The establishment of a medical team with credibility and expertise to look after imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) would be in the interests of the country and society, former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
Tsai made the remarks on the sidelines of a DPP event in Miaoli City in response to media inquiries following reports on Chen’s ill health.
Chen is currently serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence in Taipei Prison for corruption. Concerned over the conditions of his confinement, and mental and physical condition, two US lawmakers last week submitted a report to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission calling for immediate medical parole for Chen.
Founder of the Human Rights Action Center, John Healey, has also recently written an open letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) appealing for better healthcare and cell conditions for Chen.
Tsai yesterday urged the Ma administration to “seriously consider” the establishment of a credible medical team to conduct physiological and psychological examinations on Chen.
The government should take the former president’s health and the medical care he receives seriously, Tsai said.
Meanwhile, Tsai, in an interview with the Hong Kong-based Chinese-language Apple Daily, published yesterday, reiterated that she does not rule out visiting China if there are no preconditions.
If she could visit China the same way she visited Japan and the US, with no conditions attached, “Why not [make the trip]?” Tsai said.
“But I’m not going anywhere as you can see, which tells you that the problem is on the Chinese side,” she added.
Speaking on the issue of the democratic movement in Hong Kong, Tsai said both Hong Kong and Taiwan face the same issue.
“We both have to deal with the Chinese Communist Party,” she said.
Respect should be the key word in China’s interaction with Hong Kong and Taiwan, Tsai said, adding that Beijing did not respect Taiwan, as could be seen from its interference and coercion of Taiwanese society, and that its fingerprints had been everywhere on the election for Hong Kong’s chief executive.
“Beijing must respect democracy in Taiwan and Hong Kongers’ calls for direct elections and democracy,” she said.
Tsai, who represented the DPP in the presidential election in January, was still tight-lipped on whether she was considering running in the 2016 presidential election, but said that she would like to help establish and coordinate social movements in Taiwan.
The development of social movements would be the next important step in the democratic movement in Taiwan, Tsai said.
“As a politician, you have to participate in the movement. You have to be ready to help,” she said.