Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chen Shui-bian Held [UPDATE: DETAINED]

Jon Adams in the CS Monitor has the call with a very fair article on the issue....

Chen's own legal woes began with allegations that he embezzled money from a special fund designated for Taiwan's diplomacy. But as a president he was immune from prosecution.

He was named as a suspect on May 20, the day he stepped down from office. The probe led to allegations of far more serious graft, involving millions of dollars moved through a complicated array of foreign accounts and shell companies. Prosecutors have focused on possible kickbacks or bribes during the government-led privatization of some of Taiwan's state-run banks, which sparked fierce competition among prospective buyers.

The legal push against him has stirred criticism of Taiwan's legal system – particularly prosecutors' right to hold suspects for up to four months without charge. Nine pro-independence party figures are currently in such detention, according to local press reports, which has fueled charges of a political witch-hunt.

Mr. Chiang say the detentions point to the need for legal reform in Taiwan. "Our rule of law still has a long way to go," says Chiang. "The legal process is not well respected in some cases."

The Ma government insists it is not interfering with judicial proceedings, and prosecutors argue the detentions are necessary to prevent collusion between suspects.
Under the law Chen can be detained for 60 days, and then, with re-application, for 60 more. If you like the idea of detaining people without charges for long periods of time, you can apply for a job at Guantanamo. No evidence? Just put them in detention indefinitely, and sooner or later "confessions" will result.

Adams nicely contextualizes the Chen arrest by putting in the context of other arrests over the last couple of weeks of DPP politicians. The prosecutors claim that detentions are necessary to prevent collusion between the defendents, but not everyone detained is involved in the Chen case. Detainee Su Chih-fen is on a hunger strike right now to protest her detention, and she has nothing to do with Chen.

Chen has, as of last night and early this morning, not actually been formally detained. He is being held while prosecutors ask the court for permission to formally detain him, according to the Taipei Times. There were reports that he was roughed up, which both pro-Blue TVBS and pro-Blue ETTV said were basically true according to what I heard, and he went to the hospital last night to be checked. UPDATE: Prosecutors received permission to detain him this morning, he sustained only a minor muscle tear, according to AP. UPDATE 2: After reviewing information in comments and on various websites, it appears that Chen was basically being bombastic again, and nothing very serious occurred.

I know everyone despises that hopeless miscreant, and frankly, the thought that we might go months without hearing any of his bombastic twitticisms is relieving. I know you must also be delighted to see him get his comeuppance, for the way he totally betrayed Taiwan, his party, and its longstanding ideals. If his were the only case that had been pursued recently, I'd be overjoyed. Let the bastard rot. As Antonio Chiang, Chen's former National Security Council and current Apple Daily editor in chief said in the CSM article:

"He's intentionally distorting and twisting everything, trying desperately to get support from some diehards at the expense of the DPP [the pro-independence party]," says Antonio Chiang, former head of the National Security Council in Chen's government. "He's destroyed the value of democracy and the significance of the Taiwan independence movement, and destroyed the dream of Taiwan for Taiwanese."

Chiang exaggerates, but it captures the way many of us felt when Chen admitted he broke the law.

But unfortunately, the fact that Chen is a confessed tax evader and may well have taken bribes as well, does not mean that this is not a political prosecution. No KMT politicians are being investigated and none of the local gangsters in the DPP are being investigated. This is aimed at DPP higher-ups. Nine DPP politicians have been detained or indicted recently, by a government that has repeatedly said it looks to Singapore as a model.

Let him who has ears, hear.


Anonymous said...

"There were reports that he was roughed up, which both pro-Blue TVBS and pro-Blue ETTV said were basically true according to what I heard,"

Michael- NO, it was proven that the policeman did NOT rough up (毆打) Chen as they were approaching the car. Chen "claimed" that he was roughed up (毆打) shortly before he entered the car, but the whole walk of shame to the car was either monitored by close circuit TVs inside the building or was recorded by the TV stations outside the building. Chen was accompanied by the secret service and mostly importantly his lawyers the whole time, so there was simply no opportunity for the policeman to 毆打 Chen.
I think you owe this poor policeman an apology. This poor chap was just doing his job, but had the misfortune of being assigned to accompany Chen to the court who is biggest liar in history!!!

