 1940s worked as an instructor for KMT political thought officers.
As a close associate of Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), the son of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), Fu followed the Chiangs to Taiwan and continued to work in the KMT’s political education unit.
However, Fu soon realized the government did not intend to implement democracy at all.
In the 1960s, Fu expressed his discontent with the government in Free China (自由中國), a publication that advocated liberalism and was sharply critical of the KMT. He was thrown in jail for founding the China Democracy Party that advocated reform with then-democracy activist Lei Chen (雷震). Fu spent more than six years in prison.
In her speech, Tsai praised Fu for devoting himself to the push for democracy after his release from prison.
In 1986, Fu thought the dangwai (黨外, outside the party) movement was not enough and believed founding an opposition party was necessary.
Fu belonged to the “Committee of 10,” the 10 founders of the DPP that included Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and former premiers Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Yu Shyi-kun .
Tsai said that during the KMT’s authoritarian rule, Fu could very well have lived a glamorous life of power, but instead he chose the road filled with thistles and thorns by standing side-by-side with the people in defense of justice and truth, and in the pursuit of democracy and human rights.
“Fearless in the face of the authoritarian regime, Fu transcended ethnic and partisan divides with democratic values and let his successors understand that one should cherish the hard-fought fruit of democracy,” Tsai said, suggesting that work remains undone and that the party needs to stay united in its bid to win the presidential election next year.
Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) did not join the ceremony yesterday, triggering speculation that Su was avoiding meeting with Tsai after his defeat in the DPP presidential primary.
When asked for comment on his relations with Tsai at a separate setting yesterday, Su said they have not contacted each other since Tsai won the presidential primary. Tsai yesterday said she would soon pay visits to and seek advice from senior DPP members, including Su.