Time for A-bian to go back to prison
It’s time for former president Chen Shuibian to go back to prison. There’s no reason why he is allowed to stay at home on compassionate release from jail where he is required to serve a 20-year sentence for corruption and graft as well as money laundering while he was in office from 2000 to 2008.
When Chen was released on medical parole from the Beide Hospital of the Taichung Prison on Jan. 5, he was told to return to jail to serve the rest of his term, if his pathological conditions turn better. He claimed to suffer from severe depression, sleep apnea, paranoia of food poisoning and a couple of other diseases. He tried to commit suicide by hanging himself with towels tied together in his hospital room on June 21, 2013. As a consequence, the Agency of Corrections under the Ministry of Justice concluded that he had a “risk of sudden death,” if he were not sent back home to stay with family to continue rehabilitation.
One of the conditions laid down for his home rehabilitation was that the release was just for one month, but can be extended for another one to three months, if the condition of disease does not improve. If there’s improvement, the parolee has to return to prison. For that reason, the Beide Hospital has to send a pathological condition assessment mission once every one to three months to Kaohsiung where Chen lives with family to find out if he does or doesn’t get better.
Apparently, Chen’s condition has been found to be just as bad as at the time he was freed from life behind bars. There is no limitation to how many times the medical parole can be extended; and so the parolee can stay with family as long as he wishes so long as the Beide doctors keep on finding no improvement. Is there really no improvement? That’s the question China Times reporters asked. They covered a 50-minute walk Chen took in the Kaohsiung Art Museum park near the luxurious mansion estate where he lives and reported it in detail with pictures for the latest issue of the paper’s Want Weekly ( ).
In the cover story of the weekly that claims to have a circulation of 500,000 copies, Chen is described as a very healthy-looking man who walked so fast as to make his two guards trot behind him to catch up. He never used a walking cane but used his cellphone most of the time he was taking the walk, raising a hand over and over to salute passersby.
China Times reporters also contradicted the claim about Chen’s pathological condition by his only son Chih-chung, who failed to get elected to the Legislative Yuan in the last legislative elections.
Chih-chung, just as politically ambitious as his father used to be, claims: “Father’s cerebral nerve lesion hasn’t improved a bit. His brain atrophy is 20 percent. His hands tremble and he stammers (because of Parkinson’s disease). He can’t walk steadily. He has to wear a urine-collecting bag almost all the time.” Well, pictures taken by China Times cameramen showed no signs of such a bag hitched to the parolee’s trousers during the walk. Isn’t it because his condition has improved enough to take the 50- minute walk without the bag?
A Consummate Good Actor
But there certainly is something a new Beide assessment team can do to ascertain that the former president is well enough to resume serving the rest of his two- decade sentence. As a matter of fact, I believe, along with at least half of the people of Taiwan, he is a consummate good actor, who failed only once to fool them by playing suicide a little more than two years ago. I cannot say for sure he staged an assassination play on the eve of the 2004 presidential election to beat Lien Chan by a razor-thin edge, but I am convinced that he was capable of doing it.
Why? He was re-elected, thanks to the sympathy votes of swing voters. Practically all the corruption and graft of which he has been convicted took place during his second and last term. While he was under trial after he had stepped down, he pleaded with the U.S. Military Court of Appeals to order the nonexistent U. S. military government of Taiwan to instruct President Ma Yingjeou to immediately release him and countermand his sentence of life imprisonment. In an attempt to escape imprisonment, the expresident declared that during his two terms he carried out the orders of that American military government as its agent and colonial governor of Taiwan. In other words, he cheated all those people who voted for him in the two presidential elections of 2000 and 2004.
Curiously enough, no cheated voters call Chen a traitor. No condemnation. No legal action was taken against him either for treason or even breach of trust or fraud. And there were more than enough doctors like professor Ko Wen-je, mayor of Taipei now, who love to vouchsafe to help the disgraced former president win medical parole. Of course, it’s much easier to pretend to suffer depression and incontinence than to do away with oneself, though.
Yok Muming, chairman of the New Party, has sued former President Lee Teng-hui for treason just because the aging Iwasato Masao — the Japanese name he carried before Taiwan was restored to China at the end of World War II — told reporters for Tokyo-based Voice magazine that he fought for his motherland of Japan while the Republic of China under Chiang Kai-shek was at war with the Land of the Rising Sun from 1937 to 1945. Has it ever occurred to Yok that he might do the same against Chen Shui- bian who breached the trust of the voters by styling himself as Uncle Sam’s colonial governor of Taiwan?