Anonymous said...

This is political prosecution.

But honestly whats your view? At least Chen was firm with his views. At least during his governance, we know what's our identity.

I can't believe what the KMT said yesterday. " Celebrate his detain, firecrackers and party? " Isn't it obvious enough that there is political intervention in this case?

Is' there, till now any evidence to prove his guilt? Tell me I really wanan know

Michael Turton said...

I only reported what I heard, but I'll change the post to reflect your comments.


Anonymous said...

This is the return of the white terror. I want to point out that there is absolutely NO PROOF that CSB laundered any money. It was clear that CSB was just trying to put money aside because he anticipated the KMT will be cozying up to China and we need money to maintain Taiwan's independence!

Why does CSB need to be locked up? He is the most recognized person in Taiwan, he cannot go anywhere. This is KMT trying to embarass DPP!

I call on everyone that loves Taiwan to protest in Freedom Square to protest the KMT's persecution of a respected former leader. DPP should organize a boycott to force KMT to free CSB! If you love TW and treasure her independance, you must support CSB!

Haitien said...

So far there's been a whole lot of speculation and rumor mongering in the media as far as what Chen actually did do, but the only things for which there seems to be any concrete evidence for is failure to report surplus campaign funds, and the issue of unaccounted use of the state affairs discretionary fund.

Now IIRC, the former is essentially a minor infraction punishable by a fine (I believe James Soong was also convicted of a similar offense). I'm more curious as to the regulations governing the latter. We've all heard the reports of blue and green politicians using their discretionary funds for all sorts of questionable things (buying gifts, throwing parties, funneling them into their private bank accounts... etc). I was wondering what current laws govern the use of discretionary funds, eg. what law, if any, specifies what constitutes an appropriate use?

Dixteel said...

When the 12 (or was it 10) prosecutors said something like if they can't prove Chen guilty, they will step down, everyone should know this is just a political soup opera used to entertain KMT supporters. Because they should presume him innocent until proven guilty, but obviously they presume him guilty already. From that point on whatever they do to Chen is questionable.
Unfortunately...the cost of this opera production is way too high. Watching the recent events in Taiwan unfold really make me speechless...could 2008 be know as another turning point in Tawian's history?

Anonymous said...

Dear Turton :
I have ears , and also have tears when reading this .
Thanks so much for your love to my mother land !


Anonymous said...

If you love TW and treasure her independance, you must support CSB!

This type of talk is non-sense. CSB is passing the buck onto his wife and Wu Sujen is refusing to make a court appearance to face the charges claiming illness.

The KMTers are made that the Chen family flaunted their ill gotten gains. (Jag, watches, apartments, jewelry). The rational DPPers are mad that this petty corruption came at the absolute worst time in Taiwan's history. How could this family be so damn STUPID.

Btw, The handcuffing part wasn't necessary.

Tommy said...

My thought is that they will find at least something semi-serious to convict him of. He might have done it, and he might not have, but that won't make a difference. When you start by saying that you WILL find something about the defendant, and that defendant is CSB, you MUST find something about the defendant or you risk your reputation.

Paul Trebor said...

I'd be careful to judge the situation to quickly. Yes, Chen has done much for the independence cause, and he has made enemies through that. That doesn't mean that he's innocent of corruption. The prosecution certainly comes at a favorable time for the KMT. But as of now there is as little evidence of the presidential office having its hands in this whole mess as there is for Chen's guilt.
But, so far everything has been going according to the law and due process and I'd be wary of any conspiracy theories related to the case. When this will be brought to court, evidence will have to be produced publicly. We will have to wait until then to get a full picture of what is actually going on now.

