People who say that Chen Sui-Bian is innocent until proven guilty point to the fact that he personally has not been indicted. Since the recall in the Legilative Yuan failed, the sit-in, although a vaild way to express discontent, in an invalid way to pressure CSB to resign. Others would say that the judiciary is made up of CSB supporters who, while perhaps making a show of dealing with corruption close to him, would never deal impartially with the president himself, even if strong evidence of corruption were brought against him. If the people have no faith in democratic mechanisms, they will not rely on them to deal with their grievances, but rather will take matters into theirown hands. Do the Taiwanese have faith in their courts, and if not, why not?
Wow, I think my above question is really key to understanding the whole sit-in phenomenon and nobody has replied? I guess nobody else here knows the answer either. Michael Turton at his blog answered my question by saying that CSB has not had many judicial appointments at all- he has no sway with prosecutors or judges. If there were real evidence out there to charge him with a crime- it would have come to light under the present system. Since there is no evidence, there is no reason to believe CSB is himself corrupt. Therefore, protests calling for his resignation/removal are misguided. Or rather guided by forces that want him out period.
Because the system is filled with paritisan politics. Thus, no one trust the system anymore to past a fair judgment in high profile cases.
CSB belongs to the elective dictatorship school of “democracy”. His attitude is “well you stupid feckers elected me, so what are you gonna do about it? Huh? Huh?”
He’s not going anywhere. It would simply be better if we all forgot there was a “president”. CSB will do his little childish shit like any other politician whilst lining his own pocket with the taxpayers’ money, and then he’ll be off in 2008, a multi-millionaire. Then Ma Yingjiu will come in and do fuck all for four years because he is completely incapable of making a decision. But he might manage to set up direct links, though I very much doubt it.
LordLucan, why hasn’t CSB been indicted? Michael Turton says because there is no evidence to indict him with. What do you say to that? Do you know how many jusges CSB has appointed? Could you tell me the bias within the prosecuutor’s office? How did you come by your info?
V, judges are not appointed in Taiwan. They are selected by examination. Prosecutors, however, work for the Justice Department, which is part of the executive branch and therefore theoretically controlled by the president. In practice though, prosecutors tend to be quite independent in Taiwan and often very full of themselves in their pursuit of justice.
To answer your original question, Taiwan does have a functioning legal system. Unfortunately, the wheels of justice turn very slowly for the rich ans powerful. If Chen or his wife are indicted, it could take a decade to convict them if they are in fact guilty. This tends to undermine faith in the judicial system.
As in many democracies, the framers of Taiwan’s constitution understood that the trial of a president is fundamentally political. That is why they put the power to recall or impeach the preisdent in the hand of the legislative branch, not the mob.
If there really was strong public support for removing Chen, the PFP, the KMT, and their allies could easily overturn the cabinet. Chen would then dissolve the legislature and new elections would be held. Presumably, the blues would win a hige majority and the president could then be recalled.
The fact is though that the size of the next legislature will be halved and some KMT legislators and most PFP legislators will be out of a job. The desire of sitting legislators to finish their terms far exceeds their anger at Chen’s ‘corruption.’ They could remove Chen, but they have chosen, for fundametally selfish reasons, not to invoke the constitutional mechanisms set up for this purpose.
Feiren, how have you decided whether Chen is as corrupt as Shi Ming Deh would have people believe? Since you say the prosecutor is independent and he hasn’t charged CSB, is this a sign that CSB hasn’t been involved directly? And since martial law was only lifted in 1987, and a multi-party democracy has only been around, I’m not sure how many years, but not long, how have prosecutors had time to build up a reputation as being independent?
I’m not sure about CSB’s corruption. He has now admitted that he authorized the use of unrelated receipts to report expenses charged to (legal) presidential slush fund that he says was used for top secret diplomatic efforts. His story may hold up, but it seems to me that he exercised extremely poor judgment in authorizing this deceptive practice. If that is all and if he has nothing to hide, he should prove that no one in his immediate family received any funds from the slush fund and he should also give a full accounting of what the funds were used for.
Chen’s problem is that he was elected on a reform platform and he clearly has not cleaned up the workings of the Presidential Office even if he himself is technically clean.
I think that if the prosecutors find evidence of wrongdoing they will go after him and his wife. The rise of Taiwan’s prosecutors and their growing (extra-constitutional) independence is one of the more interesting aspects of this whole story.
Quite right. The purpose of a legislator is to get elected and stay elected. The purpose of a president is to lift a huge salary and do right by his mates. There’s no point in upsetting the gravy train just because of a few procedural irregularities.
I do wish these people would stop protesting though because it always brings bad weather at the weekend and now that it’s getting cooler it’s nice to sit outside on the balcony reading a book and sipping a beer. All this faux outrage at a slightly bent president (imagine!) is ruining my weekends and it has to stop.
In any event, I hope Ah-Bian will remember a mainland man don’t need him around anyhow.