China and Hong Kong: Ex-president's life sentence, a farce or a victory?

Former Taiwanese leader Chen Shui bian was sentenced to life imprisonment on 11 September and Portnoy has made an excellent summary of Twitterers’ responses from Taiwan. Here I would like to add to the discussion by collecting more opinions and discussions from mainland China and Hong Kong, which, very interestingly, are pointing at very different conclusions.

China: A farce of Democracy

There is a hot debate on whether Chen's life sentence is a farce or victory of democracy.

Wuluwufu from state-owned Qiangguo Forum argued that Chen's life sentence is a farce of Taiwan's democratic system.


Chen came into office by manipulating democracy. He is a politician who is stealing personal gains by defrauding the public. He has underestimated people intelligence and his life sentence shows that a politician with low integrity cannot be intolerable be the interest groups in power. It is inevitable that Chen be kicked out from the political scene.


It may be valid to say that it is a partial victory of democracy as the legal institution had punished the former outlaw leader. However, it would be a joke if we overstate such victory as a manifestation of “people power”. On the contrary, from a broader point of view, it is a farce rather than a victory of the democratic institutional system.

111.167.234 added in the comment section,


Remember, Taiwan’s court started to sue Chen only after he became an ordinary citizen. Taiwan judiciary was in a mess when Chen was still in power. We can say that, Taiwan legal institution only bullies the ordinary people.

Hong Kong: A victory of Democracy

However, Xiaoren from Hong Kong celebrated Chen’s life sentence as a victory of democracy in his blog,


有民主先有民生,如果香港呢家已經好似台灣咁民主發展得咁成熟,真係唔知會有幾多官員因為某 d 事件而下台。

The success of Taiwan’s democracy proves that the court is for the people, not the government,
People’s livelihood is based on democracy, if Hong Kong’s democratic progress is as mature as Taiwan’s, I cannot estimate how many governmental leaders have to step down…

Several netizens from Hong Kong Golden Forum used the graphic picture below to celebrate Chen's sentence. It said: “let's sing and dance!”


In Hong Kong Discussion Forum, a netizen udbkam posted a question, asking “Do you agree that Chen’s corruption is a minor problem because Taiwan enjoys universal suffrage?”

Helios agreed


I agree with that,
at least Chen’s corruption case comes to a conclusion.
Across the strait, people do not even know who’re involved (in corruption)…..

Eric_from_1986 further elaborated,



The amount of money taken away by Chen's dirty hands is only a fraction of the corrupt officialdom in the mainland China, but Chen was punished for life sentence, will that happen in mainland China?

Carlucci also shared similar view,

今天我很羨慕台灣人. 能把前貪污總統判無期徒刑. 公義得以申張. 中國人民共和國? 何時才能這樣???

Today I am so envious of Taiwan people that they could sentence their former corrupt president to life in prison. Justice has been served. Until when the People’s Republic of China will be able to do that?

Anti-CCP sentiment at work?

Another debate among Hong Kong netizens over Chen's sentence is on whether or not Chen's sentence is a result of the anti- Chinese Communist party's sentiment in Taiwan (as corruption is the biggest problem in China). It is interesting to note that such opinion is very different from some Taiwanese netizens viewpoint that the Taiwanese ruling party KMT is trying to please CCP with Chen's life imprisonment (via Portnoy's post).

Helen17162 in Hong Kong Discussion Forum disagreed with such association,


I don't see the relation between Chen’s case with anti-communism? People are all equal under the law so that there is hope for our future. Add oil Taiwan! and alerts the CCP and its corrupt officials the consequence of corruption. Our society will be in darkness if we can't see the future. Chinese needs to reform itself if it wants to apply United Front strategy with Taiwan . A society that moves towards the institutional democratic system will bring fortune of all ethnic groups in China.

(P.S the thumb nail picture is from NF daily news)


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