Political Corruption in Taiwan?

You can crucify <b><i>that one</i></b>

You can crucify THAT one...

Not only Taiwan’s former president Chen Shui-bian is in the dock, writes the Economist in its January 24th edition – the judiciary is, too. (printed ed., page 56)

That may be a bit strong. But Taiwan’s judiciary’s credibility is at stake, and some of its players apparently aren’t aware of that. According to the Economist,

prosecutors involved in Mr Chen’s case performed a comic skit at a party at the justice ministry. To the glee of the audience, one is said to have mimicked the former president’s arrest by raising handcuffed hands above her head and shouting slogans. Shown on television, this outraged many.

And certainly not only fans of the former president.

An open letter by scholars and writers from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia to president Ma Ying-jeou describes what makes them feel doubtful about the proceedings against Chen Shui-bian – and the incidents surrounding mainland chief negotiator Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan last year.

We appeal to you, Mr. President, to restore the credibility of the judicial system in Taiwan and ensure that your government and its judiciary and parliamentary institutions safeguard the full democracy, human rights and freedom of expression, for which the Taiwanese people have worked so hard during the past two decades.

Besides Chen Shui-bian, another former president, Lee Teng-hui, is also under investigation, according to the Taipei Times of December 27 of last year. He fell out with the KMT after leaving office and was expelled from the KMT for his role in founding the independence movement Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which forms part of the Pan-Green Coalition alongside Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party. And in March 2008, he endorsed the DPP’s presidential nominee, Frank Hsieh Chang-ting.

But president Ma seems to move towards his old ex-chairman. Both Ma and vice president Vincent Siew paid visits to the elder statesman this month “to discuss the economy”. Lee will probably stay out of trouble, to call on institutes of theology in order to enrich his spiritual life.

Imagine Lee Teng-hui in the dock. The former chairman of what is or was the world’s wealthiest party would have stories to tell. Too many stories. No matter if proven guility, or innocent himself.

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