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Drive to Oust Chen Reaches Target of 1 Million Backers
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The campaign to depose Taiwan "president" Chen Shui-bian for alleged corruption seems to be gathering momentum as organizers announced yesterday over 1 million people had endorsed it the proposal.


Shih Ming-teh, who initiated the campaign on August 12, announced that the drive had reached its target of enlisting 1 million supporters by yesterday afternoon. "We thank the people who donated a combined 103 million Taiwan dollars (US$3.15 million) to the drive," said Shih.


Shih, the former chairman of Chen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) asked members of the public to donate 100 Taiwan dollars (US$3) each to show their commitment to the pledge and said he would begin a sit-in protest near the "presidential office" building once the 1 million target had been reached.


As of yet, Shih has not announced when his indefinite sit-in protest will begin but it could coincide with Chen's expected trip to Palau early next month. Shih's aides said on Monday that he would start the protest as early as August 27 and no later than September 9, with 200,000 people expected to join him at the start.


"We hope that Chen will hear, see and feel the anger and anguish of the people...Today not a single person can tolerate any longer the acts of Chao Chien-ming (Chen's son-in-law), who still refuses to confess to his crime," Shih said.


He attacked Chen, who himself is involved in corruption scandals, for trying to protect his son-in-law through manipulation. "The people will lead this anti-graft, anti-greed demand a clean government and social justice," he added.


As prosecutors stepped up an enquiry into whether Chen had misused and embezzled "state" funds, while Chen's family also faces corruption allegations, money poured in from supporters of the protest.


Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen is being investigated for allegedly accepting large amounts of department store gift certificates and their son-in-law Chao has been indicted for engaging in insider trading.


Chen Shui-bian won his first "presidency" in 2000 ending the half-century Kuomintang (KMT) rule. He was re-elected in 2004.


Shih's campaign follows an unsuccessful effort in June by the opposition KMT and People First Party to pass a legislative bill that would have put the issue of Chen's recall to a popular vote.







(China Daily August 23, 2006)

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