As I sat watching President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) son-in-law taken away by police for alleged insider trading, I couldn’t help but notice how much it looked like a Hollywood paparazzi shootout. The flashes were going off so fast it had a stroboscopic effect. I couldn’t help but think that freedom of the press is taken to the extreme here in Taiwan.
This reminded me how I find it ironic that Chen is cast by his enemies as some sort of autocratic manipulator of democracy. Why then, after six long years of being assailed in the press, hasn’t he tried to suppress it just a little? Indeed, for all his arguable failures of leadership, can it be said honestly that he’s ever done anything against the spirit of democracy? Even if you believe he committed electoral fraud through a staged assassination attempt, I would say to you, why then, has he not been caught cheating at anything else? If he has such control over his minions that he can pull off repeated conspiracies (until now), why would he allow his in-laws to get involved in such an ill-conceived investment scheme? Would he not protect his own daughter better if he were the all-controling Godfather his pan-blue opponents make him out to be?
For me, the fact that Chen recently polled an approval rating below 6 percent indicates most of the population can’t recognize a good man when they see one. His vanishing support reminds me of rats deserting a ship.
As for Chao Chien-ming, I hope he is kept under safe observation. If I had caused as much trouble to Chen, I worry what I might do to myself.