Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) will embark on a second trip to southern Taiwan from May 16 to May 18 after a similar visit last week, an aide of the former president said.
Lee, 89, is scheduled to visit Chiayi County and Greater Tainan in his second trip to local communities after recovering from cancer surgery in November last year, according to Wang Yan-chun (王燕軍), director of Lee’s office.
Lee was interested in looking at the development of the local economy and the way in which Western and local culture had been combined in the regions, Wang said.
Dubbed “Mr Democracy” for his contribution to the democratization of Taiwan, Lee’s activities and comments have recently raised some eyebrows.
During his trip to Pingtung County and Greater Kaohsiung last week, Lee urged local governments to fight for their rights against the centralization of power and criticized President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for acting like an “emperor” and disregarding the well being of the public.
“I think Mr Lee would like to show Ma how to be a good national leader by example, as Ma has apparently paid no attention to Lee’s comments,” said Wang, who has been one of the former president’s closest confidants since he retired.
“By both word and deed, Mr Lee also would like to ask Taiwanese not to give up their passion for the future, even if they are frustrated with the direction the country is heading.”
Lee wants Taiwanese to realize that “the collective effort of the people can make things happen even if the president stands in their way,” Wang added.
It appeared that Lee felt it was important to “do something to reinvigorate people” after the Democratic Progressive Party’s loss in the January presidential election and a series of unpopular policies introduced by the government over the past three months, said a staffer from Taiwan Advocates, a think tank Lee established.
Lee probably came up with the idea of touring the nation and holding three seminars on the future of the Taiwanese economy because he does not have a lot of time left, the staffer said, adding that the former president had said on a number of occasions that he had no more than five years left.
“This trip is like a last pilgrimage to a land he dearly loves,” he said.