The China Post staff
The Kuomintang (KMT) has disclosed its rarely known connections with President Chen Shui-bian, Vice President Annette Lu and former Premier Frank Hsieh — all of them were once members of the party. The main opposition party’s archive department has recently the exposed membership records of Chen, Lu, and Hsieh, all of whom joined the KMT in the 1960s and 1970s during its iron-fisted rule in Taiwan. Yu Shyi-kun, chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, and Presidential Secretary General Chiou I-jen were also KMT members when they were young, according to the opposition party. President Chen joined the party while he was studying at National Taiwan University at the age of 19 in 1970.
Hsieh became a KMT member in 1966 when was 21, while Chiou was recruited in 1967 when he was still a senior high school student in Tainan. Lu became a member in 1974 at the age of 30, and Yu was a vocational school student in Ilan when he joined the KMT in 1969. Most of the government and DPP leaders named by the KMT did not respond to the revelations. But Lu confirmed that she did join the KMT because otherwise she would not have been able to study overseas. She said she won an overseas scholarship, but the government would not permit her to leave the country because she was not a KMT member. Lu said she never paid membership fees and she renounced the membership in 1978. In 1979 Lu played a prominent role in the pro-democracy Kaohsiung Incident, after which she was arrested along with other opposition leaders and tried and imprisoned for sedition.
The vice president said it may be “a bit ridiculous” for the KMT to make public these records at this time. But as part of history, these records had better be exposed, she added.
According to the KMT records, reviewers wrote on Lu’s membership application form that her thoughts were “correct.” Lu said her thoughts are now “more correct.” Yu said during the authoritarian rule, he had no choice but to join the party when his teacher told him to do so. He insisted that he never paid membership fees or took part in any KMT activities. While his rivals for the DPP presidential nomination — Lu, Hsieh and Yu — have been in the KMT, Premier Su Tseng-chang said he was under constant pressure to join the party when he was in senior high school and in the military. Stressing that he rejected the KMT all along, Su said many people were forced to join the then ruling party during those years.