Taiwan ex-president Chen Shui-bian gets extra jail term
The KMT's English cheerleader in Taiwan, the China Post, headlined Court Cuts Chen's Term to Ten Months. Taiwan News said: Court overturns former leader's conviction. The pro-Beijing WantChinaTimes headlined Ex-president found not guilty of embezzling special state fund. Taiwan's government media organ Central News Agency said: Ex-president found not guilty of embezzling special state fund. AP titled Taiwan court overturns former leader's conviction.
Of course, AFP, whose political sympathies will be well known to readers of my blog, ran Taiwan ex-leader gets additional jail sentence. And BBC ran much the same headline. Hint, hint. Note that the pro-KMT China Times was so disgusted with this verdict that it complained it was unfair and the judiciary had a problem. Everyone else focused on, and reacted to, the fact that he was found innocent of the embezzlement charges. Not BBC and AFP. They appeared to choose the most anti-Chen spin possible: he got an extra jail term.
BBC wrote in its opening paragraph:
Taiwan's ex-President Chen Shui-bian - who is already in jail for corruption - has been given an additional sentence for money-laundering and forgery.I especially like the caption for the photo that accompanied the story. "Chen angered Beijing during his eight years in office by pushing for Taiwan's independence". BBC always reports that Chen angered Beijing -- it also says so in the article, repetition that is sheer waste. Why not a neutral caption like "Chen waves to supporters" which simply describes what is going on?
AFP was even worse. Here are the four sentences it uses to describe the court's action:
Taiwan's former president Chen Shiu-bian, already jailed for bribery, was sentenced Friday to an additional two years and 10 months on separate charges of embezzlement and money laundering.Even the BBC piece admits further down that he was found innocent of the embezzlement charge. But the AFP report simply omits the key fact that almost everyone else placed at the center of their story: Chen was acquitted of embezzlement of the special state funds on retrial.
Chen, who headed the island's government between 2000 and 2008, is serving a jail term of 17 years and six months on two bribery convictions in a sprawling corruption case that saw his wife Wu Shu-chen get the same sentence.
The high court on Friday sentenced the couple to an extra two years for money laundering, and ordered them to return $6.8 million and Tw$100 million they had pocketed in domestic and overseas deals.
It also handed down a 10-month sentence for forgery in a case related to embezzlement of state funds.
No bias there!
The "documents forgery" of the BBC and "forgery" of the AFP report refer to the conviction for "forged" receipts. Originally the regulations did not require that the President submit receipts for use of the state funds. After Chen became President, the rules were changed. Naturally, since the slush fund was used for all sorts of secret stuff, the receipts were not kosher. Do spies and diplomats give receipts?
None of the international media reports I've seen on the Chen case, when they refer to the bribery charge, have reported that the Koo family testified in May in court that prosecutors had coerced the testimony on the bribery case. Have I misunderstood that? Did this event not occur? (report).
At present, as I recall, Chen is in prison on the charge of accepting bribes from Diana Chen to make her chief administrator of Taipei 101, for money laundering, for receipt forgery, and for the land corruption case involving the Koos. Anything else? I mean besides being pro-Taiwan.
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