Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Chen Trial Blues

Jon Adams has another good piece at the Global Post writes on the Chen Shui-bian trial and the media circus:

All of this has some wondering if Taiwan's media and judiciary are giving Chen a fair shake.

"He hasn't been found guilty yet, but the media wants to tell their audience he is," said Connie Lin, a former TV journalist and now media expert at Hungkuang University in central Taiwan. "It's not healthy for Taiwan's democracy."

To be sure, Chen is deeply unpopular. He's been abandoned even by many of his former supporters. For them, his public admissions are damning enough. Chen has said his wife, Wu Shu-chen, wired some $20 million to the family's overseas accounts, and he apologized for not reporting the money.

But Chen insists the amount was leftover campaign contributions, which he's allowed to keep under Taiwanese law.

Many Taiwanese simply don't buy that. Neither do prosecutors. They charged him and family members with embezzling state funds, accepting bribes and laundering ill-gotten millions abroad.

Chen pleaded not guilty in a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 19, and remains in detention. The next court date is Feb. 24.

Meanwhile, Wu, also a suspect, has failed to show up for 17 court appearances, claiming poor health. That excuse doesn't sit well with most Taiwanese. This week her own lawyer quit, a week before she's due in court again.

The scandal has sucked in Chen's children. His son, Chen Chih-chung, recently admitted wrongdoing in connection with sending funds abroad, and has turned state's witness against his own parents.

Chen's daughter, Chen Hsin-yu, has not been charged. But the media has mercilessly badgered her nonetheless. She's become something of a laughing-stock in Taiwan for her screeching tantrums, directed at TV reporters who shadow her every move.
The media has tormented Chen Hsin-yu. It should be noted that despite the tremendous number of trials of KMT bigwigs over the years, none of their families and family members have been hounded by the media the way Chen Shui-bian's family has been.

Also in the Chen case news, there were more guilty pleas.
Tsai Ming-che and Tsai Ming-chieh yesterday pleaded guilty to helping the former First Family, the Ah-Bian family, launder money by serving as “white gloves”, i.e., intermediaries in criminal acts. The Tsais are brothers of former First Lady Wu Shu-jen’s college classmate, Tsai Mei-li. After pleading guilty, Tsai Ming-chieh’s attorney requested plea bargaining. After the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Prosecutor General’s Office consults with the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, if an agreement can be reached, the prosecutors may enter into plea bargaining with Tsai Ming-chieh and his defense counsel.

Tsai was somber yesterday when he requested plea bargaining. He said that he and his three siblings had all been involved in the cases. In addition, as his sister Tsai Mei-li was quite ill, he said that hoped that at least one family member could avoid going to prison so as to help the other members to deal with family affairs. Consequently, he said that he had requested plea bargaining.
The noose tightens....


Readin said...

John Derbyshire once mentioned a punishment used by Chinese emperors that in theory meant killing n-degrees of acquaintances - i.e. killing all your friends and relatives, killing all your friends and relatives' friends and relatives, etc. - but that in practice usually meant going to the person's hometown and killing everyone there.

Why made me think of this?

Anonymous said...

Only one comment and it is a history lesson in ancient Chinese practices that may still have some minor bearing on modern day politics in Chinese affairs.

Chen is a thief. The DPP pro group that is part and parcel of this blog are basically in denial.

Chen's family all aided and abetted massive theft in their exit from his presidency.

While this may show family concerns at losing a job it hardly is correct behavior for anyone much less a prominent public official.

Now the Chen's are playing the sick card. What else can they play?

The DPP is functionally dead. No big stars to take the play. A new party needs to emerge of clean, green, positive individuals that can capture Taiwan's heart like Chen did.

Michael Turton said...

Chen is a thief. The DPP pro group that is part and parcel of this blog are basically in denial.

I mean, seriously, do anonymous trolls smoke special IQ-lowering crack before they post here?

Dude, we all know what Chen is. I know this will strike you as a revolutionary idea -- so brace yourself -- but Chen's guilt or innocence is not -- no really, brace yourself -- is not the only issue involved in the Chen trial.

Now set the crack pipe down, and take a deep breath.