Yao deflects affair rumors with show of affection for wife in Legislature

The China Post staff

Yao Chia-wen, possibly the next head of the Examination Yuan, publicly confessed his love for his wife during a legislative meeting yesterday, where he was grilled over his nomination.

“Chou Ching-yu, I love you,” Yao said, surprising lawmakers, who reacted with applause, and embarrassing his wife, unused to such a public display of affection. The sentimentalism, which came at the very beginning of the legislative screening of his nomination, was seen as a move to prevent the lawmakers from pursuing Yao on rumors over an alleged extramarital affair. Giving an address before taking questions from lawmakers, Yao thanked his wife for generating support for him from her colleagues. He admitted there have been problems between them, but they had been resolved. Chou, who helped her husband with his tie before he took the podium, turned shy later when asked to comment on the romantic display. “I absolutely did not hear the three words ‘I love you,” Chou told reporters. The romantic prelude to the screening might have set aside any allegations about his unfaithfulness to his wife, but it did not clear lawmakers’ doubts of his allegiance to the country. Please see YAO on page

Legislator Chiu Yi of the People First Party recalled that Yao once threatened to “destroy the Republic of China” while defending himself at a military court. But Yao said maintained that he only had vowed to “overthrow the government” without mentioning the national title.

Yao, a former chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party and an incumbent senior presidential adviser, then assured the Legislature of his loyalty to “Taiwan’s Republic of China.” Yao was one of the opposition leaders court-martialed and imprisoned in the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident — a landmark pro-democracy demonstration during the martial law era. He spent seven years in prison. His strong support for Taiwan’s independence has put his Examination Yuan nomination at stake, with the opposition lawmakers vowing to veto it. He was not intimidated, though. When asked to explain his pro-independence stance, Yao replied that Taiwan is a sovereignty country, and it does not belong to the People’s Republic of China. But when pursued further for a definite view on Taiwan’s status quo, Yao refused to say whether he supported “one Taiwan, one China,” or the “two state” theory. “This is not a multiple choice question,” said Yao, adding he was not being nominated to deal with such matters. But he could not avoid taking sides in one of the key issues concerning the institution he would be leading, saying the highest personnel body he is seeking nomination for, should be abolished. Saying the authority over the personnel affairs should be returned to Executive Yuan, he nevertheless stressed that the matter requires a constitutional amendment, and a national consensus, changes that cannot come overnight. Although the Examination Yuan is in theory the highest authority governing civil servants, some of its functions have been taken over by the Cabinet-level Central Personnel Administration, Yao pointed out. Denying his appointment was a “political reward” from President Chen Shui-bian, Yao said he has a good understanding of the Examination Yuan operations, and believes he is a perfect candidate for the job. He also promised that he will renounce his DPP membership if his nomination is okayed, and that he will not stump for any candidates in the 2004 presidential poll.