Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One thing you should know about James Soong

Soong is the central figure pushing forward the presidential recall in Taiwan. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about an important event in Taiwan's recent history: the Kaohsiung (Gaoxiong) Incident:
The Kaohsiung Incident (Chinese: 高雄事件), also known as the Formosa Incident (Chinese: 美麗島事件), was the result of pro-democracy demonstrations that occurred in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China to commemorate Human Rights Day on December 10, 1979.

It erupted following the police raid of Formosa Magazine, an illegal publication designed to support the end of Kuomintang monopolization of power in Taiwan. The ROC Government Information Office under the leadership of James Soong hoped to chill opposition voices through heavyhanded methods. The protest disintegrated into a brawl as protesters, police and undercover agents collided. Soong addressed the public in a speech condemning the protesters, labelling one of the leaders, Shih Ming-teh(施明德), "King of Bandits."

The incident publicized the oppressive tactics of the government in ruling Taiwan and the trial of eight leaders of the protest allowed a team of lawyers to publicly question the practices of torture used by the KMT to extract confessions. Most defense attorneys and defendants were members of the Chinese Comparative Law Society (中國比較法學會), which is now the Taiwan Law Society (台灣法學會).

One of the accused, Lin Yi-hsiung(林義雄), was routinely tortured by police interrogators. Then, on February 28, 1980, while Lin's wife was discussing his case, Lin's mother and twin 7 year old girls were murdered in his home. The event, known as the "Lin Family Murders," remains unsolved.

Several of the accused later became politicians after completion of their prison terms, while members of the defense team became leaders of the Tangwai (Outside Party) movement and later the Democratic Progressive Party. Members of the defense team included Chen Shui-bian(陳水扁)(President of the ROC), Su Tseng-chang(蘇貞昌) ([Premier of the Republic of China]]) and Frank Hsieh(謝長廷) (Former Premier of the Republic of China). Those amongst the accused were Annette Lu(呂秀蓮)(Vice President of the ROC), Shi Ming-teh(施明德) (Political Leader), and Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄)(environmental activist and former DPP chairman).

Ironically and as a sign of how much politics in Taiwan has changed, Shi Ming-teh was seriously considered to be the KMT nominee for mayor of Kaohsiung in 2002. Another important leader during the incident, Hsu Hsin-liang(許信良), left the DPP in 2000 and ran for presidential election as an independent candidate. Both of them have been very critical of Chen Shui-bian's government. In a sign of how things have not changed, James Soong, who split with the KMT to form the similarly aligned PFP party, was a presidential candidate in 2000 and a vice-presidential candidate in 2004, in both cases on the losing side by only a small margin.
He also just compared himself to Barry Goldwater.


Blogger Charlie said...

The news says 老宋 spent the evening in a " 靜坐 ".

Despite some things, Soong still remains pretty popular between the Taiwanese population.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

Could you explain what a 靜坐 (jingzuo) is? Isn't that meditation?

He does appear be a powerful political force in Taiwan, I guess because all of the talk about being a crusader fighting corruption. But I remember back in the nineties, wasn't he involved in some kind of corruption scandal himself? I was living in Taipei back then, and I remember him on on TV crying.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

靜坐 is meditation as you said ( ), but in this case it was a kind of pacific protest, sit down and quiet, as a meditation (like Ghandi).

He spent the whole afternoon infront of the 立院, if I don't badly remember, in a sit-in as a way to protest for the recent corruption cases and to support the presidential recall motion.

By the way, isn't it "James" Soong, the title of the entry it says "Frank" Soong.

See ya

3:08 PM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

Oh, that's embarassing. For some reason, Frank Hsieh must have come to mind when I was looking at Wikipedia. I'll change the title.

Thanks for the explanation of 静坐。

9:56 PM  

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