ESWN, popular tabloid blog, attempted and failed to comment rationally the other day on the Taipei Times report of former First Lady Wu Shu-chen's latest avoidance of court appearances by citing her failing health. After reviewing the Taipei Times coverage of the mess, ESWN pointed out that there were no quotes from Green lawmakers on the issue, only KMT lawmakers:
Why couldn't they get a quote from any lawmakers on the other side of the fence? Well, it is possible that it would embarrassing to the 'green' lawmakers and Taipei Times would not want that to happen, would they? It is also possible the the 'green' lawmakers made themselves unavailable because they know where the public opinion stands.
So I went and checked the pro-KMT China Post's coverage, which also did not appear to cite any Green lawmakers. In fact it cited a KMT lawmaker, the notorious Chiu Yi, whom President Chen let out of jail after he'd been sentenced for attacking a government building and assaulting policemen. Which the China Post did not mention, of course. Does this mean that the China Post has a horrible pro-Green bias? In both cases it appears that reporters probably felt they had the Green side since they had Wu's lawyer, and so -- for balance -- sought Blue counterquotes. In other words, ESWN most likely has completely misunderstood. The China Post did say that prosecutors thought this a travesty of justice, though evading court and police dates for health reasons is a time-honored practice in Taiwan's political circles.
Curiously, ESWN missed commenting on the far more ominous promise from the prosecutors in the Chen Shui-bian special funds case, in which eight prosecutors convened a press conference to announce that the prosecution of Chen would never stop until they had convicted him (not until they have found the truth).
On Monday, eight prosecutors in charge of the investigation into former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) secret overseas accounts held a press conference in Taipei.
During the press conference, prosecutor Yueh Fang-ju (越方如) proclaimed that if they failed to solve the case, they would step down.
Yueh asked rhetorically: “If the case cannot be solved, how could we not be too ashamed to stay?”
Supreme Prosecutor Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) echoed Yueh’s comments, saying that if the team failed to solve the case, then they would have to step down, too.
The problem with this is that prosecutors are civil officials, not political appointees.
They should handle cases in accordance with the law and make remarks and decisions based on the evidence associated with the case at hand — nothing more and nothing less.
The language used by the SIP prosecutors at the press conference makes it sound as if they were pan-blue politicians commencing a campaign of attack on Chen Shui-bian.
In addition, the SIP ignored Articles 2 and 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法).
Article 2 stipulates that “a public official who conducts proceedings on a criminal case shall give equal attention to circumstances favorable or unfavorable to an accused,” while Article 154 stipulates that “prior to final conviction through trial, an accused is presumed to be innocent."
No doubt just an oversight on ESWN's account.
Speaking of special funds, I've always thought the whole pushing of Taiwan's stock exchange in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election was purely a pump-n-dump by stock pushers. What was the smart money doing? Well, foreign direct investment fell 46% in the first eight months of 2008 compared to the previous year. So while the big boys were patting you on the back and telling you to invest in Taiwan, they themselves were busy schlepping their money elsewhere.