People should respect the sacrifices and accomplishments made by pioneers of Taiwan’s democracy movement, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday, as he defended Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) against criticism by Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).
Ko said in an interview on Thursday that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had ruled Kaohsiung for nearly two decades, but as people there became disaffected with its performance, the DPP lost in the mayoral election last year.
“Chen Chu is responsible for that defeat,” he added.
“She [Chen] had spent time in prison in her younger days, but that does not mean she can commit unlawful acts later in life,” Ko said.
Chen was imprisoned for six-and-a-half years for her involvement in the Kaohsiung Incident, a demonstration organized by democracy campaigners and Formosa Magazine on Dec. 10, 1979, to commemorate Human Rights Day that turned violent and led to the arrest of virtually all well-known opposition leaders.
“Chen Chu had wrecked Taiwan’s democracy. She had ruined half of the achievements of the 30 years of Taiwan’s democratic movement,” Ko added.
Lauding Chen’s hardships and contributions to the struggle for democracy, Su said: “If people do not know history, they should at least have respect for the pioneers of Taiwan’s democratic movement.”
“Taiwanese society today has freedom and democracy, because of the sacrifices and arduous struggles by many people,” he added.
Looking at the Kaohsiung Incident trials, Su said that Chen faced a possible death sentence by the military court, “but she was defiant, and was ready to sacrifice herself for Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.”
Ko’s remarks have gone beyond political discourse and had became vicious verbal bullying, DPP spokeswoman Hsueh Cheng-yi (薛呈懿) said, demanding that Ko apologize and take back his words.
While his comments about Chen have riled many DPP figures, who demanded that he apologize, Ko refused, saying: “I don’t care.”
He reiterated that in his opinion Chen was the main reason the DPP lost the Kaohsiung mayoral election last year and called on the DPP to face the issue honestly.
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