He promised to stay in front of the Presidential Office until Chen stepped down. Then he went back on that, and promised to stay in an apartment near the train station until Chen’s term was over. Now Shih Ming-teh, former democracy activist, former political prisoner, former Chairman of the DPP, and current tool of the pan-Blues, has promised to resume the anti-Chen demonstrations.

Anti-corruption campaign leader Shih Ming-teh (施明德) yesterday announced his “self-imprisonment” was finished and he was prepared to launch a second wave to force President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to step down.

With banners reading “The ‘red-shirts brigade’ will surge again” hanging in the background, Shih and several other campaign spokesmen yesterday afternoon held a press conference in Taipei City, announcing they are ready to re-launch rallies to ask Chen to resign.

The campaign added it will form a new political party to influence the year-end legislative elections if first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) is convicted but Chen does not tender his resignation.

Shih reportedly said he will stick to the promise he made last year that he will not form a political party nor will he run in the legislative elections.

Just as with the demonstrations last year prior to mayoral elections in Taipei, the purpose of the pan-Blue Red Ants this time around is to affect the elections to be held at the end of the year. Of course, as the last two paragraphs note, Shih is breaking another promise. Not that his deluded followers will notice. Or care.

Who are the Red Ants? They are all Blues, turning out in droves for the anti-democracy demonstration that the Blues held the other day to protest the restoration of the word “Taiwan” to many local names, and the renaming of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

Led by former KMT chairman and presidential hopeful Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former KMT acting chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), the protest traveled from Ketagalan Boulevard to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall before returning to the boulevard.

Protesters, many of them wearing blue or red, carried portraits of Chiang and Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) and protest signs and waved national flags in the rally.

Last time around, there were a number of indications that Shih Ming-teh was a tool of pan-Blue heavyweight James Soong, the wily Chairman of the People First Party (PFP). Observers should take note that Shih said the best candidate for the Presidency was Wang Jin-pyng.

“The only one that seems to have a broader sense of forgiveness is Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平),” Shih said. But Shih added he is not sure about the chance of Wang winning the election ticket.

Wang is the main rival of Ma Ying-jeou, the KMT’s anointed savior, and is also a good friend of PFP Chairman James Soong.

Shih has been the subject of protests and lawsuits from former followers. No doubt one motivation for the new campaign is to deflect attention from the complaints of disappointed former supporters — which at the moment, seems to be about everyone who has ever worked with the man. I can’t wait to see how the foreign media frames this.

Selected Blogposts on Shih
Backgrounder to the Shih Ming-teh anti-Chen protests (Dailykos)
Bradsher’s excellent piece in the NYTimes
Soong and Shih — connected?
WaPo, BBC poor work
BBC Bias
Linda Arrigo’s Presentation on the Kaohsiung Incident of 1979
Shih Screws up Taipei and Subsequent Fallout