Taiwan artists join bid to oust Chen Shui-bian

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2006, 12:00am

The campaign to oust Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has gathered momentum with more supporters calling for Mr Chen's resignation amid a judicial investigation into the assets owned by him and his wife.

More than 100 members of the literary and arts community yesterday joined the campaign to depose Mr Chen launched by the former chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, Shih Ming-teh.

Prominent photographer Hsieh Chun-te, who helped Mr Chen to campaign for the posts of Taipei mayor in 1994 and president in 2000, said: 'I joined the campaign because I am disappointed with what Chen Shui-bian has done.'

Other artists calling for him to step down included noted painter Chu Guo and veteran musician Lee Tai-hsiang. About 500 more are expected to endorse Mr Shih's 'One Million People to Depose Chen Shui-bian' campaign this weekend, according to an organiser.

Funds donated to help finance Mr Shih's campaign soared to NT$25 million (HK$6 million) yesterday and employees at post offices operating remittance services complained they had no time to take a lunch break because of the number of people coming into branches to make contributions.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan High Prosecutors' Office has twice asked the Control Yuan, the government auditor, for asset reports filed by Mr Chen. Hsieh Yu-nan, the Control Yuan's asset report department director, confirmed that the prosecutors' first request was made on August 4 to provide all asset reports filed by Mr Chen dating back to the start of his first term in 2000.

The department was recently asked to review the jewellery owned by Mr Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, which the president reported only after opposition parties accused Mr Chen of dishonesty in filing asset reports. The Presidential Office later said the accounts department forgot to report the jewellery.

The asset checks followed an investigation into whether Mr Chen falsified receipts to claim NT$36 million out of NT$50 million in state funds allocated to him.