|Teng-hui a former CCP member, says China |
Ex-Taiwanese leader also took part in communist-led uprisings in the 1940s against the KMT, says report
By Ching Cheong
HONG KONG - China has confirmed that former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui had been a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for a few years in the 1940s.
Mr Lee was a Marxist in his teens and joined the CCP in 1946. He quit two years later. -- REUTERS
It has also acknowledged that he took part in the so-called '2-28 Incident' on Feb 28, 1947, a CCP-inspired uprising of sorts against the Kuomintang (KMT) regime ruling Taiwan then.
This came in the form of two long interviews published in the latest issue of the Hong Kong-based Bauhinia magazine, regarded locally as the mouthpiece of the Central Liaison Office, Beijing's representative in the territory.
The interviews were with Mr Wu Ketai, who processed Mr Lee's application for CCP membership, and Mr Xu Maode, who handled his exit.
The Bauhinia report is the first official confirmation of Mr Lee as a former member of the CCP, although political gossip in Taiwan has long suggested so.
According to the interviews, he joined the CCP in 1946. Mr Wu was his sponsor and remained his sole contact in Taiwan.
Two years later, Mr Lee decided to quit and Mr Xu was sent to find out why.
Mr Wu disclosed that Mr Lee had taken part in all the CCP-led insurgencies in Taiwan, including the Feb 28 incident.
This was also the first time the CCP had admitted that it had a hand in the insurgency.
A Taiwanese source speculated that the disclosure in Bauhinia could have been timed to coincide with the upcoming rally which Mr Lee planned to hold to commemorate the Feb 28 incident.
Mr Lee had said he hoped the rally could generate strong support to bolster the separatist-minded President Chen Shui-bian in his re-election bid.
The disclosure is a reminder to Taiwanese that the CCP was with them in their rebellion against the KMT and that CCP members, including Mr Lee, were on the scene half a century ago to lead the event.
However, the source doubted whether it would produce any impact on the Taiwanese political situation today.
'The disclosure merely provided proof and details on what had been known in Taiwan for over a decade. This, in fact, minimises the adverse impact, if any, on the ex-president,' he said.
According to Mr Wu, the KMT government was well aware of Mr Lee's CCP links and had placed him under close surveillance.
It was only when former president Chiang King-kuo decided to appoint him to the vice-presidency that he ordered all the records about Mr Lee destroyed.
Mr Xu recalled that when he was sent to process Mr Lee's exit application, they reached an agreement that this episode be kept confidential by both sides. Mr Xu also reminded him not to divulge party secrets.
In his interview, Mr Xu did not state in specific terms whether Mr Lee had abided by his promise, but quoted a comment by Mr Li Ao, a famous Taiwanese historian and New Party candidate in the 2000 presidential election.
In order to prove that Mr Lee had betrayed his fellow CCP members, Mr Li cited official records which stated clearly that 'bandit Lee Teng-hui' introduced a number of professors from the Taiwan University to join the CCP.
Soon, five of them were arrested and sentenced to death, but nothing happened to Mr Lee, who did not even flee. This led Mr Li to suspect that Mr Lee might have betrayed his comrades.
According to Mr Wu, Mr Lee was a devout Marxist in his teens. When he returned from Japan, he showed Mr Wu the Japanese translation of Marxist treatises and spent long periods studying them.
According to Mr Xu, Mr Lee quit the party because as an agricultural economist, he could not agree with the land reform policy - based on appropriation against the landed class - that was carried out by the CCP in the mainland then.
Besides, although he was an admirer of Marx, he did not want to be bound by very strict party discipline.