On September 11, Taiwan's former President Chen Sui-Bian was sentenced to life imprisonment and a NTD 200 million fine (roughly USD 6.13 million) on charges of embezzlement, taking bribes and money laundering. Chen's wife Wu Shu-jen also received a life sentence while their son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching received sentences ranging from 20-30 months for money laundering. Other relatives received suspended sentences. Two former advisers were given sentences of 16 and 20 years imprisonment. See Taiwan news for more detail on Chen family's corruption charge and sentence.
The GV Chinese lingua team invited twitterers to comment on the case and use hashtag “#abian911” to mark the tweets that they recommend to be featured in GV. The opinions are rather diverse.
Twitterers from Taiwan tended to doubt if the sentence is justified. HOW from Taiwan:
[murmur] 阿扁判無期徒刑…但為什麼性犯罪者可以假釋。我恨透他貪汙，但司法也不能這樣搞啊，比例原則在哪裡啊！（認為我政治狂上身可以盡量remove我沒關 係）
Abian got life sentence…but why sex criminals can have conditional release, (but he can't?). I hate his corruption, but justice cannot play it this way. Where is the principle of proportionality!
pipperl from Taiwan:
The case of Chen is simply a family purge. Is this going to be a model for other politicians?
judie35 from Taiwan:
The sentence of the first trial of Chen's case smells completely like political avenge, and that is not acceptable. This is not justice, instead, it forces Taiwan society to continue its antagonism and disunion. Chen is not innocent, but the over-weighted punishment is making the court lose its legitimacy, which in return lets people feel sympathy for him or even regard him as a hero who die for his country. #abian911
traaworld from Taiwan RT @thecarol: RT @Lydia618: RT: @4F:
Don't be fooled to believe that corruption is gone. Corruption is always here, and the most corrupted are always accusing others as corrupted. #(Yeah, this is the point) #abain911
traaworld from Taiwan RT @lianyue from China:
Two expressions for “In jail for life”: Chen Sui-Bian's life sentence and Long live CCP.
Octw is quite an exceptional Taiwanese view who believes that justice has been served:
Justice. All the illegal earnings of criminals should be pursued and returned. I hope this is an eternal prejudication. #abian911
While among twitterers from China, the fact that an ex-political leader received life sentence is quite unimaginable. gudidi from China:
Chen's life is full of ebbs and flows…just like a sophisticated drama! #abian911
TONG from China cites lianyue's tweet:
Democratic Taiwan leads to Abian's life sentence; Aristocratic Mainland China leads to all citizens’ life sentence.
ismaelan, a Chinese Muslim:
Heavily punishing a token of ethnic Taiwanese adds more on the evil impression on KMT's inability to run the country and the ability to battle against interior enemy. #abian911
As for the Taiwan English-speaking twitter circle, it seems that most of the opinions simply do not trust the ruling party KMT and some accuse the Beijing government for operating behind the scene in Chen's sentence. The following tweets are selected by GV author David Reid:
Tortue: You know that I don't keep SCB (Chen Shui-Bian) and DPP in my heart but I don't think that a life sentence here was really appropriate…
TimMaddog: Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-jen just sentenced to life imprisonment. Fuck this Ma Ying-jeou government!
vshchen: I hope most Taiwanese are smart enough to see how KMT is trampling on Taiwan's justice.
I wouldn't be surprised if Chen Shui-bian were sentenced to death by KMT's court. It's already very obvious that KMT want Chen to die.
jgdeutsch: A life sentence for Chen Shui-bian? This seems a bit extreme, even for a regime that's kissing up to the CCP. http://ow.ly/oWh1 [link to BBC news article]
JuleSuga @vshchen Hope now more ppl will wake up & see KMT's true colours. Chen will come out one day & lead us to build our own country.
David also suggested an article from The Far-Eastern Sweet Potato, who believed that the life sentence is to please Beijing government:
Chen was a flawed leader. But he is being sacrificed by a regime that cannot help but bend over backwards to please Beijing. As he and his wife face life behind bars, Beijing has successfully split Taiwanese Aborigines while dealing as death blow to the only opposition party in Taiwan that make the country worthy of being called a democracy……….
I certainly do not wish a 9/11 I Taiwan, or anything resembling a Cuban Revolution. But if the voice of the people continues to be ignored like this, and if Beijing continues to succeed in its plan to annex Taiwan one voice at a time, I fear that nothing less will be necessary.
Whether Chen Shui-bian broke the law is irrelevant at this point as the process of criminal procedure during discovery was so politically tainted with a preordained goal, it puts the rest of society at risk.
I would rather one hundred guilty Chen Shui-bians go free than allow the state to maintain a biased and flawed system of law that could successfully persecute one innocent citizen on political grounds. The
The system was on trial and and failed. Now all Taiwan will serve the sentence.
Is there any examples of a democratic country given such harsh punishment to a whole presidential family or is this chinese-style democracy?
Depending on which way you look at it, it’s either a classic manifesto of judiciary independence or a public revenge on a political enemy. But unless there is clear and material evidence (vs. mere speculation) as to how the law and judiciary procedure are compromised in Mr Chen and his family’s trial, it is not going to convince anyone in Mr Chen’s favour.