"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Monday, November 06, 2006

Key points of Chen Shui-bian's speech

Why are we here?

Last night, Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian went on TV for approximately an hour and twenty minutes in order to respond to an indictment brought by Taipei prosecutors against his wife and three top aides on charges which include corruption, forgery, and perjury. While the president himself is immune from such charges while still in office, the accusations are being made against him as well.

These indictments are based on doubt which has arisen from several things, including selective leaks and the inability of the accused to prove that the money in question was used for "secret diplomatic missions." Saturday's Taipei Times, quoting DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun, also tells us, "The prosecutor did not say the president pocketed the state fund. The suspicious points in the indictment resulted from the president's need to protect details of the country's confidential diplomacy."

The key points
Here's my summation:
1) The charges are nonsensical. Do the math. Hell, I'll do it for you. The money supposedly stolen (NT$14,800,408) amounts to less than half the losses resulting from Chen cutting his own salary (from NT$820,000/month to NT$420,000/month) for the past six years and five months (that's NT$32,340,000 he has voluntarily given up thus far, plus the remaining 19 months of his term would increase that figure by NT$7,980,000) and refusing to use the "secret accounts" from the KMT era (allowing a whopping NT$110,000,000/year) which require no receipts and which would therefore be easy to pocket. (He gave that money back to the central government, by the way.)

2) The rules are unclear, and double standards are being applied. Things that the Ministry of Audit said were okay early in Chen's term are now being considered illegal.

3) Chen refused to take advantage of any privileges and distance himself from his wife's actions. He said that if the First Lady were convicted by the courts, he would accept the verdict and step down immediately.

4) Despite promises of confidentiality by the prosecutors, Chen said he couldn't identify the "Person A" () mentioned in the indictment documents (a spy?) because it would put that person's life in danger. Out of patriotic duty to Taiwan, he said that it was a secret he would carry with him to his grave, even if he had to go to prison for doing so.

5) Despite promising to allow First Lady Wu Shu-jen (sometimes spelled Wu Shu-chen) a follow-up interview which was delayed until November 5, 2006 (the day of President Chen's speech) for health reasons, the prosecutors went ahead with the indictment.

6) The above 2 items demonstrate injustice, insincerity, and lack of professionalism on the part of the prosecutors.
What the media is saying and will say
* ...if Chen is convicted (despite the fact that he can't even be indicted).

* He spoke Taiwanese! (Somebody call the waaaaambulance 'cuz the opposition has only had 57 years to learn the language!)

* Chen refuses to step down (even though he says he will do so immediately [that's the word he used in Mandarin: "立即"] if his wife is convicted).

* Chen didn't reveal any juicy details about where the secret fund goes. (Duh!)

* C'mon! Tell us the name of "Person A"! (Even though people like Sisy Chen accused both President Chen and former President Lee Teng-hui of endangering spies earlier, now the exact opposite suits her goals!)
What's next?
Another recall motion is set to be tabled in the Legislative Yuan on Monday -- unless the psychotic personal weapons enthusiast Li Ao (sometimes spelled Lee Ao) changes sides and sets off a canister of noxious gas to prevent it. A two-thirds majority is required for the motion to pass. Even then, a referendum of the voting public is required for the recall to be finalized.

One thing's for certain: things are never boring around here, though I often wish for them to be.

UPDATE: Official transcripts of President Chen's speech in English and Chinese are online for those crybabies who claimed he was speaking a foreign language from China in order to speak only to his supporters in southern Taiwan. (Oh, the irony!) You can also watch the video of Chen's speech (divided into 4 WMV files) here.

Things to consider: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!
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