Sat, Apr 13, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Chiang `seduction' case fails

NO CASE Two people had claimed that former president Chiang Ching-kuo's daughter was seduced by her current husband while he was still married

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Court (台北地方法院) yesterday said that the former commander of the Combined Services Force General Headquarters Wen Ha-hsiung (溫哈熊) and Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), his son-in-law who is also a former KMT legislator, were not guilty of libel in a suit filed by the late president Chiang Ching-kuo's (蔣經國) daughter and her husband last year.

Chiang Hsiao-chang (蔣孝章), the only daughter of the late president, and her husband Yu Yang-ho (俞揚和), a son of late Defense Minister Yu Tai-wei (俞大維), filed the libel suit against Wen and Ting on June 3 last year over their allegations that Yu Yang-ho had seduced Chiang while he was still married to his second wife.

Wen was interviewed by the Academia Sinica (中央研究院) and the content of the interview was published in 1997.

During the interview, Wen also said that Chiang was pregnant before she married Yu. He also said that Yu Tai-wei has once bowed to Yu Yang-ho's second wife and asked her to divorce his son so Yu junior could marry Chiang legally.

Judge Wu Ding-ya's (吳定亞) verdict said that Wen's interview with the Academia Sinica in 1997 was an "oral history."

The aim of an "oral history" is to propose questions or issues for researchers to investigate to amend official history books. As such, this medium should be protected as a kind of freedom of speech.

The court did not find any evidence to prove that Wen was libeling.

"It was the Academia Sinica's decision to interview Wen," said Wu. "In other words, Wen was just doing his job as an interviewee and told the interviewer what he knew. He had the right to say whatever he believed to be true. Whether to believe it or not was a decision up to the interviewer. This kind of oral history should be protected and it's more important than [ordinary] freedom of speech [issues]."

Wu said that the court believed that Wen did not intend to damage Chiang's and Yu's reputations so the libel charge against him was dropped.

As for Ting, Wu explained that as a son-in-law of Wen, Ting could not avoid being chased by the press for quotes and sound bites for news coverage. What he did was interpret what he knew or what Wen told him. As a result, the court also believed that he did not have any intention to libel the plaintiffs, either.

Wang Ching-feng (王清峰), Chiang and Yu's lawyer, said that they would definitely appeal.

"The book was published with Wen's authorization and he said that he would be responsible for every word he said," said Wang. "How can he make up something to ruin people's reputations like this and not to be responsible for it?"

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