Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Chen Wei-ting lets the side down

A local road in Miaoli.

Chen Wei-ting, the Sunflower movement leader, made a stunning revelation this week (Taipei Times):
In an interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) published yesterday, Chen, who is running for legislator in the by-election in Miaoli County in February, was asked to discuss his potential risk of falling victim to “attacks on his personal integrity,” to which he responded by making the revelation, saying: “There are things that I have kept to myself for a long time.”

“One day, during the summer vacation before my senior year in college, I groped the bosom of a female passenger sitting next to me on public transport and was taken to a police station. Sometime later, I had improper physical contact with a female on the dance floor at a night club, for which I underwent mental health consultation at the order of school administrators,” he said.
Essentially Chen Wei-ting stepped into the Miaoli seat campaign and booted out the DPP candidate. The DPP gracefully stepped aside. Only then did he admit that he had this problem in his past that might interfere with the campaign. Not only was that selfish, but it put the DPP in an awkward position -- they have always supported the Sunflowers and kept away from the movement, which helped legitimate it in the public eye as a genuine third force not under the control of the DPP, despite KMT propaganda to the contrary. Chen should have repaid the DPP for its forbearance by revealing this to them PRIOR to taking up the challenge for the seat and evicting their politician, and he should also have met with veteran politicians who have dealt with these things before announcing this. Instead, the DPP has to contemplate action against a Sunflower. Consequently, the DPP is now reconsidering its position on the Miaoli seat.

The reformist party and its leaders must be above reproach. Simple as that. Chen should have confessed to this ages ago -- now, as netizens pointed out, it looks too much like a cynical political ploy, a calculated appearance of remorse.

The by-election is on Feb 7. The DPP said that it will make its decision next Wednesday.
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Anonymous said...

What if a KMT candidate had revealed something like this? He'd be screaming for his head.

Michael Turton said...

Yes, that's politics. But the fact is that reform is a moral act and requires moral actors with higher standards.

Heck, there are politicians in taiwan who traffic in women. But they arent heading up a reform movement...

Anonymous said...

I'm open to the possibility Chen has already repented from his crimes and won't do them again, but you've convinced me that the way he's led on his supporters and the DPP over the last few weeks shows he's not mature enough yet for these heights. He has many years left in his life and I'm sure he can make a comeback, but now is too early and the DPP should run somebody.

Mike Fagan said...

He might have been better off staying out of electoral politics altogether. That's certainly what I would have advised.

Anonymous said...

He's a natural at it though. I've known he'd go into campaigning ever since watching him give a Clinton-like stump speech at a Tienanmen event this year. He was much better than the other speakers at keeping the audience engaged while leading everyone through his thought process into agreement with his beliefs. And we've also seen he can lead an organization. He just rushed this process, buoyed by his celebrity. I'm starting to see this as a lesson about the importance of apprenticeship and discipline under a political party. -J

Mike Fagan said...

"Clinton-like", eh? That's almost worth a snigger.

Ben Thompson said...

Good call Michael noting that reformers have a higher moral calling. Rationalizing this hurts, it doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

The irony isn't lost on me either. I don't know if it's a similar personality type or what. I know it's confirmation bias but I'd heard chatter at a rally that he was popular with the ladies and had a feeling in the back of my mind that something sex-related would be exposed and mess up his campaign. But not something like -this-. -J

Raj said...

IMHO the new missile corvette is not too big. At 500t it's a decent size with room for 16 anti-ship missiles, decent radar, stealth technology, etc. If you make them smaller you will save some money but also reduce the number of missiles, ship-stability, range, speed, warfare/comms suite, etc. I think this is what Taiwan needs. Taiwan had smaller missile boats in the past, but their effectiveness was questionable.

Sean said...

Thing is we've known this about him for years. CWT did reconcile with that woman and apparently got psychological help for that. It's not a closely guarded secret. I'm actually surprised they didn't bash him on it during the legislative elections but I think a leak came out that this was going to be major news in time for this election so perhaps someone in his inner circle decided that he should 'leak' first.

I can tell you right now that not everyone in Taiwan March is his friend, the photos of some of the attendees there during his birthday and his announcement are known to have said nasty things and are known to be calculating sociopaths.

It could very well be that he was planning to let the DPP know but was advised and convinced not to, or they did tell them but given the state of the DPP, word didn't get to the right people.

That said, the second woman who he groped, now that's a new revelation and well... makes it seem like he understated his problem. However, the other allegations that he's "too friendly" are stretchy at best. He's super friendly to me and others, didn't make me think he was trying to bed me even though I had the biggest tits at most protests with him. Okay maybe that's because I'm a fat guy, but seriously, the problem is groping and the focus needs to stay there.

In the end I think this whole thing was mishandled poorly and to be fair, CWT has made many mistakes in the past and will continue to make them. This is a learning process for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Among the so-called American founding fathers were men whose private actions were not always moral actions. Same true with many revolutionary leaders. People are too quick to assume that those who are attracted to power and leadership roles should somehow be above reproach. Good luck with that.

But I think Taiwan society has effectively dealt a blow to the Sunflower leadership - Oliver Chen has been killed, the young woman often seen in photos was accused of being a prostitute, and now this young man who is now publicly branded a pervert, thus erasing all the good work he did for the movement. I'm sure the opposition is pleased.

Mike Fagan said...

"People are too quick to assume that those who are attracted to power and leadership roles should somehow be above reproach."

But are we (so quick to assume that)? What is the evidence to support that claim?

What I "assume" is that those attracted to power tend to be (how to put this in a way so as my comment doesn't get nixed...) reticulated shits. And I mean that: bad people in all kinds of ways.

But it seems to me that looking for good people to run for positions of power is a sucker's game because few people are as attracted to such positions as the bad eggs are. Instead, it is better to try to reduce and eliminate the power available to their positions.

Unknown said...

This discussion reminds me of the great Douglas Adams discussion of politics in of his books:

The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

Unknown said...

"Yes, that's politics. But the fact is that reform is a moral act and requires moral actors with higher standards.

Heck, there are politicians in taiwan who traffic in women. But they arent heading up a reform movement..."

I used to agree with that, but I've come to question this view. Gandhi and Martin Luther King are said to have engaged in horrible sexual behavior (not sure I believe all the accounts though). Jefferson and Washington continued to own slaves while believing the practice to be wrong. I've been given the impression that Ben Franklin engaged in extra-marital affairs. Even Reagan was divorced.

I've come to think that a weakness in one area of life does not disqualify one from having high standards even if one isn't always successful in living up to them. And that succumbing to one form of temptation does not mean a person will succumb to all forms of temptation.

Michael Turton said...

Sorry Brian, I wasn't clear. I agree with your position, but the public doesn't. at the moment.