Sat, Jan 03, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's Mailbag

A hard sell in a cold cell

Dear Johnny,

Those dark days, and I lived in Taiwan during many of those dark days, are quickly returning. While President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), I think, plays his fiddle, freedom in Taiwan burns.

Stand up, good people, and demand that the media continue to report on the former president of Taiwan and his condition and report on the powers that keep him in custody.

I think the fine people of Taiwan need to be prepared for the iron fist of the KMT, as it is only now getting ready for the blow that may well shatter the hopes and dreams of millions of people.

Listen and understand, Taiwan, I do not think the world is expressing any faith in your judicial system; I think the world is issuing a warning that it is watching. It is watching as a fine man lies in his cold cell, separated from family and friends, not having a voice to decry the awful brutality that is being committed upon him and his family.

If they treat him this way, before he has even been to trial, before he has been convicted of any crime, how are they going to treat him after the trial?

Freedom House: a word for you. It is not just the possibility of police brutality slammed against the free and democratic people of Taiwan that you should be looking at.

Could it possibly be that the charges against Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) are in retaliation for the charges laid against Ma when he was mayor of Taipei? Could the charges against Chen be the result of the fear the KMT has of a free and democratic Taiwan?

A TEXAN

Johnny replies: There are a lot of people who think Chen is guilty, and his trial hasn’t even started yet. But it has to be said that Chen never did himself any favors in the PR department. When you add all this up, you have a cocktail for trial by media and an ongoing ripping at the scabs on the body of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Is Chen a fine man? To me, the real question should be “Is Chen a wise man?” The answer is not very complimentary. Why else would so many of his trusted friends be heading for the exits?

At the same time, so many elements of his investigation are straight out of a comedy sketch. Chen’s real legacy might not be his wisdom, but his ability to serve, as promised, as a sacrificial lamb.

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