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June 28, 2017

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Kaohsiung mayor supports pardon for Chen Shui-bian

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu reiterated Tuesday that she supports a pardon for former President Chen Shui-bian and that she believed President Tsai Ing-wen would make a judicious decision on the matter.

The mayor's statement comes at a time when the former president's supporters are renewing their push for him to be pardoned on the basis that his graft conviction in 2009 was "unjust."

Councilors from six major cities and seven counties formed a lobby group on Tuesday in Kaohsiung, with plans to collect the signatures of over half of all Democratic Progressive Party delegates to force a decision on the issue at the next party congress in September.

Chen Chu, at a separate venue, said that she supported a presidential pardon for Chen Shui-bian.

"This is an important matter within the party and I trust that the president, as the party's chairwoman, will handle the matter judiciously," she said.

Asked whether she would join the pressure group, Chen said that its members were local city and county councilors.

"That's for representatives, and I'm a mayor," she replied.

The Kaohsiung mayor once said at a city council session that she would bring up the issue of Chen's pardon directly with the president.

Opposition lawmaker Lee Yen-hsiu said Tsai should keep in mind that pardoning Chen amounts to supporting a convicted criminal.

Lee said Taiwan's public was "well aware" of Chen Shui-bian's medical condition as seen in media coverage.

Tsai has so far avoided weighing in on Chen Shui-bian's pardon since taking office, saying that her administration's approach was "to prevent further confrontation between people of different political affiliations."

The former president was released from Taichung Prison in January 2015 on medical parole after serving more six years of his sentence.

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