Sunday, November 07, 2010

KMT still blowing the Chen Shui-bian dog whistle


Conflicting reports.

Former President Chen, his wife, and a horde of co-defendants were acquitted this week on bribery charges.

Citing insufficient proof, the Tapei District Court yesterday acquitted former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), of charges that they laundered money and took bribes from bankers in exchange for help manipulating bank mergers.

Nineteen co-defendants were also cleared of charges of money laundering, breach of trust and insider trading because of a lack of proof, Judge Chou Chan-chun (周占春) said yesterday afternoon.

and also:
Chou’s ruling added that since the money the Chen family received was not a bribe, bank officials who later helped the family transfer the funds overseas therefore did not violate money laundering rules, because money laundering only takes place when transferring money resulting from crime or corruption.
Note what the prosecutor's spokesman said:
SIP Spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) said the “verdict is against the public’s concept of the law” and that prosecutors would appeal to the Taiwan High Court.
"Against the public's concept of the law." What an interesting take on it -- not against the law, or unconstitutional, or an ethical violation. Nope, the public doesn't like it, so it must be appealed. Since when does public opinion decide court cases?

But let's recall -- how was public opinion in this case even constructed? Oh yeah -- the infamous skit that showed Chen Shui-bian as an AIDS victim. Remember that? The Ministry said it was OK because it reflected the sentiment on the island. And then there were the leaks about the case from the prosecutors, which caused the local judicial reform foundation to slam the prosecutors back in Dec of 2008. And remember when 8 prosecutors called a press conference to announce that they would pursue the Chen case to get a conviction right to the bitter end, which I said at the time was basically an admission that they had no evidence? Then there was the flow of new charges... This constant churning of the media by the prosecutors, as well as the baying for Chen's blood in the pro-KMT press, has of course had a profound effect on public opinion. "Trial by media," the South China Morning Post, no friend of the DPP, called it. But the prosecutors citing public opinion in their appeal, the public opinion that they themselves helped nurture through their own questionable actions, is surely a new low.

Meanwhile, another important function of Chen Shui-bian was on display as the KMT called on voters to express their disapproval of the verdict by voting KMT.
Reaction to former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) acquittal in a bribery trial appeared to fall along political lines yesterday, with the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) mayoral candidates urging voters to show their discontent with the ruling with their ballots on Nov. 27, while their Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponents played down the case.
Nice try, but I doubt that Chen will have much effect on the voters come Nov. 27. The KMT has chosen to keep him in jail and muzzled, meaning that he cannot impact the public's perception of the DPP, nor hog the limelight, nor sour light Greens and independents on voting DPP, nor change the focus of the voters on the KMT's performance to whatever Chen Shui-bian has done. Once again, thanks, KMT, for giving Tsai the breathing space to consolidate the DPP.

_______________________
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! Delenda est, baby.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can somebody please help me... How many trails are running against Chen? Is this the main one? Are there other ones pending? I lost track of it a long time ago...

readin said...

"Against the public's concept of the law." What an interesting take on it -- not against the law, or unconstitutional, or an ethical violation. Nope, the public doesn't like it, so it must be appealed. Since when does public opinion decide court cases?

You don't understand the seriousness of this. The Chinese people's feelings have been hurt.

Readin said...

Mr. Turton, do you think Chen was actually guilty of anything? Do you think he was guilty, but only of breaking laws that everyone breaks and with the best of intentions, or that he was maliciously guilty?

Michael Turton said...

@anon10:53 -- I have no idea how many charges remain. But this was a huge one.

@Readin -- Chen is at minimum guilty of tax evasion, as I have said many times. He's obviously not guilty of embezzling government funds. What else he might be guilty of, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Is there any pattern in the correlation between Chen Shui-bian news and election cycles. It seems something Chen-newsworthy happens right before an important election. Is there a pattern?

Michael Turton said...

Hard to say. I mean, we have elections constantly here!

BGNala said...

"Nice try, but I doubt that Chen will have much effect on the voters come Nov. 27."

You can't blame the man for trying.

