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Home Editorials of Interest Articles of Interest Legislator Mark Chen calls Chen Shui-bian’s case a national tragedy

Legislator Mark Chen calls Chen Shui-bian’s case a national tragedy

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Legislator Mark Chen discusses Chen Shui-bian's trial

Taiwan Political Prisoner Report, Jan.11, 2013. Legislator Chen Tan-sun, or Mark Chen as he is known in the United States, arranged for the special visit with Chen Shui-bian in his hospital cell. Mark Chen, no relation to the imprisoned former president, agreed to be interviewed to discuss the prosecuton of Chen Shui-bian.

“I don’t believe President Chen had a fair trial," said Legislator Chen. "He is a victim of political persecution. Chen Shu-bian is not the only one being persecuted. A bunch of people have been indicted, some of them being incarcerated, and in the end they were innocent. This is why most people here in Taiwan don’t believe our judicial system has justice.”

“One of the blames for that is the Kuomintang don’t really care about reaction from the people. If you criticize the government they say, “See no evil” so that is why many people hope that with the next election in 2016 a change can take place.”

Mark Chen explained: “The judicial system needs a major overhaul in such a way that people could have confidence in our system. But, of course, Chen Shui-bian had eight years, but eight years is not enough, the KMT has had control since 1945, one party controlled Taiwan. Given that, social organizations, government, everything under KMT control, it is not an easy job. We had eight years to right the wrong but it was not enough time. We need more changes, power changes, to succeed. It will take the Democratic Progressive Party many years to correct the system.”

Legislator Chen was critical of the incumbent administration: “Chen Shui-bian is a prime example of how this government can do what it wants. Chen was the president for eight years and still look what they can do. This government is broken, they don’t care about public reaction, because they are getting help from mainland China. If Ma can deliver Taiwan to mainland China he will be a hero in China.”

“So the question is how do we make Taiwan secure? In terms of international relations, the United States is the only country that can provide security to assure Taiwan’s future. Democracy is not free. Thirty years ago martial law was still here," remembered Chen.

“Many believe that Chinese culture, Confucianism, is at odds with democracy. But that has to be proved wrong. Taiwanese people were able to make it happen, to achieve a free democracy. But right now Taiwan is in danger.”

“President Chen is certainly a political prisoner. The whole legal process is not in line with the normal way of handling Chen Shui-bian’s case from the very beginning.”

President Chen stated when we visited him, the same case happened to Lee Teng-hui and the same presidential trust fund applied to incoming Ma Ying-jeu. The exact same thing happened except with a different name to Ma Ying-jeou; when he was Taipei mayor, he had a special fund. He even put the special fund in his own pocket and he was tried. But in the end, he was innocent. The same thing, the same kind of money we are talking about that former President Chen Shui-bian had. But in former President Chen’s case the prosecution under Ma Ying-jeou declared him guilty and sentenced him to seventeen years. In this process we find so many wrongs," said Chen.

“One judge can find him innocent, and another judge can give him a life sentence. That is a large gap between that is hard to understand by average people. That creates tremendous room for people to be very doubtful about the legal basis to condemn former President Chen. It is unfair. One hundred percent unfair”

“Chen was president for two terms and did a lot of good work for people. He has been incarcerated and put into such a small cage. It is incredible really….it is just a hell," said Mark Chen shaking his head.

“I have questioned several times to our Ministry of Justice, to our premier, and in between and they all express under the table that it is not right to treat Chen Shui-bian in such an inhumane way. But in public, they say it is not my duty or authority to make something happen in favor of the president, the only one who can do it is Ma. So it is very clear from the beginning, Ma is the one behind the process.”

Mark Chen had a message for America: “Taiwan is a democracy. We have democratic values we learned from the American people. Many people have spent years studying in the United States, including myself. Taiwan has always sided with the United States because we share the same values, we share the same core values, universal values of human rights and freedom of choice. That is the kind of values we have compared to what happened in China. Chen Shui-bian has been in prison for more than four years now and it is quite clear that Ma has harmed our modern democracy by what has happened.”

Next: Mark Chen discusses the role of China in Chen Shui-bian’s case

Source: Michael Richardson - Boston Progressive Examiner

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Supporters of former president Chen Shui-bian express their dissatisfaction with the decision not to release Chen on medical parole in time for New Year’s Day at a protest during the flag-raising ceremony outside the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Political figures — including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) — yesterday criticized the government for postponing a decision on whether to release former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on medical parole, while activists protested during a flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei.