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AgraftcasethatlonghauntsTaiwan

2020-08-12 来源:http://www.rddvpo.com 722

<>Let me play Monday morning quarterback.

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<>After four months of strenuous investigation, prosecutors of the Special Counsel have finally indicted former President Chen Shui-bian, his wife, and their son as well as their daughter-in-law on charges of corruption, graft and money laundering.The prosecution quoted the oath Chen took twice on inauguration in 2000 and 2004 to demand “severest possible punishment” for the severely grave crimes” he has committed.The oath, according to the Constitution, reads: “I do solemnly and sincerely swear before the people of the whole country that I will observe the Constitution, faithfully perform my duties, promote the welfare of the people, safeguard the security of the State, and will in no way betray the people’s trust.Should I break my oath, I shall be willing to submit myself to severe punishment by the State.This is my solemn oath.”Hence the “severest possible punishment” to President Chen, who is willing to accept it.

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<>All this marked the end of the first quarter of the game.The second quarter will begin, when the Taipei district court, to which the buck has been passed, has set dates for pretrial hearings.And the game won’t end in a year or two.

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<>President Chen, arrested on November 3, was released without bail on indictment on Friday, the seventy-second anniversary of the Sian Incident, in which Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was kidnapped and held prisoner by mutineers commanded by Young Marshal Zhang Xueliang of the NortheasternArmy on December 12, 1936.The incident at the ancient Chinese capital changed modern Chinese history.Chiang in captivity agreed to form a united front with Mao Zedong to fight imperial Japan. He was released on December 25 and what the Chinese call the eight-year War of Resistancebroke out on July 7, 1937.

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<>The indictment had been expected but the release without bail wasn’t.As a matter of fact, by far the majority of the people believed the Special Counsel would have the ex-president detained at least for two more months for questioning in connection with a couple of other graft scandals.In indicting him, the prosecutors made it clear they would continue investigating his role in the controversial merger of financial holding companies and the alleged misuse of a budgeted secret fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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<>At least two defendants in the merger case have been questioned.One has allegedly transferred NT$7.4 billionin cash to a secret bank safety deposit room rented by the former first family, while the other, a former Mega Financial Holdings board chairman, is said to have brokered merger deals.President Chen launched a financial reform, under which the number of holding companies had to be halved, forcing Taiwan’s leading bankers to seek his favor in order just to survive.

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<>Chiou I-jen, former secretary-general of the National Security Council, is still under detention, charged with pocketing at least US$500,000, which should have been given to a Thai government official.Chiou was also accused of ordering the payment of US$300 million to two frauds who claimed they could get Papua New Guinea to switch diplomatic recognition to Taipei from Beijing.James Huang, former minister of foreign affairs, is also involved; and prosecutors of the Special Counsel believe President Chen pulled the strings from behind the scenes.

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<>That’s why nine out of every ten people in telephone polls TV stations conducted the day after were opposed to Chen’s release, which is likely to make the Special Counsel probe more difficult than ever.Political pundits chastised three district court judges who turned down the Special Counsel request for his continued detention.Perhaps by coincidence, the Taiwan high court complied with a request by Chen’s defense lawyer to terminate the detention on the same day.Incidentally, Cheng Wen-lung, the defense attorney, serves as an undeclared spokesman for the former president under detention, passing to the press the latter’s statement on his hunger strike that called on supporters to “rise up .”The Taipei Bar Association has refused to discipline Cheng for doing something beyond the call of duty.

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<>The prosecution did an excellent job of writing up a 291-page indictment, but there was one thing left unmentioned.Prosecutors refused to demand an exact sentence to be given President Chen.By “severest possible punishment” they meant life imprisonment but they did not so write in as many words.Chen Yun-nan, their spokesman, said they did not write it in in line with a Ministry of Justice order that an exact sentence must be demanded by prosecutors representing the people in trial.A court of law sets aside a hearing session for debate prior to its announcement of a verdict.Prosecutors representing the people may make a demand for punishment at the debate session.More often than not, however, prosecutors demand sentences when they indict defendants in expression of their confidence that conviction follows.Cynics wonder if the Special Counsel is passing the buck to prosecutors to be assigned to represent the people at Chen’s trial.They may ask for a sentence much shorter which those who indicted him refrained from demanding.

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<>Two of the eight prosecutors of the Special Counsel met with President Chen under their investigation at a Buddhist temple.A controversial Buddhist propagandist, who is a friend of Chen’s, organized that meeting where they were shown chitchatting in a picture taken by a hired photographer.One of the prosecutors also sent a private letter in reply to Chen, asking the defendant to face the consequences of his wrongdoing.Both were investigated and absolved of doing anything wrong.No disciplinary action was taken against them, though they admitted they shouldn’t have met the defendant they were investigating.They had better resign from the Special Counsel for lack of sound common sense.

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<>All prosecutors of the Special Counsel certainly will do what they can to make the evidence they have so far collected stick in the first trial.Three judges in conference with Chou Chan-chun presiding may try President Chen after they released him without bail. The trial will be fair but given Chen the consummate defense lawyer defending himself and the judiciary appearing not so self-confident, it will be prolonged, and probably hindered by the former president free to barnstorm to rally support for his cause of founding a republic of Taiwan to the detriment of justice and public order.

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<>One thing is certain: Taiwan will be long haunted by Chen’s corruption and graft case.

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