VP-elect, Kaohsiung mayor visit A-bian amid calls for amnesty

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By Stephanie Chao ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Vice President-elect Chen Chien-jen, Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu, along with other former government officials visited former President Chen Shui-bian on Friday, but denied that the visit had anything to do with Chen’s special amnesty case. After the visit, Mayor Chen, representing Vice President-elect Chen, emphasized that the visit was solely to express concern regarding the former president’s health. She also implied that the former president’s condition was poor — Chen still stuttered when talking and had to wear adult diapers. According to local media reports, the vice president-elect maintained a low-profile throughout the entire trip — he “politely refused” the National Security Bureau’s safety personnel, and did not respond to press questions as he was in a hurry to head north by High Speed Rail. When asked about the Kaohsiung City council’s approval of a bill recommending President Ma Ying-jeou grant Chen special amnesty, Mayor Chen reiterated her support of the recommendation, which she feels will allow Ma’s government to heal the political divide and respond to the will of the people of Taiwan. The bill was proposed by Kaohsiung City Council’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus. Ex-president Chen’s son, Chen Chi-chung, who had accompanied the group, publicly addressed reporters’ in regard to his father’s amnesty case, thanking those from the medical field and government councils nationwide who have been helping his father. The political environment at the Kaohsiung City Council was different in the past, with many previous proposals for Chen’s amnesty being revoked by past DPP caucus members, the Kaohsiung mayor said.

Granting the amnesty would bridge divides in Taiwan and help overcome the pan-blue and pan-green dichotomy, as well as show Ma to be an empathetic leader, the mayor said.