Archive for June 30th, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

July 1, 2011: a Festive Day in Beijing

Welcome to my Corruption Pool

没有共产党就没有新中国: Welcome to my Corruption Pool

Just in case that you haven’t noticed: the motherland’s mother of the masses celebrates her 90th birthday on Friday.
Hu Jintao will deliver an important speech at the Great Hall of the People, and China National Radio (CNR, 中国之声) and all other branches of Chinese state radio will begin coverage of the festive occasion at 9.50 local time. There will be 24 hours of special coverage are looming on CNR alone,focusing on the presentation of the CCP’s brilliant achievements, and transmitting the nation’s sons’ and daughters’  heartfelt good wishes (or blessings)  to the Chinese Communist Party (集中展现中国共产党取得的光辉成就,传递中华儿女对党的生日的衷心祝福).

Just as the CCP likes to say: 没有共产党就没有新中国 (méiyǒu gòngchǎndǎng jiù méiyǒu xīn zhōngguó). Or: Without the CCP, China would still be very feudal.

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Related
» Book Review: Gang then, Dynasty now, May 12, 2010

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

More about Lee Teng-hui’s Indictment

The Special Investigation Division (SID) under the Supreme Prosecutors Office indicted former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui on Thursday, on charges of embezzlement. Also indicted was Liu Tai-ying, a major KMT manager during Lee’s presidency. As far as Lee is concerned, the charges are apparently not about unjustified enrichment, but about diverting funds (挪用), and money-laundering (洗钱). A beneficiary, according to the charges, was the Taiwan Research Institute (TRI, 台湾综合研究院), a think tank which was founded in 1994, six years after Lee had assumed office, and two years before he won another term as president in free elections. Lee is currently its honorary chairman.

The case involved sensitive diplomatic issues, and the indictment was therefore not made public in full, the Liberty Times (自由時報) quotes the investigators.

The Financial Times, quoting Taiwanese mediareports that a giveaway of 400 million NTD to an unidentified country in 1994 was in fact one to South Africa. South Africa had diplomatic relations with Taiwan at the time, and Taipei’s diplomacy traditionally keeps its diplomatic allies happy with various kinds of financial support.

The Taipei Times‘ online edition apparently hasn’t even broken news about the indictment yet, but Focus Taiwan published details about the indictment and the amounts of money used to various ends. According to Focus Taiwan’s report, the bill of indictment also accuses Liu Tai-ying of having pocketed more than 440,000 USD from an amount of 250 million NTD, received from Lee for the funding of the Taiwan Research Center’s establishment.

Investigations concerning the case have been going on since 2003, and in 2010, the Special Investigation Division, which belongs to the ministry of justice, underwent a reshuffle in which ten out of twelve investigators were replaced, according to the China Post.

Some two months later, in July 2010, president Ma Ying-jeou told Jerome Cohen, an American professor of law and once Ma’s mentor, that he wanted to “leave a legacy of building a country based on the rule of law”, and announced that a new agency exclusively responsible for fighting government corruption would be established under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The Commission, which – similar to the SID and in contrast to Hong Kong’s Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) – is not independent from the government, is apparently not in charge of investigating Lee Teng-hui’s case.

According to a report by the BBC‘s Lin Nansen in 2010, the now oppositional DPP had plans to create a dedicated independent commission against corruption during its eight years in government from 2000 to 2008, which had been blocked by the KMT majority in the Legislative Yuan.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lee Teng-hui Indicted

Former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was indicted on Thursday,

on charges of embezzling state funds during his tenure in office from 1988 through 2000,

reports Focus Taiwan, quoting the Special Investigation Division (SID) under the Supreme Prosecutors Office. The amount in question is 7.8 million USD, from a secret account for national security. The SID allegations is worded in ways a judge might use when explaining a verdict, but the BBC’s Chinese website notes that the investigators are asking for an appropriate punishment (适当之刑), in the light of the former president’s advanced age and the contributions he had made to the country (但在具体量刑上称,念及李登辉已年迈并对国家贡献,而请求法官量处“适当之刑”).

The BBC describes the  secret “state security” fund as a heritage from the KMT’s dictatorship over Taiwan. Lee, a Taiwanese-born KMT member, was democratically elected as president in 1996. He had served as a president appointed by the KMT prior to the elections.

Lee is highly critical of incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou‘s (KMT) performance, but it has also appeared as if Ma wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Lee indicted or a verdict brought against him.

My spontaneous reaction: if Lee should get into serious legal trouble, he may be prepared to share much of his inside knowledge about the KMT’s history. I’m wondering if the SID’s call for an appropriate sentence that would take the defendant’s achievements into account, too, is actually taking the KMT’s political interests into account. Lee is apparently no longer a KMT member, but certainly an insider.

Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for January next year.

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