President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday reiterated that the question of whether former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should be released on medical parole is not a political issue, but a legal and medical one.
Granting Chen medical parole is not a political decision, but a special pardon is, he said, adding that anyone released on medical parole is actually free and can stay in a hospital or at home.
“It actually means being released from prison,” he said in an exclusive interview with CNA.
He said that medical parole is only granted on medical grounds. Only those who cannot receive appropriate treatment in prison can be released on bail for medical treatment, he said.
“There must be a doctor’s -diagnosis that a patient cannot be treated properly in prison,” Ma said.
The issue has been in the public eye for several days, with diehard supporters of Chen — who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year jail sentence for corruption — calling for a special pardon for the former president, who led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in defeating the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the 2000 presidential election to end more than 50 years of KMT rule in Taiwan.
Recently, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), a KMT member, called on authorities to consider Chen’s medical parole case from a more lenient point of view.
He expressed hope that granting Chen medical parole would mend cracks in society caused by inter-party conflicts.
Hau said yesterday he respected Ma’s explanation of what medical parole means, but added that the Ministry of Justice should organize a medical group and commission to evaluate Chen’s health.
This, he said, is the only way to win public trust.
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday described Hau’s public endorsement of the pan-green proposal as “jumping into a fire pit, while getting burned in the process.”
“To me, the move was a make-or-break situation for Hau, who thought he could bring reconciliation between the two camps simply by jumping into the fire pit and shouting a few words. In the end, he got himself burned,” Hu said.
Dismissing Hu’s remarks, Hau said he was not of the opinion that seeking political rapprochement was a fire pit, but added that he was willing to accept any consequences if it turned out to be one.
The DPP yesterday urged Ma to deliberate on the issue of Chen’s medical parole “from a broader and a higher perspective.”
“Medical parole is not only an issue of medical care and law, but also a political and social issue,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
Public opinion polls showed that more than half of Taiwanese agree that the government should carefully handle the case of Chen’s release for medical treatment, Lin said.
“We urge Ma to approach the issue from a broader and a higher perspective,” he said.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang and Stacy Su
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit