Tue, Jul 05, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui indictment is inappropriate: groups

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Peter Wang, standing, and other pro-independence activists hold a press conference in Taipei yesterday to show their support for former president Lee Teng-hui, who was indicted last week on charges of embezzling state funds.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Pro-independence groups voiced support for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday, after Lee was indicted on charges of embezzling state funds on Friday, saying that even if the handling of state funds was inappropriate, Lee should be pardoned because of the historical circumstances.

There is no evidence to indicate that Lee embezzled state funds, but even if such evidence was produced, he should be pardoned because “Taiwanese presidents have been able to use state funds at their own discretion without regulations since the era of former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and -Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國),” former presidential adviser Huang Tien-lin (黃天麟) said at a joint press conference hosted by the Taiwan Republic Office.

“Presidents thereafter simply followed suit,” Huang said, adding that as the first ROC [Republic of China] president to be directly elected, Lee should be immune from prosecution and regulations on the use of state funds should not be retroactive.

The ROC is a government-in-exile and has always resorted to judicial prosecution as a tool to counter anyone considered a threat to the regime, said Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan.

“In 2000 [People First Party Chairman] James Soong (宋楚瑜) was prosecuted, followed by [former president] Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), and now it’s Lee Teng-hui,” he said.

The essence of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has not changed one bit, but it has certainly “improved” its approach, Healthy Taiwan Society president Kuo Cheng-deng (郭正典) said.

“In the past, the party resorted to assassinations to deal with political opponents, now, it uses the judicial system to lock them up,” he said.

Kuo lamented what he called a “double standard” in Taiwanese politics, saying that while Lee has been indicted for misusing state funds, the issue of KMT stolen assets remained unresolved.

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