Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 1 News List

President Chen blasts back at opposition party leaders

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday lashed out at opposition parties, likening their motion to recall him to the trials-by-mob of China's Cultural Revolution.

"I respect the judicial system and I support and believe in it," he said in his weekly e-newsletter. "However, our judicial system has been deliberately distorted and misled to a point that the distant family members of someone who committed a crime have to bear the punishment applied to the person. Such an abnormal development is worrisome."

Calling on the opposition pan-blue alliance to separate issues of justice from politicking, Chen said that the public will not tolerate politicians manipulating the justice system to achieve political goals.

"Some are alleging that the recall campaign and no-confidence vote against the premier are just an attempt to add impetus to the prosecutors' investigation. This is a naked attempt to use political power to interfere with the judicial process," he said. "Fairness and justice are not the prerogative of the powerful and strong. [The pan-blues] cannot simply use the fact that they are the majority party to casually impose a guilty verdict, overturning the choice of the people. Otherwise, this would be a re-enactment of the mock trials of China's Cultural Revolution -- this would be a humiliation of and insult to Taiwan's democracy and the rule of law."

Over the past six years, some individuals and parties have been hostile to A-bian, he said -- referring to himself in the third person by his nickname, as he often does -- and did whatever they could to attack him, with the clear goal of claiming power.

Because the pan-blue alliance is unable to accept the fact that it lost the presidential election in 2000, Chen said that they had launched a recall campaign six months into his presidency.

After he won re-election in 2004, Chen said that his election rivals, former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), refused to concede defeat and filed two election lawsuits with the hope of unseating him and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

Although the suits were eventually thrown out of court, Chen said that the people paid a steep price because of the pan-blue camp's habitual boycotts in the legislature, which have paralyzed the functioning of his administration.

Over the past six years, Chen said that he has been exerting himself to make a better future for the nation and happiness of the 23 million people of Taiwan.

"But A-bian is human and humans make mistakes," he said. "I'm sorry and feel distraught over what happened and I even blame myself."

Chen said it is a serious matter for some politicians to manipulate the media and engage in a smear campaign, and to trample over other people's dignity and values just for the purpose of harvesting political gains.

Chen said that he had put up with all the insults and humiliations inflicted upon him by his political rivals because he has faith in Taiwan, its democratic system, judicial system and more importantly its people.

He said that he has always believed that everybody should be treated equally before the law. Those who commit a crime must accept punishment in accordance with the law regardless of the person's social status or connection.

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