CHINA / Top News

'Green' scholars urge Chen to resign
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-15 05:28

A group of prominent academic supporters of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are urging "president" Chen Shui-bian to resign over several high-profile corruption scandals, Taiwan media reported on Friday.

The appeal by several dozen scholars from the island's top-ranked academic institutions is the clearest indication yet that Chen is losing support among his once impregnable DPP base.

The scholars are not part of Taiwan's political establishment, but their call will likely erode backing for Chen among DPP lawmakers, who fear the atmosphere of scandal embroiling Chen's family and his close aides could cost them dearly in the 2007 "legislative" elections.

The "Central News Agency" reported that these pro-DPP scholars have already signed an appeal for Chen's resignation.

It quoted Fan Yun of Taiwan University as saying that the scholars will officially make the call at a news conference on Saturday.

"I do not want to go into details about our appeal now, but I can definitely confirm that it will be made," she reportedly said.

DPP "lawmaker" Huang Wei-cher said the scholars' appeal has great significance because of their longtime identification with the party, which won Taiwan's "presidency" for the first time in 2000, following 50 years of control by the Kuomintang.

Describing Chen's situation, Huang used Taiwan's political shorthand, referring to "blue" opposition supporters, "light green" moderate DPP adherents, and "deep green."

"When blue supporters protest, the 'president' can shut his eyes," Huang said. "When light greens speak out, he can ignore them. But when deep green scholars get into the fray, he has to take them seriously."

Over the past several months, Chen has been reeling over allegations that his family and close associates have used their proximity to the "presidential office" for personal gain.

Chen's son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, was indicted Monday on charges of insider trading, following a lengthy investigation.

China Daily - Agencies

(China Daily 07/15/2006 page1)