Thu, Oct 23, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Ah Q, A-bian and An-hsiung

Corrupt former Kaohsiung City Council speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄) has staged a vanishing act on the eve of his jail term, after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal against conviction last month. Chu's wife and daughter called a press conference to moan and accuse the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of being "dirty" and "unjust." They accused the DPP of persecuting Chu, and said he fled to exercise his right of resistance. Chu's wife Wu Teh-mei (吳德美) said that she did not know Chu's whereabouts, and that he should seek political asylum via international organizations if he was abroad.

On Tuesday, local cable TV stations looped footage of the press conference every ten minutes, as if the pair were pursuing justice as a widow and an orphan. Yet the viewing audience surely knows it is absurd and lacking in balance for TV stations to deliberately exaggerate these two women's charade.

It would appear that if the shameless dare to be loud, then the news channels will give them a soapbox. As for what the audience might think, we would not be inclined to follow Ah Q's words: "Everything will be judged by society." Not every member of the television audience is smart and virtuous. Otherwise, politicians like Chu and their cronies would not have dominated Kaohsiung's political circles.

Let's not forget that Chu was once a member of the Control Yuan and a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Wu herself was once a KMT legislator. For this case, Chu was sentenced to 22 months in prison for buying votes during the Kaohsiung City Council election last year. Chu has also been charged in relation to two other cases -- an NT$22.7 billion embezzlement case at the An Feng Group, of which he was president, and a second vote-buying case during the Kaohsiung City Council election for speaker last December. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for the embezzlement case, and in the latter vote-buying case, in which Chu is suspected of bribing each councilor NT$5 million, Wu is also listed as an accomplice and is now out on NT$300,000 bail. After the Supreme Court rejected his appeal, Chu called a press conference and revealed that he had tried to bribe Kaohsiung District Court judge Tsai Wen-kui (蔡文貴).

Chu and Wu have been in politics for many years, and their political careers peaked when the KMT was in power. Given Wu's rich experience in political maneuvering, it was no surprise to see her drag her daughter into the fray and stage a meticulously scripted piece of theater.

Wu certainly knows that political parties have a habit of descending into vicious political wrangling prior to elections. That was why she and her daughter adopted a "thrash [Chen Shui-]Bian" strategy in Tuesday's press conference in sync with the blue camp's anti-Chen stance. That was why they claimed that Chu's conviction was a result of the DPP's "green terror." It was an attempt to seek support from KMT and People First Party (PFP) politicians.

In the wake of the Chu family's attack on the DPP, the KMT-PFP camp is both gratified and concerned: gratified, because they have found some comrades-in-arms; concerned, because the Chus are now public targets for their shady affairs. Whether the KMT and PFP politicians will overcome their hesitancy and join the Chu family's attack to seek votes in Kaohsiung remains to be seen.

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