Lee Teng-hui concludes round-the-nation journey

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Oct 26, 2013 - Page 3

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday concluded his round-the-nation trip with a final stop in Yilan County, saying that his final wish was to visit Yushan (玉山), the highest mountain in Taiwan.

“I’ve asked my doctor about [visiting Yushan] and was told that such trip would not be recommended due to my health condition. I’m hoping that my ashes can be scattered on top of Yushan after I die,” said the 90-year-old in Yilan. “Being buried on Yushan would mean that I would be with Taiwan forever.”

Lee, who retired from politics after 2000, began a series of nationwide tours in April last year, taking available time to visit every city and county — something he was unable to do before — when his health allowed.

The tours, which included visits to old friends, local business owners, hospitals, farms, industrial parks, as well as a trip to outlying Green Island, have been described as Lee’s “last glimpse” of the country he dearly cared for and loved.

Keelung and New Taipei City (新北市) were the only administrative zones Lee has not visited after a three-day trip to Hualien County and Yilan that began on Wednesday.

The former president offered his observation of domestic politics, saying the latest incident regarding food safety was further evidence of the incompetence of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.

He was also critical of Ma’s personnel decisions, in particular his appointment of Minister of Justice Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達).

“Appointing my lawyer as the justice minister is not something I would have done,” he said.

Lo was known for her close relationship with Ma. When Ma was accused in 2007 of misusing his special allowance funds during his two terms as mayor of Taipei, Lo represented Yu Wen (余文), then a Taipei City Government staffer who handled reimbursements for the allowance, in defending Ma’s reputation.