Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday denied an online rumor about her connection to two leaders of the ongoing protest movement against the cross-strait service trade pact, saying the claims that students Lin Fei-fang (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting’s (陳為廷) actions were politically slanted belittled their efforts.
A list with the names of dozens of student protest leaders and academics supporting the movement publicly has been making the rounds on online forums and social media sites since Sunday, purporting that those listed either worked for Tsai’s 2012 presidential campaign or are members of the DPP.
“These brilliant students participated in various activities organized by my office. I fully respect their participation in the protest movement, which is based on ideals and independent thinking,” Tsai said in a press release issued by her office late on Monday night.
The former DPP chair said the students have been engaged in public affairs for years and operated independently, free from political manipulation.
“Accusing them of being motivated or manipulated by a political camp is an insult to and a belittlement of their achievements, as well as a conventional conception showing lack of understanding of civil society,” she added.
Aside from alleging that Lin and Chen worked on Tsai’s presidential campaign, the message circulated with the list also identified National Tsing Hua University sociology professor Yao Jen-to (姚人多) as a “key figure” in the social push against the trade pact.
Yao was the main speech writer for Tsai’s presidential campaign and the first professor to suspend classes in support of the protests, the message alleges, adding that he taught several of the students in the core protest leadership.
Lin yesterday said the rumors were part of a smear campaign that has misunderstood the movement and is trying to link it to the “blue-green struggle.”
“It is young people who are occupying the legislature. We’re not being led by anyone,” he said.
The message also falsely listed more than a dozen university professors as DPP members, including Academia Sinica research fellow Wu Jui-jen (吳叡人) and National Taiwan University professors Lee Ming-tsung (李明璁) and Chang Chin-hua (張錦華).
It further claims that Leung Man-to (梁文韜), a Hong Kong professor teaching at National Cheng Kung University, and National Tsing Hua University professor Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) are “anti-China extremists.”