Critic quits DPP: ‘I’m an eyesore’

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A heavyweight yesterday quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party after being what he said was an “eyesore” for fellow members over his frequent criticism for the DPP. “I was a good party member, but I have been an eyesore for others,” said former Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung after sending the DPP a brief note about the decision to renounce his membership. “I’ve stayed (in the party) long enough. I’ve done all that I could,” added Shen, an outspoken critic of the party who has not seen eye to eye with many DPP leaders. He said he had not quit earlier as he had felt that his presence could still prevent the party from going astray. “I wanted to give the bad kids of the party a hard time. But I’ve come to realize that this function no longer exists. These bad kids don’t seem to feel anything when seeing me. My existence is meaningless,” he said.

Shen has fallen out with many party leaders and lost favor from DPP supporters over the role he played in a political donation scandal involving President Chen Shui-bian. A fugitive, Chen Yu-hao, head of the now collapsed Tuntex business group, claimed in the run-up to the 2004 presidential poll that he had given the president donations. The tycoon, who was already on the run while making the claims in the United States, said Shen was a witness when he handed the money to first lady Wu Shu-chen. The president and his wife denied having taken money from the fugitive, while Shen gave an ambiguous reply to the tycoon’s claims.

Later in 2004 Shen lost his bid to be re-elected to the Legislature. The DPP’s Taipei chapter confirmed that it had received Shen’s note of departure, along with his membership card. “Today I give up my party membership and all rights pertaining to it. Hereafter the party’s advocacies and resolutions have nothing to do with me,” the party cited Shen’s note as asserting. The Taipei chapter indicated that the termination of Shen’s membership took effect immediately following the delivery of the statement and the return of the membership card. But it maintained that the case would still be referred to the DPP headquarters. Shen’s departure could threaten the DPP campaign for next year’s legislative elections, as he might represent a soon to be established party in the race. Chou Yi-cheng, who heads the preparatory office for the establishment of the “Third Socialist Party,” said Shen could be one of their candidates in the legislative race, but it has not been decided. Chou said his group would announce the first group of its candidates in mid October. But Cabinet Secretary General Chen Chin-chun urged Shen to stay on for the sake of DPP unity. He said the DPP is currently experiencing turbulent times when its chairman, Yu Shyi-kun, has resigned, and there have been debates whether President Chen should lead the party. “If party heavyweights, such as Shen Fu-hsiung, want to leave, this is not a suitable time,” the Cabinet official said.

But Huang Ching-lin, a member of the DPP Central Standing Committee, said keeping dissenters in the party would simply create unnecessary trouble.

“It’s not a bad thing to quit the party,” said Huang.

Presidential Secretary General Yeh Chu-lan declined to comment on Shen’s departure, saying she would need a better understanding of the matter.