A member of the US Congress said on Wednesday that he considered the plight of former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to be a tragedy.
Addressing the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Representative Steve Chabot soundly condemned Chen’s treatment.
During a committee hearing into the threat of military and economic aggression from China, Chabot said: “I think the fact that the Taiwanese government has decided to move itself into the direction of the criminalization of politics is unfortunate.”
He added: “The previous president — president Chen Shui-bian — is still behind bars.”
“I think for an administration to come in and essentially jail the previous administration is a tragedy,” he said.
Chabot ended his statement — made during the question-and-answer period of the hearing — by saying that he thought the Ma administration should deal with Chen’s imprisonment “sooner rather than later.”
A Congressional staff member, who asked not to be quoted by name because he was not authorized to speak on this issue, said that he expected other members of the House to raise the Chen case.
He said sympathy for Chen was growing, following reports that he was in failing health and being held in a cell without a proper bed and without a table or chair.
The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) appealed directly to US President Barack Obama last week to help Chen get medical parole so that he could receive hospital treatment.
So far, the White House has not responded.
Chen is currently serving a 17-and-a-half year term on two concurrent sentences related to corruption charges.
The former president was recently diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome, significantly reduced blood flow and a prostate tumor.
He is only allowed 30 minutes of outdoor exercise each day.
FAPA official Coen Blaauw characterized Chabot’s remarks during the Congressional hearing as “dramatic.”
“Chabot has been a very strong supporter of Taiwan. He has met Chen several times,” Blaauw said.
“There is growing awareness and growing concern among members of the US Congress about Chen’s imprisonment,” he said.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up