Annette Lu talks up second term

SOFT POWER: Lu was recognized by her US alma mater for her contribution to Taiwan's democratization, but the president left the ceremony before her speech

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Dec 09, 2003 - Page 4

With President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) expected to announce his running mate for the presidential election on Thursday, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) continues to express her enthusiasm at the prospect of retaining her position for another four years.

Lu was presented yesterday with an award honoring her as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Illinois' College of Law in recognition of her contribution to democratization and diplomacy.

The president made the keynote speech at the ceremony in the Presidential Office. He praised Lu's achievements over the decades and expressed approval at Lu's diplomatic work during the three years she had worked as his "best assistant."

"She has established solid friendships between Taiwan and our allies by using `soft power,' based on human rights, democracy, love, peace and high technology," Chen said.

Heidi Hurd, dean of the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented the award to Lu at the conclusion of Chen's speech.

Chen then left the ceremony, before Lu began her speech.

Lu described her experience at the university, which started in 1969, as a journey of "enlightenment." She said that the process of learning during her time in the US had given her the inspiration to further her career in Taiwan.

She said that her personal road toward feminism began at university. She also said that she had learned skills and acquired the courage to be a leader after witnessing the activities of the anti-war movement on campus.

Lu then turned to domestic issues, expressing her desire to serve as President Chen's "best assistant" for another four years.

"Let me take this opportunity to reiterate my heartfelt appreciation to my boss, President Chen, not only for his taking time to attend this ceremony, but also for his decision to choose me as running mate three years ago," she said.

"No one could have thought 23 years ago that a `violent, seditious element' could be invited to run with her defense lawyer [from the Kaohsiung Incident] and [that] they could overthrow the suppressive [sic] regime with the votes of people in so peaceful and cheerful [a] way," Lu said.

Lu said she really hoped that Chen could have been at the ceremony at that moment.

"People used to say that awards were given at the end of one's career," Lu said.

"I certainly hope it is not true in my case, as I will continue working as hard as possible for the common goal of promoting democracy that President Chen and I have advocated for the past three years," she said.

"May we have your blessings," Lu added.