Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chen Returned to Detention

"Singapore is different from us (Taiwan) as its emphasis is not on democratization. Nevertheless, it is professional, corruption-free and efficient, which is worth our learning...The Singapore Government is very efficient. They can reach consensus easily and there is no squabbling or fighting." -- Ma Ying-jeou, 2007

As expected when the Taipei District Court judge was replaced after a firestorm of complaint from the ruling party and its organs, the Court has returned former President Chen Shui-bian to detention:

The Taipei District Court made the announcement following a marathon 12-hour hearing on Monday.

Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) announced at 2:20am yesterday that Chen would be detained, but the court would not prohibit him from seeing visitors.

The former president, who was last detained on Nov. 12, was released on Dec. 13 following his indictment along with 13 other individuals on charges of embezzlement, corruption and money laundering.

“The court decided to detain Chen because the crimes he is allegedly involved in involve serious corruption, and the court suspected Chen might flee the country or collude with suspects and witnesses in the case if he remained free. The court decided it would be hard to prosecute Chen if he was not kept in custody,” Taipei District Court spokesman Huang Chun-min (黃俊明) told a press conference.

Chen's return to detention was only the tip of a very large iceberg of scariness. Claudia Jean blogs on another important case, the reduction of hours for The Talking Show, a popular program that looked at local politics:

[Claudia Jean] blogged about the Taiwan’s most popular political commentary programme, Talking Show’s weekend slot being cancelled a while ago and in that post, some suspicion of the KMT government interference was raised because the show’s popularity remains high and has even increased after Ma’s governemt’s series of failures and mishandling of the economic and political situations. According to Nielson rating, its reception is as much as 3 other similar programmes put together and the revenue from that show alone would be higher than any others. ‘Cost saving’ was hardly convincing. Today, I saw the following article which confirmed the suspicion.

According to the article, cost saving was indeed just an excuse to reduce hours for Talking Show. The real reason was that the home of the Sanlih TV president was raided by Investigation Bureau. The cause for their ‘investigation’ and the ‘raid’ was not revealed. It was said that the senior management of Sanlih decided to sacrifice the weekend slots for Talking Show as a compromise to the KMT, which is believe to be the evidence presented and discussed by Talking Show , combined by the show host’s personal popularity, is a real headache to a government that often lies and has a lot to hide. Premier Liu and DoH Minister openly criticised Talking Show in the Parliament and Liu also slammed the show host publicly on a separate occassion.

A similar incident happened to a radio station in Taichung after it invited former President Chen for an interview. It was reported that the adverts placed with the radio station were withdrawn rapidly after the interview and Inland Revenue launched an investigation against the radio station, which is still ongoing.

A article in Chinese gives the same information:

黑手肆虐 媒體輓歌
三立被盯上 大話也縮水
全台灣最火紅的三立電視談話性節目「大話新聞」,從二周前開始只播五天,周六、日改由另一位主持人呂惠敏接棒,節目名稱也改為「新台灣加油」。表面說法是 可以節省高昂的主持費,據透露,實際原因卻是,三立老闆林崑海的住所不久前遭到調查局搜索。為了和國民黨妥協,才做出上述的決定。

林崑海是何原因遭到調查局搜索,目前尚不得而知,但三立高層為此召開會議,認為國民黨以司法為武器,只好先避風頭,而大話新聞的縮減天數,就是一種妥協下 的做法。三立提出的理由是,鄭弘儀一集主持費高達十萬元,還要加上委製費,如果一周少兩天,每個月就可以省掉兩百多萬元的支出。但實際上,由於大話新聞的 高收視率,廣告常滿檔,而且帶動前後節目的收視率,三立因大話賺的錢遠比花出去的多,因此這種節省開支的說法,被認為只是一種說辭罷了。


摘自Taiwan News財經.文化週刊 2008-12-25 李雲深

It's no wonder, with news like this, that people outside Taiwan are writing worried letters arguing that there won't be a real election in 2012. A commentary in today's Taipei Times compared the previous martial law-era police state and the current KMT administration:

While the past dictatorship allocated government jobs according to birthplace, the majority of posts in Ma’s Cabinet are held by Mainlanders, although they account for only 14 percent of Taiwan’s population. The 228 Incident and White Terror of yesteryear were examples of ethnic politics, and so are the policies of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) now that it has returned to power under the guise of democratic elections.

However, the old and new one-party states are not equal in quality of performance. Although under the old regime the legislature was accused of being a mere department of Cabinet, at least the formality of legislative review did take place. Last month, however, when Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation signed four agreements on direct cross-strait transport links with its Chinese counterpart, the legislature was not even allowed to function as a rubber stamp.

In terms of competence, the old regime oversaw Taiwan’s industrialization and steady economic growth and guided it through energy and financial crises. In contrast, the Ma administration has proved its incompetence by implementing unrealistic economic policies that have led to an economic downturn and provoked widespread public discontent after just a few months of government. Now that the global financial storm has arrived, there is even greater cause for worry.

It can be said that the new one-party state has not inherited the old regime’s competence in running the country, but it matches the Chiang regime in its willingness to use police-state methods to keep the people under control.
I highlighted that sentence to point out the failure of the legislature -- when the agreements were mooted, the Speaker, Wang Jin-pyng, promised that the LY would review them. What did we get? Nada. The legislature has vanished, unnecessary since decisions are made elsewhere. In the old days it was necessary to provide democratic cover, but now, with 7 million voters having picked Ma, such cover can be dispensed with.

The Chen Shui-bian money-laundering case, and the laughable Diane Lee Dual Citizenship case -- it is mere political parody to wag the finger at Lee for having dual citizenship in the US when the mainlander elites are completely disloyal to Taiwan -- these two cases are just sideshows designed to distract the public and media, the judicial equivalent of pandas for the Taipei Zoo.

Welcome to the Lion City, without the efficiency.

1 comment:

Roy Berman said...

I still don't understand how the executive branch can sign a treaty without it requiring confirmation by the legislature. Not a single I've seen has even attempted to explain the constitutional/legal justification behind this beyond saying that it happened. The KMT must have some sort of legalese behind it, no?

Care to give the explanation a shot?