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May 15, 2009

Brief thoughts

I would add just one thing to the Michael Turton post/Taiwan News editorial on the subject of Chen's detention. And that is that the detention center has decided to "fine" him for this third hunger strike by forbidding visitors.

I just find that really, really awful. It's what you would expect in some place like Burma, for Christ's sake.


Unknown said...

Yeah, what do they think he is, a CRIMINAL or something?

Ben Goren said...

or more to the point, China?

Unknown said...

China!? What, does he have more than just the one son as well?

阿牛 said...

glad to see you reading, Stripe!

Islander said...

If the KMT was interested in justifying their case against Chen Shui-bian, they should ensure the case is as fair as possible. Alas, guilty or innocent, Chen's case is purely politics.

The KMT calling Chen corrupt is like the pot calling the kettle black. Actually, like a black hole calling the kettle black because the KMT is more corrupt. The only difference is the KMT criminals are welcomed and harbored in China, their homeland.

Unknown said...

So, what's your point, Islander?

Corrupt authorities should not try to exact justice?

阿牛 - No worries, mate :)

Robert R. said...

Stripe, corrupt officials should at least try to have the veneer of fairness...

But part of it is a clean your own house before you complain about your neighbor's.

Unknown said...

No. Corrupt officials should not be encouraged to appear good nor applauded for attempting to appear so.

If they were to act in justice regardless of their own shortcomings then they would be doing the right thing.

Taiwan's former president is clearly guilty. He should be made to pay restitution by the proper authorities regardless of what anyone else has done.

Tommy said...

"Taiwan's former president is clearly guilty."

Really? Have you heard all of the evidence for and against him? I wouldn't argue with you were expressing probability from your perspective, but your decisive statement expresses the problem with this trial from the start.

Moreover, as several charges are involved, your catch-all "guilty" rings a little simplistic. But that doesn't really matter. Want to call him guilty? Go ahead! He WILL be found guilty on several charges regardless of whether he is or not because that is the way the KMT wants it to be.

Unknown said...

It seems your greatest concern is who is dealing out proper justice.

I say that, if justice is done, it is good regardless of who hands it out or why.

I will agree that it would be much better were the authorities to act without hypocrisy.

Tommy said...

The problem with your way of thinking is that if you are willing to allow an authority to set aside the rights of one defendant so that he can more effectively receive punishment for a crime that he may or may not have committed (and the KMT does claim, on the surface, to believe in the innocent until proven guilty concept), then you must be willing to set aside those rights for any defendant, including yourself, if it so happened that you ended up on the receiving end of that authority's wrath.

The Chen case is a disgrace for Taiwan, not because he is guilty or innocent but because of the way in which he is being held and the way in which the KMT-dominated judiciary is preventing him from building a defense.

Likewise, most of the reputable criticisms that I have heard of this case (such as those by Jerome Cohen, for example, and A Gu, and MT, and Tsai Ing Wen) have not been pleading Chen's innocence. They have been pleading for a fair trial. This is a kangaroo court under the guise of fairness. The KMT knows this type of trial well. Many innocent Taiwanese were convicted in them during the marshal law period, with the exception that the guise of fairness was not as needed at that time because KMT excesses were glossed over those who bought the crap about the ROC being "Free China" and a containment counterweight to the PRC.

So if you believe in this type of kangaroo court, and you are willing to admit that, then do so. You would at least be honest. But don't try to hide your feelings under the cloak of justice. That would make you no better than the KMT at the height of its marshall law-era repugnance.

Unknown said...

I you have no idea at all on my "way of thinking". Where on Earth did you get the notion that I was comfortable with a government practising injustice? If Chen is guilty of a crime, and there is little doubt that he is, he should receive proper punishment.

Complaining that the authority dishing out the punishment is hypocritical is simply a non-issue with regards to Chen's guilt.

The disgrace for Taiwan is that its leaders (regardless of who is elected) are corrupt. All you seem to be doing is siding with the corrupt bunch that have been shamed and asking that we accept more corruption from the opposition as some kind of distraction or excuse.

