Fri, Mar 07, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Who are the real conspirators?

Recently the PFP has specialized in holding press conferences and crying foul on behalf of its chairman. To clear PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) from suspicions about his role in the Lafayette frigate scandal and the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident -- as well as the stink of the Chung Hsing Bills Finance scandal -- PFP lawmakers on a daily basis accuse the government of political conspiracy and persecution.

With so many fingers pointing at its controversial leader, the PFP in its paranoia is presenting a conspiracy theory, essentially claiming that everyone wants to harm Soong. But is Soong really as innocent as the PFP would like us to believe?

The Chung Hsing Bills Finance scandal is a four-year-old case. On Wednesday, in response to a question from a member of the public, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said the case is not yet closed. Rather, the investigation is beginning anew, Chen said, and the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office is investigating new evidence. Pan-blue legislators immediately jumped on Chen and accused him of interfering in the judiciary. However, Chen was merely describing the situation, not directing the prosecutors and investigators.

After the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office decided not to indict Soong over the case, lawyer Chuang Po-lin (莊柏林), who handled the case on behalf of the KMT before the party decided to drop it, filed an appeal for another investigation -- and he did it with KMT authorization.

The Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office has now ordered the Taipei prosecutors' office to look into the reasons cited by Chuang in his appeal. The pan-blue lawmakers' accusations of political persecution are an overreaction.

On another front, the Central News Agency (CNA) recently made a mistake in translating a news report about former French foreign minister Roland Dumas' remarks on the Lafayette scandal. Dumas claimed that US$400 million in kickbacks had been transferred to the "general secretariat" of the then-ruling party -- ie, the KMT. But CNA mistranslated the phrase "general secretariat" as "secretary general" -- and in so doing directly implicated Soong.

The fact that the report turns out to be a mistranslation in no way actually proves Soong's innocence. After all, he was the KMT secretary-general at the time, the man who oversaw the party's secretariat. If the Lafayette kickbacks have anything to do with the KMT's secretariat, they almost certainly have to do with Soong. Using a mistranslated news report to "prove" Soong's innocence is an attempt to divert public attention and put blinkers on people's eyes.

This is nothing new for Soong. A few days ago, Soong argued during a press conference that, as director-general of the Government Information Office at the time, his role in the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident was simply to try to maintain the nation's image. What an understatement. During the trials for those arrested in the notorious incident, Soong publicly denounced them as "pro-Taiwan independence elements," and "those who walk the same path as the Communist bandits," and as "People who want to overthrow the government by force."

Soong's words defined the incident then and betray him now.

There's a frequently used phrase in local politics -- borrowed from Shakespeare -- "The queen's chastity cannot be questioned!" Soong is not only the chairman of the PFP but also the "queen" whom KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is about to marry. Perhaps due to their fears that Soong's integrity cannnot stand up to examination, any doubts about the Soong's virtue are dismissed by the two parties as conspiracy and any investigation is portrayed as persecution. Clearly, this is where we can find the real political conspiracy.

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