Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Taiwan's ex-leader on corruption charges trying to hide behind the veil of democracy

By China Watcher

Taiwan’s former President Chen Shui-bian who escaped prosecution in 2006 while he was holding office over the embezzlement of US$480,000 from the government coffers has conveniently tried to hide behind the democracy shield by saying that going to jail is worth it as he is doing it for Taiwan’s independence and democracy.

What a load of rubbish!

Practicing democracy ideals do not allow an elected office bearer to misuse public funds which was originally made available for the benefit of the country and its people. Prosecutors have found that at least a portion of the money was spent on diamond rings and other luxury items for Mr.Chen’s wife. The former first lady is also facing an ongoing trial for corruption and document forgery in connection with the same case.

The line of questioning by the special investigators on the corruption case and the subsequent arrest was definitely not “political prosecution” as alleged by the former President and was also refuted by the present administration.

Throughout Mr.Chen’s 8 years of Presidency, he had nearly caused a full scale war with mainland China over his confrontational policies and his stance on independence which had encouraged or provided the necessary boost to his hordes of pro-independence supporters or trouble-makers.

The largely Western media who is quietly supportive of Taiwan independence in its many comments during the period from 2000 to 2008 has only within the last few days made factual account of the case. Maybe these editors who suddenly felt that the leader who had been using the cause of democracy and human rights in all his campaign against China is not so “clean” after all.

Chen also took the opportunity to level accusations at the present Kuomintang’s government for being too close economically to the mainland. His mainly pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party supporters were actively involved in demonstrations during the Chinese envoy visit to the island from November 3 to 7.

During the envoy visit, the protests, at times, turned violent and ugly with demonstrators seen throwing stones and objects at the police. The protesters surrounded the hotel where the Chinese visitor was having dinner and prevented him from leaving until after midnight.

Adopting democratic principles of voting on the basis of one vote one person is certainly the ultimate form of people represented government but copying blindly Western liberal standards of protests with violent tendencies are certainly not for Asian societies in which I believed there are other avenues to express dissatisfaction and grievances in an orderly and peaceful manner. If there are ineffective platforms to express one’s opinion, then peaceful protest can be conducted provided it does not cause inconvenience to the people at large and the local laws must be respected.

The Taipei District Court must have discussed the issue at length before ordering the arrest of the once powerful man in Taiwan for suspicion of graft, bribery, forgery, money laundering and illegal possession of state assets.

I have mentioned in my earlier write-ups on the election of the new President from Kuomintang in March this year that the next step is to investigate Mr. Chen many suspicious financial dealings and if there are any incriminating hard evidences, there should not be any let up in bringing him to books. Mr. Chen is an intelligent man and he will willfully twist the facts using his cause for democracy, human rights and independence to shield him from the arms of the law.

I do hope the Taiwanese people especially the pro-Independence camp are smart enough to see through his many masquerading acts. At least, I do not need any gadgets to do so.

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