Judge Tsai Shou-hsun gave the 59-year-old former president the harshest possible sentence for the charges and fined him T$200m ($6.1m). Former first lady Wu Shu-jen, who was also convicted of corruption, was also given a life sentence but will not have to go to prison because of her frail health. She was fined T$300m ($9.2m)."Chaos throughout the whole country!" Wouldn't want to be revealing any biases, would ya, Judge Tsai? ROFL. The life sentence was in the cards back when prosecutors piled on new charges several months ago, which the media then breathlessly reported could result in life, signaling where everything was going. It was also in the cards when the judges were switched under heavy pressure from the KMT. And when Chen was detained again and again. And when.....
“One person’s greed has caused chaos throughout the whole country,” Judge Tsai said.
A life sentence for Wu, Chen's crippled wife, would probably be very short. FT also reported on the case, letting readers know that there was another point of view on Chen:
Mr Chen was Taiwan’s only president not to come from the nationalist Kuomintang party, which fled to Taiwan in 1949 after civil war in China. While many Taiwanese have since become disillusioned with him and his family, there was also growing disquiet through the course of the trial over Mr Chen’s treatment by the authorities.Lots of media reports pointed out that the Chen trials were seen by many as rigged. Kudos, mediafolks. But even better, AFP actually reported that foreign experts had expressed concerns about the trial, not merely Chen's supporters:
The balance and high quality of the AFP piece, including its reconfiguration of The 'split in 1949' Formula, is a welcome change from previous AFP work. Good work, folks.
Some legal experts had expressed concern about the handling of the case, including the court's decision to detain Chen before his trial and to switch the presiding judge.
Jerome A. Cohen, a US legal scholar and President Ma's former tutor at Harvard University, said that if there were an appeal, he would prefer to see Chen released for the time being.
"Every society has to protect human rights. This is a long process and a learning process for Taiwan. It is a very sad day, it is also a very important day," he told reporters.
I am informed that it is normal to be out on appeal before such sentences are imposed. Whether they will let Chen out during the appeal process, we'll know on Monday, I'm told. Note that because there are so many charges, it will be difficult for Chen to win an appeal on all.
Back to FT -- ya gotta love this hoot from FT, describing his tenure as president:
Foreign and domestic investors alike despaired of the ever-increasing tensions with China and the harm that would do to Taiwan’s export-oriented economy.Pure horseshit, this belief (not to pick on FT, these constructions are common). It is certainly true that there people who did buy this propaganda (Taipei seems full of them), but the reality is that foreign direct investment reached record highs in 2006, again in 2007... in Jan of 2008 the CEPD noted:
Foreign investment over the years has also seen a notable increase. The CEPD said that, from 2001 to 2006, yearly foreign investment averaged USD 5.69 billion – nearly twice the yearly average from 1993-1999 (USD 2.85 billion). Moreover, 2006 saw a record-breaking total in foreign investment of USD 13.97 billion. From Jan. to Oct. of 2007, foreign investment totaled USD 12.93 billion, said the CEPD.Yes, the investment climate sure sucked, being much better than under Lee Teng-hui. If investors were worried, they sure didn't show it until 2008, when at last there was a downturn, though in the first four months it rose again year on year. There's no need to even discuss exports, which reached record highs under Chen, with Taiwan passing Korea as the number 2 exporter to China. Sure am glad Ma Ying-jeou has saved us with record economic growth, rising exports, low unemployment, and booming income growth. The nation is hardly recognizable....
It would be nice if this piece had contextualized these claims with the facts. Imagine if the last sentence in the FT piece had been followed by a sentence that described the actual economic performance of Taiwan under the Chen Administration.
FT then crashes and burns:
Politically, however, Mr Chen was a survivor who eked out a narrow re-election victory in 2004 and remained in office even after his widening corruption scandal prompted an impeachment attempt backed by island-wide protests that were the biggest in Taiwan’s history.No mention that the "island-wide protests" appear to have been orchestrated by the Nationalists and contained almost entirely pan-Blues, as reported early on by FT itself, AP, and finally, conceded by their putative leader, Shih Ming-te, in his interview with Keith Bradsher in the NYTimes. And wouldn't it have been better to add "by the KMT-dominated legislature" after "impeachment attempt?" Finally, the anti-secession law protests in were probably bigger -- even the low police estimate was a million. That's debateable, however.
It ain't over. The appeals could drag on for years.....
Reports from BBC, Taiwan News, AFP's surprisingly excellent and very balanced report including quote from Jerome Cohen, CNN, AP's sturdily balanced and detailed report, the Asia Times piece with a hilarious faith-statement quote from a Hong Kong academic instead of a Taiwan one, a cite of a KMT legislator, and a cite of a China Taiwan specialist. No bias there. UPDATE: Demotix, citizen journalist site, with excellent spread of pics on the scene at the court. UPDATE 2: Taiwan News rips the verdict in advance.
UPDATE 3: Excellent comments below, don't miss'em. Note that the people who "bribed" Chen are getting slaps on the wrist.
- The Diplomat excoriates western understandings of Chinese naval modernization.
- Lately there has been an incredible spew of bad media stuff. Enjoy another candidate for dumbest.article.ever: White men and their Asian Trophy Wives from Marie Claire. Then to make your brain functional again, read this excellent response.
- TSMC sues Shanghai Semiconductor for stealing secrets, they settle, TSMC says Shanghai reneged, sues in US court. China, your good cooperation partner.
- Annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry conference this month
Also: Taiwan in UN Protest
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Time: 11:00am - 2:00pm
Location: 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York City
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!