Lee Teng-hui’s benefits may be stripped, say lawmakers
Ruling Kuomintang ( KMT) lawmakers want to revoke former President Lee Teng-hui’s ( ) privileges as a former head of state for comments he made to Japan’s Voice magazine, including that he was happy to fight for Japan during World War II.
Lawmaker Lai Shyi-bao ( ), head of the KMT’s Central Policy Committee, said in a press conference Friday that what Lee said showed he had forgotten his roots and should be harshly denounced by the people.
KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang ( ) said the party’s legislative caucus intends to amend the law and abolish the budget for the benefits Lee receives as a former president in the next legislative session.
The lawmakers had previously threatened to cut off Lee’s benefits when the former president said in Japan in late July that the Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea belonged to Japan rather than the Republic of China (Taiwan).
In the interview with Voice magazine, Lee said Taiwan did not participate in the Second SinoJapanese War (1937-1945) because Taiwan and Japan were one country and Taiwanese, including he and his brother, saw Japan as the fatherland.
“We two brothers, as Japanese, were fighting for our fatherland (Japan),” he was quoted as saying by the Japanese publication.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou ( ) has argued that Taiwan did put up resistance to the Japanese and that Lee’s comments denied the efforts by Taiwanese to free themselves from Japanese colonial rule.
Ma said Taiwanese fought fiercely against the Japanese regime for more than two decades after Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, with over 100,000 Taiwanese killed or injured fighting the Japanese in the first five months they ruled the island.
The fight continued until 1920 when non-violent resistance was adopted, Ma said, and it was only after the end of World War II that the Japanese were forced out of Taiwan.