MR HU GOES TO WASHINGTON: US Congress told KMT ‘persecuting’ members of DPP

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government has been persecuting members of the Democratic Progressive Party, a US congressional committee was told on Wednesday.

Testifying before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, author and lawyer Gordon Chang (章家敦) was asked for his thoughts on the imprisonment of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

An expert on China and Taiwan, Chang said he believed there were issues surrounding the “procedures” under which Chen was convicted.

“There needs to be a thorough review of the way that the current government — the Kuomintang [KMT] government — has been prosecuting and persecuting members of the DPP,” Chang said. “This is really a very bad story. The United States needs to pay attention. Freedom House has talked a lot about human rights in Taiwan and it is going to be a big story in Taiwan for the next two or three years.”

Robert Sutter of Georgetown University — another of those testifying before the committee — said: “Yes, there have been problems with the due process, but my God the charges against him that have been proven are very damning.”

“The fact that he is in jail seems to make a lot of sense to someone like me. This is big corruption,” Sutter said.

Chen, who has been detained since late 2008 before beginning a 17-and-a-half-year prison sentence on Dec. 2 last year for corruption during his time in office, has said that his prosecution is a vendetta carried out by the current administration in retaliation for his pro-independence stance during his tenure as president between 2000 and 2008.

Additional reporting by staff writer