Rival camps in Taiwan take battle overseas

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 August, 2006, 12:00am

Rival camps supporting and opposing scandal-plagued Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian are taking their campaigns overseas to justify their roles in the political tempest brewing on the island.

Organisers of the anti-Chen 'One Million People Campaign to Oust Corruption' will hold an international news conference in Taipei on Tuesday to explain why they want to bring down the president.

Emile Sheng Chih-jen, Soochow University political science professor and campaign spokesman, said: 'There is a need for the international community to know why we must launch the campaign, which basically targets corruption.'

Professor Sheng said organisers of the campaign, initiated by former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh, wanted to seek international understanding of their protests.

Mr Shih plans to stage a massive protest with at least 200,000 people in front of the Presidential Office on September 9, demanding Mr Chen's resignation.

Mr Shih, a former political prisoner and comrade of Mr Chen, has obtained endorsements from more than 1 million people and NT$109 million (HK$25.76 million) in funds in less than two weeks after the campaign's launch on August 12.

Professor Sheng said the campaign organisers were keen to make the US, Taiwan's biggest informal ally and long-time arms supplier, understand the purpose of the campaign and the indefinite protest.

The US administration has said it will not get involved in the 'domestic affairs' of Taiwan.

Fearing the anti-Chen campaign might attract support from the US, DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun is scheduled to leave for New York on September 10, the day after his predecessor is to stage the massive sit-in in front of the Presidential Office.

DPP secretary-general Tsai Huang-lang said Mr Yu would also visit Washington and Los Angeles before returning to Taiwan on September 16.

Government sources said Taiwan's envoys had been asked to brief the US about the situation.