A Mother’s Day dinner in Taiwan renewed an appeal to Ma Ying-jeou by Chen Lee-shen(陳李慎), the 85 year-old mother of imprisoned Chen Shui-bian, for the release of Ma’s predecessor at the presidential palace. In April, the elderly mother of Chen Shui-bian made a public appeal to Ma for Chen’s release.
Chen Shui-bian has been imprisoned since soon after he left office in the exiled government of the Republic of China. Chen was an advocate for Taiwanese independence and that is the reason for his jailing he said in a 2010 prison interview prior to his conviction for corruption over alleged misuse of “soft money” political donations.
Chen Lee-shen is ailing and could not attend the event but talked by telephone for several minutes with the Mother’s Day attendees. Notables at the event included former ROC Vice-President Annette Lu and four of the five candidates for chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party.
The fundraising dinner was successful, attracting over 1,100 people at a hundred dollars (NT$3,000) a plate. A charity auction of Chen memorabilia netted additional support for Chen’s bid for freedom from the tiny cell he is confined to for long periods. The dinner was hosted by the Katagarand Foundation and the Alliance of Separate Country on Each Side of Taiwan Strait.
Chen Shu-bian’s health has suffered while in prison and he was administered a psychiatric medication without his consent for 14 months until the drugging was disclosed in March. Chen suffers from a heart condition, respiratory distress, and prostate tumors.
Chen Lee-shen begged in April for compassion from Ma Ying-jeou for her son. Chen said her son never considered material things important and as a child saved his modest allowance to buy pencils for school. The family home, sealed by the prosecution, was inherited from her great-grandfather she said.
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