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Wang takes Chen health concerns to Cabinet

TAIPEI -- Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said yesterday he has conveyed to the Cabinet the concerns expressed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators over the human rights situation regarding imprisoned former President Chen Shui-bian.

Wang said DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang and the party's legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming had expressed concerns to him about Chen's situation.

“I've done my best to let the executive branch know about the situation, and it has done its best within its bounds,” Wang said.

DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair said Wang called him Wednesday to say that Chen can now use a table and chair in a vacant room opposite his cell, instead of crouching to eat or lying down to write as he had been doing.

Chen was “practically in tears” to be able to eat his meals at a table, according to reports.

Wang said Thursday that there was no need for Chen to thank him, since he was doing this “to promote harmony between the ruling and the opposition parties.”

A local newspaper reported that the detention center has granted the former president special concessions, including a bigger cell, an exclusive study, more outdoor activity time, year-round hot-water showers and medical treatment at his own expense.

In addition, Chen is allowed to have visitors three times a week, while the normal regulation time is once per week, the report said.

Chen's dentist daughter Chen Hsing-yu and her husband Chao Chien-ming, an orthopedist, had treated the president in prison for dental and joint problems, it said.

However, due to safety concerns, the former president has not been asked to take part in the workshops for other prisoners, the report said.

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Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang, left, assists the mother of former President Chen Shui-bian, Chen Lee Shen, yesterday. Su promised Chen Lee Shen that his ...

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