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Lee Teng-hui's benefits as ex-president may be stripped
【Politics】2015-08-21  18:45:53
Taipei, Aug. 21 (CNA) Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers want to revoke former President Lee Teng-hui's privileges as a former head of state for comments he made to Japan's Voice magazine, including that he was happy to fight for Japan during World War II.

Lawmaker Lai Shyi-bao (賴士葆), head of the KMT's Central Policy Committee, said in a press conference Friday that what Lee said showed he had forgotten his roots and should be harshly denounced by the people.

KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) said the party's legislative caucus intends to amend the law and abolish the budget for the benefits Lee receives as a former president in the next legislative session.

The lawmakers had previously threatened to cut off Lee's benefits when the former president said in Japan in late July that the Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea belonged to Japan rather than the Republic of China (Taiwan).

In the interview with Voice magazine, Lee said Taiwan did not participate in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) because Taiwan and Japan were one country and Taiwanese, including he and his brother, saw Japan as the fatherland.

"We two brothers, as Japanese, were fighting for our fatherland (Japan)," he was quoted as saying by the Japanese publication.

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has argued that Taiwan did put up resistance to the Japanese and that Lee's comments denied the efforts by Taiwanese to free themselves from Japanese colonial rule.

Ma said Taiwanese fought fiercely against the Japanese regime for more than two decades after Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, with over 100,000 Taiwanese killed or injured fighting the Japanese in the first five months they ruled the island.

The fight continued until 1920 when non-violent resistance was adopted, Ma said, and it was only after the end of World War II that the Japanese were forced out of Taiwan.

Lee also said in the interview that the issue of the "comfort women," women forced to act as sex slaves for Japanese troops in Taiwan during World War II, was settled in Taiwan and did not have to be raised further.

He also accused the Ma administration of staging a series of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Sino-Japanese War to "curry favor with China."

While Lee's remarks were panned by the KMT, opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Lee's statement was based on his own personal historical experience.

"We should be magnanimous toward each other to make our society united and strengthen our democracy," Tsai said Friday in response to the controversy.

The greatest sadness of Taiwanese people is that Taiwanese have not been able to control their own destiny for hundreds of years, she said.

Meanwhile, the descendants of martyrs and military leaders during the eight-year war against Japan denounced Lee publicly on Friday for what they saw as his betrayal of the country, and backed the KMT's call to stop benefits provided by Taiwanese taxpayers for Lee.

Fu Da-ren (傅達仁), a sports announcer whose father was late ROC Army Major General Fu Chung-kuei (傅忠貴), blasted Lee for "selling Taiwan to Japan" in a press conference he hosted along with other offspring of war martyrs and heroes.

"Because he (Lee Teng-hui) himself is Iwasato Masao, he wants to describe all Taiwanese people as being part of Japan," Fu said, arguing that since Lee sees Japan as his fatherland, he should hand over his ID card as a ROC national.

Lee is a typical "betrayer," who lives in the country, holds a ROC ID card, and has served as president of the ROC, but forgets his own origins and change history, Fu charged, calling for all ROC ID card holders to stand up and voice their opposition to Lee's remarks.

Kao Yao-han (高耀漢), the son of late ROC Air Force colonel Kao Chih-hang (高志航, 1907-1937), questioned why Lee could still enjoy the preferential treatment offered by the ROC for a former president when he is not even willing to recognize his own country.

KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) blasted Lee for "stamping the nation's dignity" by saying that "Taiwan's fatherland is Japan."

Hung then raised a question for her competitor, Tsai, about the latter's idea of "maintaining the status quo" in terms of cross-Taiwan Strait relations, which Lee backs.

She asked if the "status quo" meant that "Taiwan belongs to Japan."

(By Chloe Hsu and Elizabeth Hsu)
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