Anonymous said...

What does look to Singapore as a model mean? What model is the KMT referring to?

Michael Turton said...

But, so far everything has been going according to the law and due process and I'd be wary of any conspiracy theories related to the case. When this will be brought to court, evidence will have to be produced publicly. We will have to wait until then to get a full picture of what is actually going on now.

Paul, Chen is now the 9th DPP detainee. He has not been charged with anything. In the tax evasion case he should pay only a large fine, as tax evaders usually do.

No conspiracy theory necessary. Just open eyes a little, it is easy to see what is going on.


Dixteel said...

It's a test for Taiwan indeed...

However, look at this sentense from AP:
"But even if the criticism contains an element of truth, judicial independence is rapidly gaining ground in Taiwan, and President Ma — a graduate of Harvard Law School — has shown dedication to rule of law."

Man...are the reporters serious? Do they actually know what Ma said and did in the past? I would say Harvard Law School should be ashamed of itself. I think what Ma showed is a dedication to an authoritarian type of rule, unfication with China, and preferential treatment to law and justice system. He doesn't seem to show any sign of good understanding to the rule of law. In interview and speach he often uses big words and questionable logic that might sound reasonable but actually contradicting the value of laws. And just look at what his administration said and did in the past few months...are those so call "rule of law?"

As for Chen...make him pay the fine for tax evasion. Let him stand in trial for other accusations (although here lies a great dilemma because the justice system seems to show great bias so far. But I think at least there is a possibility people can see if the trial is fair). We don't need the media and "mob" judging him or other DPP members for crimes they may or may not have commited.

I think for average people like myself, we have to put what Chen did in perspective...his accomplishment and failures, foolishness or cleverness should all be considered. But we can't divert our attention too much away from others things that might matters much more to Taiwan.

For DPP politicians, it's a lesson. Whatever doesn't kill you, make you stronger. I hope these incidents can make DPP stronger.

Anonymous said...

The more I hear of CSB, the more I am reminded of that Randy Newman song.

Last night I saw Shuibian Chen on the news, with some smart ass Waishenren, and the WSR laughed at Shuibian Chen, and the audience laughed at Shuibian Chen too. Well, he may be a dork, but he's our dork. And if they think they're better than him, they're wrong. So I came to your blog, Michael, and that’s were I made this comment.

The Formosan wild boar ( 台灣野豬(山豬))is raising it’s hackles. And them, of Trace’s and other Anon’s ilk, they'll never know what's going to hit them next...

Anonymous said...

I think the most unfortunate aspect of Taiwanese politics is way in which the aspirations of whole parties and even whole socio-political movements always become invested in one single leader.

And so when the acknowledged 'leader' of a movement is seen to have been discredited, then people are ready to drop the whole movement, and look for another leader (of another party) to place their faith in. People seem much more loyal to individual personalities, than to a party or an ideology. Why is that?

I wonder if it is because In school, students were taught to love SYS and CKS not for any particular ideological reasons, but simply because they were great men who loved China and did great deeds.

I wonder what they learned in 社會/civics/political science class in high school. We (in USA) had to learn about political campaigning, grassroots organizing, and civil rights struggles, etc., but I'm assuming that's not what Taiwanese students learn.

From what I've seen, it doesn't look as if they are taught to love Taiwan, and it looks like they learn more about China than about Taiwan. It that really the case?


Anonymous said...

特偵組爆:「扁家不法獲利 絕對不止10億」


Anonymous said...

We must wait until all aspects of the case has ended. We are not privy to all information/evidence. Charges to be filed may be not only corruption but money laundering. The excuses given that Mrs. Chen told everyone what to do, but cannot come to court due to possible fainting spells is so silly. I guess that the real ex-president is the wife? The leader of the gang can not be tried due to not feeling well. Taiwan is close to losing much face.