Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Media has to be fairer and allow Chen to rule

By Wang Yi-feng et al 王逸峰 等28人

The protests following the attempted assassination on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on March 19, 2004, sparked fears that the country would descend into chaos, leaving Taiwan especially vulnerable to an attack by China. The present political crisis surrounding Chen's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) recalls the pandemonium following the March 19 shooting incident -- Taiwan once again has slipped into a political firestorm that endangers the nation.

The Chao-related scandals are unsettling, and a restoration order is necessary to reassure the public and save Taiwan. However, society should be warned that a fair and balanced approach to Chao's case is also necessary amid the current political crisis.

If the China Times, United Daily News and other pro-unification media outlets had reported on scandals involving fugitive tycoon Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪) and fugitive ex-legislative speaker Liu Sung-fan (劉松藩) with the same level of righteousness and attention to detail as they have with Chao's case, then the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) would have been brought to its knees.

Chen Yu-hao fled Taiwan after defaulting on a NT$50 billion (US$1.5 million) loan; Liu, a former People First Party legislator and legislative speaker, fled Taiwan after being sentenced to four years in prison for accepting kickbacks worth NT$150 million. The vastly different manner in which the pan-blue media frame scandals reveals their lack of professionalism. Yes, there is no denying that Chao's case has scarred Taiwan. However, we must appeal to the public to be aware that some of Taiwan's media are extremely biased.

When and where Chao and his associates met, what they discussed and other details of his rendezvous with various captains of commerce are under intense scrutiny. Common sense tells us that such details are beyond the collective capabilities of one or a few private investigation firms.

If the formidable surveillance capabilities of the KMT apparatus were turned loose on not only the pan-greens but also itself, Taiwan's political landscape would look a lot different.

Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tse (李遠哲) said: "A lot of businesspeople have told me that [corrupt] Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members come cheap because they don't know the market."

Chao's case is merely the tip of the iceberg; Taiwanese politics is home to plenty of much darker secrets. The scandals involving Chao should not completely distract us from the big picture.

The single greatest issue that has the greatest impact on the well-being of the Taiwanese people is whether the country is being gradually devoured and assimilated by China.

With this fact in mind we can can better appreciate President Chen's efforts in defending Taiwan's sovereignty, the choice of Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) as minister of education to promote the "Taiwanization" of education, and the government's success in broadening and stabilizing Taiwan's independent identity. Also, the war of words between President Chen and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that commenced during their meeting at the Presidential Office in April demonstrates that Chen understands politics better than Ma.

Presently, the pan-blues are stirring up a movement to unseat the president. The pan-greens, on the other hand, are being reported on in a selective, biased manner, which is fanning anti-Chen sentiment. With the long-term interests of the Taiwanese people at heart, we call on the media to not pull down our struggling helmsman -- who has not been accused or found guilty of any wrongdoing -- as he navigates us through dangerous waters; and let the wise, objective thinkers among us forge a greater Taiwan.

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