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June 22, 2017

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'Formosa Post' is everybody's newspaper: Ex-VP

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Rallying people who have become disillusioned with President Ma Ying-jeou's policies and giving voice to the opposition on closer cross-strait ties have become former Vice President Annette Lu's new key issues since stepping down from office.

While on an all-out effort to raise NT$300 million for her "Formosa Post," Lu recently discussed her plans for the new bilingual daily, her appeal to "civilian journalism," and her recent journey to Washington D.C. to attend the inauguration of U.S. President Barack H. Obama in an exclusive interview with The China Post.

Since Ma took office last May, she contended that more and more people have become disappointed with his government, whereas supporters of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been increasingly "frustrated" by the string of corruption scandals involving members of the former first family.

At the same time, the Harvard-educated Lu expressed concerns that authorities in Washington could further "misjudge the situation in Taiwan" if local media eventually fails to give voice to "the growing opposition to closer ties with China."

"So finally, I decided to run a newspaper," she said straightaway.

During former President Chen Shui-bian's presidency, she remarked that the DPP tried its best to enhance human rights in Taiwan.

Yet the visit of China's top envoy last November and the series of judicial proceedings launched against several former elected DPP officials have marked an "incredible retreat of the human rights situation," she noted.

Aside from human rights, the outspoken supporter of Taiwan independence argued, "the sovereignty of Taiwan has been step-by-step weakened under the Ma Administration."

Despite the president's repeated gestures of goodwill, "Beijing authorities have never given up [their] insistence over their sovereignty of Taiwan," she said.

"So internationally, whenever possible, they try to prevent Taiwan from entering the international community," she added. "China will never give up its insistence on the 'one China' policy, no matter how much goodwill Ma tries to demonstrate toward China."

On the other hand, she further questioned the government's ability to face the countries' growing economic woes in spite of the worsening international financial crisis.

In her most forthright attack yet on the government's reforms, she recently nicknamed the shopping vouchers "langfei quan" or "wasted vouchers."

"I wouldn't mind if the money or the special allowance was given to those people who are really in need, roughly one-third," she went on. "The other two-thirds should not have received them because they just encourage [the public] to waste money."

For that reason, the former vice president stressed the role of the "Formosa Post" and other Taiwanese media in closely monitoring the government's policies in the future.

With the ruling Kuomintang in control of the executive and legislative branches, she warned that public protests have become the last resort of DPP supporters for venting their "frustration."

"I certainly don't want to see that happening," she indicated, urging the government to take into account the opposition's reservations about closer ties with China, and the local media to stop speculating on "corruption allegations" involving the former first family.

"People get sick of that," she remarked.

"Only when due process is done, there is true justice," said the former political activist, who was arrested, interrogated and sentenced to 12 years in prison for sedition in 1979, after speaking at a rally that precipitated the Kaohsiung Incident.

"I certainly do not support any corruption, but if there is corruption, there is a system to take care of it," she continued.

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