It is not wrong to demand that justice be done without hypocrisy, but all the hypocrisy or wrong motives that lead to a conviction of the former president will never hide the fact that he is, in fact, guilty.

I'll gladly stand at your side and demand justice, but I will not do it in the name of what has openly been described as a political battle. I will side with justice because justice is good. And yes, justice remains good regardless of who is properly administering it.

Robert R. said...

How can you determine what is "proper punishment" or justice without a fair investigation and trial.

How can you punish a man (as Chen's current detention is) before the investigation & trial.

阿牛 said...

I'm surprised and happy to find that this little psot is bringing in so many comments.

And I don't meant to detract from the topics being discussed in here, but may I be so unkind as to bring things back to what I would consider my original point:

Whether Chen is guilty of any or all of the crimes he is accused of (and I think he's at least guilty of tax evasion and probably [but not certainly] bribery), in what world is denying him visitors (and radio and TV access) as a punishment for a hunger strike a reasonable measure?

Raj said...

Stripe, you're ignoring the points made here. It isn't that Chen is being punished. It's that he's being treated as guilty until proven innocent and not receiving a fair trial.

As was said, if you accept Chen being treated this way you accept anyone being treated this way, including yourself and anyone you care about. There is no "justice machine" to determine who is guilty and who isn't. If the authorities can do this to Chen they can do it to anyone.

At the very least have the balls to acknowledge this point, rather than pretend to be dim and ignore it.

Tommy said...

"will never hide the fact that he is, in fact, guilty."

Once again, how do YOU know this? Nobody said he was innocent either.

Robert R. said...


The entire detention isn't a reasonable action, so anything above and beyond that is just bonus bad.

Unknown said...

The blog post is comparing Taiwan to Burma on the back of denying visitation rights.

I have nothing to say about the political nature of the trial, the corruption in the standing government or Chen's guilt (other than to point out that he is, quite clearly, guilty).

All I wish to express is that the guy deserves to be served justice.

It'd be great if the justice could be served without the hypocrisy, but trying to paint a political picture out of the denial of visitors (when Chen himself is rejecting food) is just plain childish.

Johan said...

Stripe wrote in one post:
"I will agree that it would be much better were the authorities to act without hypocrisy".

and then in another:
"Complaining that the authority dishing out the punishment is hypocritical is simply a non-issue with regards to Chen's guilt."

Especially for this gentleman, here's a basic lesson in semantics and pragmatics (from, unfortunately, a linguist):


Leaves us with the rhetorical question:

Unknown said...

Grossly wrong to compare Chen situtation or DPP for that regard to the way Burmese Junta's treatment to opposition party(NLD) or ordinary citizens of Burma. I believe in free speech. I do respect your position on Taiwan. I just you guys to be realistic, fair and honest. Burma and Tibet issues are totally different from Taiwan.
ko oo

阿牛 said...

I meant neither to trivialize the seriousness of the situation in Burma nor to exaggerate the seriousness of Taiwan's. But I understand where you're coming from, Ko.

Unknown said...

So .. now that guards have got Chen on a suicide watch what are you going to say?

阿牛 said...

I'd say Chen's just about as likely to kill himself as he was to flee the country. Not gonna happen.

Unknown said...

So they should not have him on a suicide watch?

阿牛 said...

I don't see any need for it.

Unknown said...

But you're not going to complain about it?

阿牛 said...

It's not that important.

Unknown said...

So, let me get this straight. When Chen goes on a hunger strike and the guards deny him visitors in order to try and dissuade him from such it makes the KMT like the Burmese government, but when the same guards put him on a suicide watch you have no comment.

What gives?

阿牛 said...

I do not see the denial of visitors as an attempt to persuade Chen to end his hunger strike. It would tend to work the other way if his family and friends visited, who've dissuaded him from keeping this going at least once before. Rather, the denial of visitors is pure punishment.

The suicide watch is an unnecessary move but at least well-intentioned.

Robert R. said...

I'm not certain what suicide watch entails, but I doubt it impinges on his rights much.

taking away his TV, radio, and visitors does, especially for a guy that hasn't been convicted of anything.