President Ma claimed "The justice system should not be isolated from the society or go against the people's reasonable anticipation." I guess the not-so-promising election prospects are too much for a Harvard Law graduate KMT leader to handle.

Anonymous said...

@Micheal: but Chen still got 20 years in jail, no?

Jade said...

If he is found NOT guilty why is he still in jail? Isn't that an obvious violation of the laws? I hope all voters asks this question to themselves when they cast their their vote.

BGNala said...

Nothing is final yet.

Robert Scott Kelly said...

@jade

This was one trial. He is still guilty of bribery, forgery, and myriad other charges from another trial. There are at least 3 that I know of.

But this is significant because of the amount of money involved, and because Chen has already been clear of embezzlement (which is why he no longer has a life sentence).

From the one-man cancer on the body politic of Taiwan, Chen has shrunk to a mere corrupt little cell (among many many others).

Anonymous said...

I had a student whose mother was charged with tax evasion and several charges similar to Chen's case. She is/was the CEO of a chain of spas.

She never did a day in jail and simply had to pay back taxes and a fine.

It helped that she was the mistress of a famous womanizing legislator from the PFP/KMT; A legislator who helped her evade taxes through land schemes.

BGNala said...

No else indicted but not sentenced for corruption sits in a Taiwanese jail. Mr Ma, when he was similarly indicted in early 2007, remained free. He was later found not guilty. - http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2009/09/abian_life_in_jail_the_kmt_sco

Few really believes Chen is completely innocent, but everybody knows there is no justice of process achieved for him.

Jade said...

Does anybody know anything about this judge? I mean is he the kind that would judge by laws and not succumb to the political pressure from the Ma administration. The more I read the more I feel that this really is connected to the fact that the November election is coming. Is DPP doing a good job in exposing the possible tactics that the KMT has always been doing?

howard said...

I just read the following comment here which I copied below.

1. Since when are Taiwanese and the nation of Taiwan characterized as "Chinese"? What a joke?

2. Also the wording "the public's conception of the law" can be used to justify anything from lynching to mass murder as was evident during the 228 era under the "self-righteous holy virtuous" KMT and the current CCP era in China.

Now I am not defending nor attacking Chen, I only want for him to have a fair and honest trial under the law! This impartial rule of law defends the public best. If one person is lynched for political motivations and becomes a scapegoat, then the legal and human rights of everyone else suffers.

As for the "feelings of the chinese people", all I have to say is what about the feelings of those very same Chinese people who suffer in CCP gulags and black prisons etc... and can not even go receive their Nobel Peace Prize. Lets be honest here. If we care about feelings, lets care about human rights, liberty and decency and be done and finished with the likes of the CCP and KMT once and for all.

Howard G. Fass


"Against the public's concept of the law." What an interesting take on it -- not against the law, or unconstitutional, or an ethical violation. Nope, the public doesn't like it, so it must be appealed. Since when does public opinion decide court cases?

You don't understand the seriousness of this. The Chinese people's feelings have been hurt."

Howard said...

Lets hope the "Chinese people's feelings" you speak of here can extend to changing their government's horrible policies which have murdered tens of millions since the 1940's. See the book "The Unknown Mao" for backup...

Lets hope these "feelings" can start to promote human rights and freedom and end the CCP's continued destruction in Tibet, East Turkistan; end CCP forced abortions,black prisons, political gulags, attrocities against Falun Gong and Christian house churches, organ harvesting and the CCP's constant military threats against the free nation of Taiwan and others...

Taiwan and Taiwanese people should take honest note of all these things and demand their legal right to be free from constant threats from their gigantic hostile neighbor.

To these points the KMT is quiet and we should ask (demand) to know why? These issues are far more important than Chen and his case. If Chen is guilty let the evidence prove this out. If innocent, likewise.. Anything else is propaganda...

Freedom and liberty for the Chinese people and freedom and liberty for the Taiwanese.

Thanks,

Howard G. Fass

Steve said...

Howard, I'm fairly certain readin's comment was satirical...