Mon, Oct 13, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Fan Kuang-chun turns to cause of judicial reform

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Provincial Governor Fan Kuang-chun (范光群) became the Judicial Yuan's secretary-general on Oct. 7. His old position was filled by National Policy Adviser to the President Lin Kuang-hua (林光華) on Friday.

Former secretary-general Yang Jen-shou (楊仁壽) became a grand justice on Oct. 1 so Judicial Yuan President Weng Yueh-sheng (翁岳生) nominated Fan as the new secretary-general and submitted the proposal to the Presidential Office for President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) approval last month.

To take the secretary-general's post, Fan quit his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) membership the day he took the office.

"Justice should stay neutral, especially when it comes to politics. So I gave up my DPP membership," Fan said.

Fan's taking the post was not regarded as a smart move because a provincial governor enjoys more administrative authorization.

In addition, Fan is 64 years old this year, so it is almost impossible for him to be promoted again.

"President Weng has been working hard for judicial reform since 1999. I wanted to do something and contribute while I still can," he said.

Born in Hakka-dominated Hsinchu in 1939, Fan is the first Hakka secretary-general of the Judicial Yuan.

Fan began his close relationship with Chen and became one of the his favorites in 1998, when he was the head of Chen's "fan's club" and the chairman of the Taiwan Bar Association.

In a speech at a campaign dinner party, held by lawyers at Taipei's Grand Hyatt Hotel, for Chen, who was running for re-election as Taipei mayor, Fan praised Chen's work during his four-year term as mayor.

According to John Chen (陳傳岳), president of the Judicial Reform Foundation (民間司法改革基金會) and also Fan's college classmate, when Chen Shui-bian was considering nominees for minister of justice, Fan and current Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) were both candidates.

"Many people felt sorry for Fan since he did not make it eventually. But he became Judicial Yuan secretary-general anyway and still has a chance to devote himself to justice as he wished," John Chen said.

Fan earned a good reputation as an acting commissioner of Hualien County for a few months, after late Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) commissioner Chang Fu-hsing (張福興) died of lung cancer on May 18.

Hualien County Government Secretary-General Chung Wen-chin (鍾文欽) said that Fan is a person who is always friendly to others but disciplines himself with a high moral standard.

"Fan only needed to make sure that everything is on the right track during his three-month term as the acting commissioner in Hualien," Chung said.

"However, he did a lot more than what he was supposed to and tried very hard to understand the county as much as possible. That really meant something to us fellow county government staff," Chung said.

With Fan having been a DPP member and involved in politics for more than 30 years, the pan-blue camp's criticism that his appointment is the result of favoritism is not surprising.

Generally speaking, the Judicial Yuan post requires somebody who can "hit and go" and is very familiar with court affairs.

Fan has been away from the field since 1971, however, so it could be a great challenge for him as well.

Fan said these obstacles are not reason to fear.

"I am always geared up for all kinds of challenges. I am more than happy to contribute and help President Weng on judicial reform, which is no easy task," Fan said.

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