Mon, Mar 23, 2015 - Page 3 News List

FEATURE: White Wolf’s interest in labor raises eyebrows

CONFLICT OF INTERESTS?The former Bamboo Union leader has offered financial help to labor groups when they have been planning protests against the government

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

China Unification Promotion Party Chairman Chang An-le, also known as the “White Wolf,” attends the founding conference of the Minkuotang in Taipei on Wednesday last week.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Chang An-le (張安樂) — better known by his Bamboo Union nickname “White Wolf” — has caused a minor stir by donating NT$100,000 at a fundraising event for the Taiwan International Workers’ Association (TIWA) earlier this month.

Chang said he made the donation on March 9 out of admiration for association’s efforts to advocate for workers’ rights, activists said his record of interaction with labor movements suggested a less altruistic motive.

Over the past two years, Chang has repeatedly offered to “provide assistance” to workers’ groups, in an apparent attempt to dissuade the groups from staging demonstrations against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, labor activists said.

TIWA member Chen Su-hsiang (陳素香) described her first encounter with Chang in 2013 as an “exchange of blows” that was decided in favor of labor groups, in part because of a connection forged three decades ago.

Chang made plans in November 2013 to organize a rally to counter a demonstration planned by labor activists outside the KMT’s 19th national congress in Taichung, which President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was to attend as then-party chairman — a protest that eventually saw laid-off workers hurl thousands of shoes at Ma.

However, prior to the congress, Chang held negotiations with labor activists and then announced that his counter-rally would not be held. Instead he offered to raise NT$30 million (US$956,600) in donations for the laid-off workers — who were in the midst of a legal battle with the Council of Labor Affairs — and urged the workers to “replace shoe-throwing with harmony.”

Chen said Chang changed his mind about the counter-rally after he found out that Chen had work as a journalist in the 1980s at the anti-authoritarian Progress Magazine (前進雜誌).

Chen said Chang was grateful for the magazine’s coverage on the Bamboo Union’s role in the murder of Chinese-American journalist Henry Liu (劉宜良) — who wrote a biography of then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) under the pen name Chiang Nan (江南).

Liu’s killing at his California home in 1984 made waves in both Taiwan and the US, after it was revealed that KMT intelligence officials had ordered Bamboo Union members to assassinate Liu, leading to deteriorating relations between the KMT administration and the US.

Chang, then in the US, attempted to rescue the three Bamboo Union members wanted for the murder by spreading false information about the case at a press conference. He was later arrested by US police on charges of drug trafficking and spent the next 10 years behind bars.

“Basically they got locked up after they were exploited by the National Security Council to assassinate Chiang Nan — they were betrayed,” Chen said, speaking about the Bamboo Union members who were later incarcerated by the KMT government when they returned to Taiwan.

“The White Wolf felt that our magazine spoke in favor of them back then, so he always held a feeling of gratitude,” Chen said, adding that Chang seemed shocked when she told him that she had reported about him three decades ago.

Labor groups refused Chang’s NT$30 million offer — including a NT$2 million personal donation — saying that the movement demanded more than just compensation for the laid-off workers, as institutional reforms were just as important.

During TIWA’s fundraising event this month, Chang vowed to make a monthly donation of NT$10,000 by credit card in addition to the initial NT$100,000 donation, which he presented in a red envelope.

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