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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

No more trials by media

Investigations by prosecutors in Taiwan are a bit like moving water in a bucket riddled with holes — you can count on leaks. Once a criminal investigation is under way, the details soon find their way into the papers and onto TV. Some media outlets and TV pundits then “improve” on the reports. Even if a suspect is later exonerated, it is hard to shake off the “sentence” passed in a trial by media. This essentially undermines the right to a fair trial and should be a concern regardless of whether the suspect is former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) or a baseball player suspected of match-fixing.


Grand justices fail to take a stand

Constitutional Interpretation No. 665 of the Council of Grand Justices deals with the decision to replace the judges handling the corruption cases against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and some of his family members and associates when they were already underway. It also deals with the question of whether the Taipei District Court’s guidelines for assigning criminal cases, on which the decision was based, are in line with the Constitution.

Two of the grand justices found these to be unconstitutional, and one said that they should be reviewed, but the other grand justices found them to be constitutional. This is a most regrettable decision that obscures a number of ethical issues.


Friendship is no bar to espionage

Following my presentation on Chinese espionage at National Chengchi University’s just-opened MacArthur Center for Security Studies on Oct. 15, a member of the audience asked a question that has stayed with me and probably deserves elaboration on the short answer I provided at the time.

“Once relations between Taiwan and China improve,” asked a young man — an undergraduate exchange student from Dongguan, Guangdong Province — “do you think Beijing might, given the importance of the relationship for the Chinese Communist Party [CCP], decrease espionage activity against Taiwan?”


The problem of surplus capital

On Wednesday, central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南) met ranking officials from three state-run banks and asked them to pay attention to the ability of borrowers to repay loans, not just admire the value of the collateral.

The central bank’s unusual move came just three weeks after it issued a press statement voicing concerns that an inflow of hot money would have adverse implications for the nation’s economic and financial stability.


The KMT's Diane Lee Finally Admits, She Lied.

The political bias and imbalance of Taiwan's Courts and its System of Justice were once again made evident in Taiwan when Diane Lee returned to court this past week. Lee, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) ex-legislator finally admitted that she, in violation of the law, has all along held dual-citizenship between the United States and the Republic of China on Taiwan. Yes after months of denying this fact, after accusing the United States of poor record keeping, after using every excuse and trying to blame any and all parties for doubting her, Lee finally admitted the truth. But what has this to do with the bias of the courts. Lee is still presumed innocent in the eyes of the court; she is as free as a bird.


US beef and the curse of Yu Wen

Those familiar with Taiwan’s political scene will recall the name Yu Wen (余文), a Taipei City Government staffer during President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) stint as mayor from 1998 to 2006. Following Ma’s indictment in 2006 for misusing his special allowance, Yu became a fall guy in some observers’ eyes, serving nine months in jail for failing to keep Ma’s accounts in order.

The term “Yu Wen” has since become part of Taiwan’s political lingo. It refers to a government official or agency that serves as a scapegoat and takes the heat for higher-ups.

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Reporters ask Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam questions at a news conference in Hong Kong yesterday.
Photo: Reuters

The government supports Hong Kong protesters in their pursuit of democracy and freedom, but would not intervene, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, urging the territory’s authorities not to cause “regrets” by refusing to start a dialogue with residents.