What You need to know about the Ma Ying-jeou Indictment
by Bevin Chu
April 20, 2007
By now everyone who follows events in mainland China and Taiwan knows that political superstar Ma Ying-jeou of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has been indicted by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government for “embezzlement.”
Based on their own experience with relatively independent judiciaries, political observers from “mature” democracies in Europe and America may assume that “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” They may conclude that Ma Ying-jeou, despite his hard-earned, well-deserved reputation as “Mr. Clean,” has turned out to be “just another crooked politician whose sins finally caught up with him.”
Such a conclusion, so natural and so reasonable within the context of an “advanced” western liberal democracy, could not be further from the truth.
The fact that Ma Ying-jeou has been indicted is evidence not that Ma Ying-jeou is guilty of abusing state power to line his pockets. The fact that Ma Ying-jeou has been indicted is evidence that the ruling DPP is guilty of abusing state power to eliminate its political rivals.
Ma YIng-jeou used his Discretionary Fund exactly the same way all 65,000 administrative officials on Taiwan have been using the Discretionary Fund for the past 30 years. If the judiciary wants us to believe that Ma Ying-jeou is guilty of “embezzlement,” why weren’t Su Tseng-chang, Frank Hsieh, Annette Lu, and Yu Hsi-kuen, the “Four Princes of the DPP,” standing in the dock beside him?
To say that Pan Green ruled Taiwan “lacks an independent judiciary” would be a gross understatement. The judiciary on today’s Taiwan is the farthest thing from an independent judiciary. The judiciary on today’s Taiwan is the ruling DPP’s “muscle,” ready, willing, and able to do the ruling regime’s dirty work.
Would you like to frame aggressively pro reunification New Party lawmaker Fung Hu-hsiang on trumped up charges of “rape?” No problem.
Would you like to frame 2008 presidential front runner Ma Ying-jeou on trumped up charges of “embezzlement?” No problem.
Taiwan under Pan Green rule is not a democracy, not as observers from Europe and America understand democracy. Taiwan under Pan Green rule is what political observer Fareed Zakaria referred to as an “illiberal democracy,” a democracy in which the ruling government may (or may not) have been elected in a free and fair election, but whose legal framework is woefully incapable of checking its power.
Taiwan, a newly democratized region of the Republic of China, lacks a history of political pluralism. In the absence of such a moderating tradition, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), upon assuming power, began behaving in an authoritarian manner involving mind-boggling, all-pervasive corruption, undisguised persecution of the political opposition, and relentless harassment of media organizations perceived as “pro reunification.”
The ruling DPP believes it has a mandate to act any way it sees fit, to ignore the law and even the Republic of China Constitution, as long as it holds regular elections and espouses Taiwan independence.
Republic of China citizens on Taiwan are fully aware of this. That is why when Ma Ying-jeou was indicted on trumped up charges of “embezzlement” in February his approval ratings shot up eight points. The public was so outraged by the ruling DPP’s transparently obvious attempt to eliminate Ma Ying-jeou as a presidential candidate in 2008, that they reacted by giving his approval ratings a sharp boost.
What you need to know about Ma Ying-jeou’s indictment can be summed up quite simply.
The fact that Ma Ying-jeou has been indicted is not evidence that Ma Ying-jeou “embezzled” funds from his Discretionary Fund account. The fact that Ma Ying-jeou has been indicted is evidence that the ruling DPP owns the judiciary, lock, stock, and barrel, and has no qualms about abusing its power to rule in perpetuity.