Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said those who had described him as “Beijing’s minion” and a “devil” over his recent visit to China had lost their demeanor and poise in the discussion of public policy.
Hsieh did not name names in his weekly radio talk show, but his comment was apparently directed at former secretary-general of the Presidential Office Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), who made an attack on Hsieh on Sunday at a forum.
Chen said Hsieh’s visit, its arrangement, his conduct during the visit as well as the content of his initiative of “constitutions with different interpretations” (憲法各表) lacked legitimacy and kowtowed to Beijing.
Chen’s comments sparked retaliation from Hsieh’s office, with Hsieh’s aide Lin Yao-wen (林耀文) describing Chen, who left the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last year, as a “traitor” who was not qualified to launch an attack.
Chen offered an apology in his radio talk show on Monday, saying he “had gone too far and should not have insulted Hsieh,” but reiterated his opposition to Hsieh’s initiative and his conduct in China.
Hsieh said in his program that it is fine to hold different opinions, but discussions should always be rational.
Hsieh said he disagreed with media reports that Chen’s criticism reflected widespread displeasure over his China visit among independence supporters, because some independence advocates “actually lauded the trip and supported my initiative.”
He reiterated that the initiative remained the most workable solution for the DPP to open the door to bilateral dialogue with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to return to power in 2016, and added that other DPP members have not submitted better proposals.
In terms of senior independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming’s (辜寬敏) proposal for a “nations of brotherhood” (兄弟之邦) framework, Hsieh said it still comes down to a recognition of “two constitutions on each side of the Taiwan Strait,” which is the same as his initiative.
Hsieh went on to voice his opposition to the perspective, which argues that safeguarding Taiwan’s prosperity and sovereignty — rather than returning to power — are the most important tasks for the party at present.
The comment appeared to be a response to former premier Yu Shyi-kun, who expressed that opinion on Monday.
Being in power should be a goal for every political party, Hsieh said.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) tried to play down the dispute yesterday, saying that the discussion of party policy is welcome, but character assassination is not encouraged.