The detention of President Chen Shui-bian's (
It has also become hot news in Beijing. China's official media outlets have provided both detailed and distorted reports of the scandal and are using it as an opportunity to launch a propaganda attack on Chen and his government.
The interesting thing is that the reaction of the Chinese public has been different from what the authorities expected. Internet users are interested not in Taiwanese corruption, but in the fact that the prosecutorial authorities -- which [to them] are headed by the president, Taiwan's highest authority -- have detained the president's son-in-law and are investigating him.
Living under a dictatorship as the Chinese people do, this has been an eye opener and a lesson in Taiwanese democracy. Even people who detest Chen and his government have begun to come around -- quite contrary to what is happening in Taiwan.
One Chinese Internet user said that this incident, "has been the best possible advertisment for Taiwan's democracy. Every time this ad is aired, Taiwanese democracy begins to shine in the hearts of many Chinese citizens."
Another Chinese Internet author even said that, "This news story is certain to become the mightiest weapon against China. At the very least, it has swept away my last remaining doubts concerning Taiwan's democracy."
This reaction is not very strange, because in China, the word "official" has become synonymous with "corruption." China's leadership clique is corrupt, and China's economy has long been known among Western academics as a "theft economy," where officials high and low compete in the corruption stakes, trying to turn state property into their own private property as fast as they possibly can. It has long been the norm for high officials to use their connections to "rob" the national treasury and businesses.
A few years ago, the US magazine Vanity Fair published an article entitled "China's red princes." The article said that these "princes" and "princesses" used their parents' privileges to make illegal profits. According to the article, there was no need for them to buy company shares, all they needed was an import-export approval document signed by a powerful parent which they then exchanged for tens or hundreds of thousands of shares, making them overnight millionaires.
The article also said that the children of high cadres had so much money they didn't know what to do with it, which in a bizarre twist led to a fad for buying cemetery space, even though they were all young and healthy.
Today, the number one prince-ling is former president Jiang Zemin's (江澤民) son, Jiang Mianheng (江綿恆). He holds a doctorate from a third-rate US university, but after his return to China he was catapulted to the vice presidency of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (中國科學院).
He later used his father's power to enter the Chinese telecommunications industry where exorbitant fortunes can be made, and consequently became a very rich man.
Not only are prosecutors afraid of investigating these people, but reporters are also afraid of revealing related scandals. Small wonder that a Chinese Internet survey bluntly said that Chao Chien-ming was unlucky to have been born in Taiwan. Had he been born in China, his status would have made him a wealthy man, and no one would have dared touch a hair on his head.