Mon, Dec 02, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Netizens allege conspiracy over accidents

By Chen Ching-min and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Two accidents and other incidents involving activists has spurred speculation on the Internet that the incidents might have been “carefully orchestrated” by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in an effort to eliminate dissidents.

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also doubles as KMT chairman, has been bombarded with criticism for the past year over a wide range of issues, from the forced demolition of four houses in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔) and the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement to the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) in July and the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao Dictrict (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

These issues have also given rise to a new wave of activism, attracting students, film industry workers and others.

However, recent incidents where some of the participants were supposedly tailed by intelligence agents or saw places they frequented allegedly attacked by strangers have raised concerns that their safety could be under threat because of their opposition to government policies.

The concerns were heightened on Saturday after Wei Yang (魏揚), spokesman of the Black Island Nation Youth Front — which has strongly opposed the cross-strait service trade accord — fractured his left hip in a traffic accident. He was hit by a car from behind while riding a motorcycle in Hsinchu City.

On the same day, Taiwan Rural Front secretary-general Frida Tsai (蔡培慧) was hit by a car while crossing a road in Miaoli. She suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage.

A netizen with the username “Taiwanish YU” asked whether the incidents were another of the KMT’s “measures” to remove dissidents.

Another netizen who identified himself as “Tsay Ting-kuei” said: “It is possible these accidents were orchestrated by the minions of the nation’s ‘dictator.’ We should be more vigilant, but not afraid.”

Some netizens also drew a parallel between the two crashes and the incident that left the wife of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), paralyzed from the waist down.

Wu was accompanying her husband on a post-election thank-you tour in then-Tainan County’s Guanmiao Township (關廟) when she was repeatedly run over by a truck driven by Chang Jung-tsai (張榮財) in 1985.

The accident occurred two days after Chen lost the election for county’s commissioner, leading the DPP to allege that the crash was politically motivated and labeled it: “political murder.”

DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said yesterday that the accident involving Wei coincided with a visit to Hsinchu by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘), while the one involving Tsai occurred right after she had delivered a speech at Cafe De lam in Miaoli.

Cafe De lam is a coffee house run by Dapu activist Lin Yi-fang (林一方), which has been attacked twice.

“I had better not over-interpret the incidents. However, I have warned some activists to be on their guard,” Lin Shu-fen said.

Separately, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said: “We asked the police for an expedited investigation into the accidents and to find out the details about the two cases. The government is responsible to protect people and their right to freedom without fear.”

The DPP urged the public to rationally embrace the discussion of public policies and social movements, Lin said.

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