Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday came under fire for allegedly asking a minister at Taipei’s Gikong Presbyterian Church why the church has allowed former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) to stage a hunger strike there to seek a stop to the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant New Taipei City’s Gongliao (貢寮) District.
Chiu Chiung-yuan (邱瓊苑) said that Jiang asked her: “Why did the church agree to let Lin stage his hunger strike here?” when he paid a visit to the anti-nuclear activist about one hour after Lin began fasting on Tuesday.
Chiu said that question was one of many that the premier posed during his brief visit, with other queries including: “Did you have an in-depth conversation with Lin before [he started fasting]?” and “Do you understand Lin’s ideals?”
The church is housed in Lin’s former residence, where his mother and twin daughters were murdered on Feb. 28, 1980, eight days after the imprisoned veteran anti-nuclear advocate was indicted on sedition charges over his role in the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident.
The only survivor in what many speculate was a politically motivated murder was Lin’s eldest daughter, Judy Linton, who lived despite sustaining seven stab wounds.
Lin’s wife, Fang Su-min (方素敏), was visiting him in prison at the time of the murders.
The remarks Chiu said were made by Jiang drew immediate criticism from several quarters, including Sunflower movement student leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), who wrote on Facebook that he did not know whether the premier was “playing dumb” or was just “actually dumb.”
“All I know is that he has no sense of shame,” Lin said.
DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said she was not surprised by the comments since Jiang was clueless about the murders.
National Dung Hwa University associate professor Yang Tsui (楊翠), the mother of Sunflower student leader Dennis Wei (魏揚), said that the questions showed that Jiang was either a lazy or a shameless person.
“If Jiang asked the question because he does not know about the church’s background, it means he is a lazy, ignorant and irresponsible premier who does not bother to do his homework,” Yang said.
“However, if he did know and still asked that question, then I would say he is an extremely shameless and vicious person,” Yang said.
Executive Yuan spokesman Sun Li-chun (孫立群) said that the premier was aware of the connection between Lin and the Gikong Presbyterian Church and that he also knew Lin returned to the site every year on Feb. 28 to commemorate his mother and daughters.
“The premier was only trying to show his concern for Lin ... and also, I did not hear him ask those questions,” Sun said.