- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 5, 2009

Annette Lu spent six years in prison in the early 1980s for condemning her home country’s authoritarian regime, and now she runs a media group aimed directly at covering - and criticizing - Taiwan’s current administration.

Ms. Lu, 65, says she wouldn’t mind going behind bars for her new political publication, but because she has spent the past 30 years ushering her home country toward democracy, she knows she won’t have to.

Ms. Lu, the former two-term vice president of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, spent the week in Washington as part of a extensive North American tour to promote her new, progressive media source, the Formosa Media Group, which discusses international policy and serves as a counterpublication to pro-Chinese business publications.

The slick and colorful weekly magazine and a soon-to-be created Web site feature articles and editorials from reporters and more than 100 scholars who promote Taiwan sovereignty and identity, she said during a visit to The Washington Times on Thursday.

Ms. Lu said she hopes the publication will bring more accountability to Taiwanese trade relations with the U.S. and China so that the island is not viewed as a “frog in a pen” by the international community.

Although she maintains that longtime foes mainland China and Taiwan are now “relatives and neighbors,” she also said Formosa media will follow how much money goes into China - and how much comes back to Taiwan. Cross-strait trade between the two countries has increased dramatically in recent years.

She has outspokenly battled Beijing for years, and state media in mainland China are familiar with Ms. Lu’s charges against their country, labeling her “insane” and “scum of the earth.”

Ms. Lu has a long history creating controversy by standing up at home for women’s rights and human rights and by championing internationally Taiwan’s independence, welfare and sovereign rights.

After receiving a master’s degree in comparative law from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1971, Ms. Lu became Taiwan’s leading women’s rights activist. She received her master of laws degree from Harvard in 1978 and returned to Taiwan to promote the democracy movement. In 1979, she was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison for sedition under the country’s martial law.

Granted medical parole in 1985, she continued to work for women’s rights, democracy and international recognition for Taiwan. In 1993, she became an opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislator. Ms. Lu was appointed national policy adviser in 1996 by President Lee Teng-hui and later served as Taoyuan county magistrate from 1997 to 2000.

In 2000, she was elected as the nation’s first female vice president, winning re-election in 2004. Ms. Lu, whose Taiwanese first name is Hsiu-lien, was also Taiwan’s first elected vice president to adopt a Western first name.

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