Saturday, November 04, 2006

International Media Reports on Wu Case

Foreign media roundup already, as Maddog was busy while was sleeping. Many thanks, Tim. My wife had a spot of outpatient surgery yesterday, nothing serious, so we hit the sack early. Here's how the international media is reporting it.


Wu is charged with defrauding the state by using false receipts to account for money spent from a special state budget, Chang Wen-cheng, Taipei High Court prosecutor's office spokesman, said in Taipei. As a sitting president, Chen is immune from prosecution.

"Wu used other people's receipts to collect about NT$14.8 million ($450,000) from the state,'' Chang said. "Prosecutors have determined that President Chen is suspected of corruption and document forgery.''

Chen was questioned by prosecutors in August over allegations he falsified receipts to account for spending from the special budget, money he said was used to carry out secret diplomatic missions. Chen has denied any wrongdoing.

Chen's former aides Ma Yung-cheng and Lin Teh-shun and his accountant Chen Chen-hui were also charged with falsifying documents, giving false testimony and using their positions of power to defraud the state, according to a press release issued by the prosecutor's office.

William Foreman for the AP here:

The news sent thousands of anti-government protesters into the streets of the island's capital, and the main opposition party said it would launch a new recall drive if Chen doesn't resign by Monday.

Chang Wen-cheng of the Taiwan High Prosecutors' Office - who announced that First Lady Wu Shu-chen and three aides were indicted on embezzlement, forgery and perjury charges - said there is a strong possibility that Chen will also be indicted after he leaves office.

Under Taiwanese law, a sitting president cannot be indicted other than on charges of sedition. Chen, who didn't comment on the indictments, has said he would step down if there is evidence of wrongdoing.

If Chen quits with two years left in his second term, his outspoken and unpredictable vice president, Annette Lu, would likely take power. That could raise tensions with rival China, which reviles Lu and has called her "insane" and "scum of the nation."

BBC has some viewpoints here. The first person is a hilariously stupid Blue, but after that the opinions are pretty good. Neil Ross reports here for the BBC (video). BBC has an article with no reporter's name that goes into some detail:

During the four-month investigation, officials looked at six separate cases involving the use of the fund. They said the president's explanation for two were verified, but three were questionable and one was described as pure fiction.

The Public Prosecutor's Office of the Taiwan High Court announced on Friday it was filing charges of embezzlement and forgery of documents against Wu Shu-chen.

"Prosecutors found that Wu and three other suspects jointly claimed 14.8m Taiwan dollars (US$448,484) with false receipts... between July 2002 and March 2006," Chang Wen-cheng, of the prosecutor's office, said.

The first lady has previously denied any wrongdoing.

"Evidence also showed Chen is suspected of graft and forgery... but since he is protected by constitution against criminal charges, he can only be prosecuted after he leaves office," Mr Chang said.
The big issue is that the TSU says it will swing its vote to the recall side in the legislature. Early in Chen's term the legislature changed the rules so that it is easier to recall the President (they've been after the President for six years). The TSU has comments in Chinese here. The TSU's votes aren't enough to swing the issue. The indictment comes as key mayoral elections are being held in Taipei and Kaohsiung.

As for me, I don't have much to say yet. I am trying to adjust to living in this strange new Taiwan where First Lady Wu can be indicted but the killers of Lin Yi-hsiung's family still walk free.

Enjoy your weekend.

UPDATE: Peking Duck has additional international media stuff.


Jonathan Benda said...

I am trying to adjust to living in this strange new Taiwan where First Lady Wu can be indicted but the killers of Lin Yi-hsiung's family still walk free.
What's new about that?

Anonymous said...

If you do not like it here, don't live in this 'new' Taiwan. Strange or not this is still our Taiwan.

When Chen became president, the DPP should have gone after Lin's family killers, Lafayette, Soong, KMT for all their past astrocities intead...

It pains me very much to see what has become of DPP but as Linda Arrigo said "We cannot defend the DPP in general or the President in particular in so far as they have taken the easier route of continuing past habits, trying to buy off the obstacles, and perhaps even lining their own pockets with unearned rewards." Ain't that the truth.

Sun Bin said...

"I am trying to adjust to living in this strange new Taiwan where First Lady Wu can be indicted "

Is this also the reason you left the US, after Nixon resigned?

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't Chen used the past six years to open up the files on all kinds of abuses from the authoritarian past? Why wasn't something along the lines of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission established to looked into matters like 2-28 and the White Terror? Has he even tried to find out who was behind the crippling of his wife?

Michael Turton said...

If you do not like it here, don't live in this 'new' Taiwan. Strange or not this is still our Taiwan.

I didn't say I didn't like it here. But adjustments are necessary, wouldn't you say.

Is this also the reason you left the US, after Nixon resigned?

Sorry, my man, this comment is totally unclear to me.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article on 中時電子報 today.

Things might not be 100% bad for DPP. This might be a good opportunity for them to reorganize and regroup. There are still more than a year away to 2008

Sun Bin said...

"Sorry, my man, this comment is totally unclear to me. "

The indictment of a first lady and investigation of a president signifies the progress of democracy and judicial independence (also media freedom) in Taiwan. It is a helluva of achievement Taiwan people made over the years, comparable to what the US achieved in the Nixon case.

If you want adjustment, you could move over to the other side of the strait. However, even there, a mayor of the largest municipality is detained for corruption.

Michael Turton said...

Sun, you're just weird. The indictment of the President is no doubt a signal of that, but it has to be contextualized: the investigation into the Lafayette kickbacks is stymied and shut down, no one has ever been prosecuted for any White Terror crimes, many other KMT figures have regularly plundered the public treasury and are not under indictment for various forms of crookedness. Most of the top Blue leaders benefited from their criminaility during the White Terror days. So you'll have to excuse me for being less able to see "progress" here than you. I await indictments of all criminals among the top leaders of Taiwan; then I'll be able to say confidently that the system is fair, open, and honest.


Sun Bin said...

let's try to follow your reasoning.

you will then have to wait until everyone who killed the native americans or gifting the small-pox blanket to be punhished, otherwise any punishment of murders commited lately in the US is unfair?

Michael Turton said...

Stop being deliberately and inanely provocative. The people who committed the White Terror killings and torturing are still alive. The people who took the $400 million kickback on the Lafayette case are still around and unpunished. I am not prepared to say the system has significantly progressed until I see prominent mainlander politicians also under the gun for their crimes -- and I don't see that.

That's all I am saying. It has nothing to do with US justice.


Sun Bin said...

Another measure to look at this is the amount and the way of corruption. compare this with that of the Soong family during the Chiang era, it is a 1000 times less. Therefore, improvement.