President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday expressed apprehension over the intervention of the judiciary in the upcoming presidential election as the presidential candidates of both the Democratic Progressive Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) fight allegations of corruption.
"It makes one worry that some judges, prosecutors and investigators attempt to interfere in the upcoming presidential election for political or election reasons," he said. "I wish it did not happen in Taiwan, but I'm afraid it's very difficult."
Chen made the remarks while receiving former East German prime minister Lothar de Maiziere at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.
Chen said de Maiziere shared his experience in dealing with transitional justice during a keynote speech in an international forum on Saturday. In the speech, De Maiziere said that 50 percent of the former communist regime's judges were considered unfit for their jobs and were relieved, Chen said.
Unfortunately, this did not happen in Taiwan, Chen said.
Regarding the unification of East and West Germany, Chen said the two countries did not deny each other's existence and were both members of the UN. China, on the other hand, has denied Taiwan's sovereignty and blocked its efforts to join international organizations like the UN and WHO.
De Maiziere attributed his government's successful handling of the assets held by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) to legislative majority, Chen said. With speedy legislation, de Maiziere's government managed to require that all political parties and their affiliated organizations put their assets under the trust of an independent commission formed by the prime minister.
In Taiwan, recovering the ill-gotten party assets -- estimated to be worth NT$55.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) held by the KMT -- is still a serious matter, Chen said.
As for joining international organizations, de Maiziere said that East and West Germany had a very "unique" relationship before unification and West Germany often extended gestures of goodwill toward its eastern counterpart.
In order to win international recognition, East Germany began by joining umbrella organizations under the UN and eventually became a UN member, de Maiziere said.
De Maiziere said the German media had filed extensive reports on Taiwan's UN bid and that many Germans sympathize with Taiwan's political situation.
He said he believed perseverance on Taiwan's part will eventually lead to success.
On the rise of China, Chen said that the country would like to see the rise come with the awakening of peace and democracy, rather than with hegemony and military threats.
"Democracy is Taiwan's best theater missile defense and a referendum is a direct and genuine form of democracy," Chen said. "Democracy can protect Taiwan and a referendum can defend Taiwan."
Comparing Beijing's oppression of Taiwan to being held at gunpoint, Chen said that China would like to seize Taiwan by the throat, force it not to breathe and wait for its death.
De Maiziere said he could not agree with Chen more that democracy is the best way to safeguard national security and world peace.
The democratic community would not sit idly by and let China bully Taiwan, he said.
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