Thursday, March 18, 2004

Teetering on the edge of an Abyss, Taiwan elections update

Fresh off the wires, Taiwan's president (Chen) reportedly shot (AP):

The Associated Press
Updated: 2:05 a.m. ET March 19, 2004TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian was shot in the stomach Friday while campaigning on last day of the presidential election, a lawmaker traveling with the president said.

But CTI cable news quoted unidentified police officials as saying the 53-year-old president was injured by celebratory fireworks that are traditionally ignited as the president's motorcade passes by.

Lawmaker Wang Hsing-nan told TVBS cable news that he was certain the president was shot because he saw the wound in the hospital and it was serious.

"The president suffered a deep wound about three centimeters (1.2 inches) deep in the stomach," Wang told TVBS.

Wang said he was traveling in a car behind Chen's convertible four-wheel-drive vehicle.

The Presidential Office told The Associated Press that it did not have enough information to discuss the incident. Officials said that a news conference would be held shortly.

If this is true - wow! It was already a close election, and this could throw it. Chen was strongly opposed by mainstream China's government as promoting too much independence. Mainland China still insists on eventual Taiwanese reunification "at any cost".

Reuters news service claims that the wound wasn't fatal.

"It was a gunshot but he is not in critical condition," presidential spokesman James Huang told Reuters.

This could easily tip the election if it is seen as mainland China tampering with the Taiwanese election. They've only been having them since 1987. Take a look here at a timeline of Taiwanese history.


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