VP Lu raises stakes over editor’s story

The China Post staff

Vice President Annette Lu’s spokeswoman yesterday claimed The Journalist’s editor-in-chief was lying about having received calls from the vice president, in the latest drama of the sex-scandal-cum-libel dispute that has been haunting the Presidential Office.

Lu’s spokeswoman, Tsai Ming-hua said magazine’s editor-in-chief, Yang Chao “himself plotted, directed, acted in” the the entire drama. Demanding Yang present evidence, Tsai said Lu did not know Yang, and therefore could not have called him to tell him about the alleged affairs of President Shui-bian. But Yang said Tsai “should not repeatedly make inaccurate statements before she knows ‘the truth.’” In a press conference on Thursday, Yang claimed he was the “senior media person,” mentioned in a previous media conference, who personally received the phone call from Vice President Lu on Nov. 3. Yang also noted that he and Lu had been friends for over 10 years and many Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers can prove their friendship. The editor-in-chief’s statement, however, only added fuel to the already tense situation.

“Lu was extremely mad when she heard about the press conference,” said the spokeswoman.

Lu earlier indicated that she heard Yang’s name but did not know him personally, which, according to Tsai, meant that “their friendship had not reached such a degree that Lu might phone Yang at midnight gossiping about the president’s affairs.” “Lu hopes the public is able to ‘judge’ Yang’s misleading comments,” she added.

Meanwhile, the vice president’s legal team is determined to continue a civil lawsuit against Yang if it does not receive any public apology from The Journalist within six months. “Yang is a very candid, honest person,” said former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, “I believe what Yang said.” Hsu continued to say that he was “puzzled” when Lu said she did not know Yang. They were both among the few Harvard-graduate students from Taiwan at that time and “it is impossible that two did not know each other,” he added.

“I understand Lu is in an awkward situation. And I feel sorry for her,” he said, “but there was no need for her to seek legal action.” Hsu urged Lu to take responsibility for her behavior because “she was the one who started the whole thing.”

Parris H. Chang, Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker, said he was neither able to prove the friendship between Lu and Yang nor recall any interaction between the two.

Chang was suspicious about Yang’s comments, saying that the tape should be made public to prove his accusations regarding the vice president.