President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that when he worked for then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general Lee Huan (李煥), both of them were branded as “Red Guards” because they were trying to push for major political reforms.
At a memorial for Lee, who died on Dec. 2 at the age of 93, Ma reflected on the days when the late KMT leader and government official was his boss.
Their main duties at the time were to prepare for the lifting of martial law, to allow for the formation of political parties and to replace a whole generation of National Assembly members, Ma said.
PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES
Ma said that because the later task affected many senior politicians, he and Lee were criticized and labeled “Red Guards” — a name drawn from the forces unleashed by former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) to purge his political enemies in China during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976.
Ma praised Lee for contributing greatly to the process of retiring senior members of the National Assembly, amending the Constitution and pushing through other political reforms.
Acting on a directive by then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), Lee also worked in particular to cultivate Taiwan-born politicians, which was a major achievement that helped “build energy” for further political development, Ma said.
“It is necessary to illustrate Lee’s important role in helping to achieve the Republic of China’s transition to democracy,” Ma said.
The president issued a special citation in honor of Lee, which was accepted by Lee Ching-chung (李慶中), Lee Huan’s eldest son.
Lee Huan was born in Hubei Province, China, on Sept. 24, 1917. In addition to his KMT party posts, he served as education minister and premier before retiring.
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