We want to express our deep disappointment with the verdict of the Taipei District Court in former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (
The court found Ma, who is also the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) presidential candidate, not guilty of embezzling funds from his special mayoral allowance.
When Ma was first accused of using his special mayoral allowance for his own expenses, he repeatedly asserted to the Taipei City Council and the press that he had only used his special allowance for public affairs and charities.
After prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (
When this became known, Ma changed his tune and flatly lied, claiming he had never said the special allowance was only for public affairs.
He also said that his answers as recorded in the transcript of his indictment were the result of leading questions or the prosecutor intentionally twisting Ma's statements out of context.
It's not unusual for people to lie when caught red-handed. Ma, however, has lied about his special mayoral allowance in the capacity of Taipei mayor, KMT chairman and KMT presidential candidate. It is despicable to see a politician behave this way. He obviously has no scruples about deceiving the public.
What is so disappointing is that the court accepted Ma's claims and disregarded certain evidence that may have incriminated him, such as electronic documents, and handed down a ruling without first hearing the whole story.
In addition, the court adopted the charges made by Ma and his lawyers against the prosecutor. In the verdict, the court reprimanded Hou, saying the transcript was not true to what had been said, that he had taken statements out of context, that he had violated the Criminal Procedure Law (
As to the nature of the special allowance, despite stricter interpretations by other government institutions, the court adopted the loosest possible standard, calling the special allowance a "substantial subsidy."
The court has not done its job, and the public is now doubting whether our judicial system is capable of looking at things objectively and professionally to uphold the law.
Nevertheless, we still have faith in the court system and respect it. The judicial system is the last line of defense for justice, but we still want to make an earnest appeal: Fairness and independence are the basis of this line of defense.
The courts should objectively consider all the facts. The judiciary shoulders a heavy responsibility as an arbitrator that must be just and ignore political pressure.
The judiciary must be unbiased and have no double standards. It has to be a balancing force.
A verdict too far removed from public opinion or one that goes flagrantly against public expectations makes it impossible for the judiciary to be a buffer between the two opposing sides, instead turning it into a tool that exacerbates the problem and pulling the judiciary down with it.
We urge the prosecutor to immediately file an appeal. The High Court must offer a detailed explanation and legal interpretation in its verdict to assure the public that it is fair.
Translated by Anna Stiggelbout
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at a ceremony on July 30 officially commissioned China’s BeiDou-3 satellite navigation system. The constellation of satellites, which is now fully operational, was completed six months ahead of schedule. Its deployment means that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is now in possession of an autonomous, global satellite navigation system to rival the US’ GPS, Russia’s Glonass and the EU’s Galileo. Although Chinese officials have repeatedly sought to reassure the world that BeiDou-3 is primarily a civilian and commercial platform, US and European military experts beg to differ. Teresa Hitchens, a senior research associate at the University of
Taiwan’s rampant thesis and dissertation plagiarism has reduced the value of degrees, bringing the academic system’s public credibility to the brink of collapse. Data published on Retraction Watch — a blog that reports on retractions of scientific papers — showed that 73 papers written by Taiwanese researchers were retracted from international journals between 2012 and 2016 due to fake peer reviews, the second-highest in the world behind China. Based on the size of the academic population, Taiwan was the highest in the world, making it academically a pirate nation. Academic fraud in Taiwan can be divided into several types: the listing of coauthors;