Fri, Oct 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Majority backs medical parole for Chen: survey

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese Association for Pacific Ocean Development president You Ying-lung, center, discusses in Taipei yesterday the results of a survey on Taiwanese people’s attitude toward former president Chen Shui-bian’s continued incarceration.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

More than 60 percent of respondents in a poll support the idea of allowing former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to receive medical treatment at home and many find it unacceptable that the government refuses to grant him medical parole, the Taiwanese Association for Pacific Ocean Development said.

The group, which commissioned the poll on “Taiwanese people’s attitude toward Chen’s case,” said that the survey shows that 64 percent of respondents backed home medical treatment for Chen, against 23 percent who opposed the idea.

In addition, 59.7 percent of respondents did not approve of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s rejection of calls that Chen be granted medical parole as opposed to 20.6 percent who approved of Ma’s decision, association president You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said.

“Those who thought that Chen did not receive a fair judgement [41 percent] also outnumbered those who believed he did [32 percent],” he added.

Comparing the performance of the past and current presidents, 47 percent of respondents thought Chen did better than Ma, and 21 percent believed otherwise, the survey showed.

More people expressed their approval of Chen’s performance over his eight-year rule (47 percent) than those who said they were dissatisfied (38 percent).

However, more people disagreed with the idea that Chen’s case was a victim of political persecution, at 48 percent, than the 37 percent who agreed, and while 39 percent believed Ma was responsible in the trial of Chen’s case, 46 percent disagreed.

Meanwhile, 45 percent said that amnesty is the only way to solve the controversy about Chen’s case, but 42 percent disagreed.

In general, public opinion seems to show more sympathy toward Chen’s situation after he left office, instead of resentment or condemnation, You said.

About half of the respondents said the Democratic Progressive Party has been indifferent and overly passive about Chen’s situation, he added.

Political pundit Nan Fang Shuo (南方朔), who supports medical parole for Chen, said he found the poll upsetting, as it shows that there are still many who oppose leniency or amnesty for Chen.

There is a disturbing element in Chinese culture called “moral fascism,” or the tendency to discredit or denigrate people accused of a moral crime, Nang Fang Shuo said, adding that whoever speaks in favor of the accused are viewed as accomplices in crime.

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