Family cries foul after decision upheld

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Oct 31, 2013 - Page 4

The family of former diplomat Ho Feng-shan (何鳳山) deplored on Tuesday a Control Yuan decision to uphold his impeachment for alleged embezzlement.

“The world has recognized our late father as a beacon of conscience and integrity,” said Ho Manli (何曼禮), daughter of Ho Feng-shan. “It’s a disgrace that Taiwan continues to allow the slander of two disgruntled employees to smear his name.”

Responding to media inquiries via e-mail, Ho Manli, who lives in San Francisco, California, said she and her brother, Manto (何曼德), were “extremely disappointed” by the decision of two Control Yuan members to uphold the supervisory body’s 1975 impeachment ruling.

In January 1972, when Ho was serving as the Republic of China (ROC) ambassador to Colombia, a second secretary working at the embassy sent a 52-page report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleging that Ho Feng-shan had filed false receipts and embezzled public funds.

He was impeached in January 1975 and denied a pension. By that time, he had retired and was living in San Francisco.

His children have asked the Control Yuan to revisit the case, in the hope that it would revoke the impeachment.

Control Yuan members Li Bing-nan (李炳南) and Ma Shiow-ru (馬秀如) spent a year-and-a-half going through files and documents before deciding that the decision to impeach Ho was the correct one. Their finding was released in a report issued on Oct. 16.

Li said they were convinced by a letter produced by the ministry saying that Ho’s handling of funds had been “flawed.”

Despite supporting the Control Yuan’s 1975 decision, Ma and Li faulted the process that led to Ho’s impeachment.

In her e-mail to the Central News Agency, Ho Manli said the two Control Yuan members never contacted her or her brother during their investigation.

“For them to just assume that Ting had no reason to lie, without once checking with us for other possible explanations, smacks of the same lack of due process that was inflicted on our father,” she wrote.

“Ting Wei-tsu (丁慰慈) and my father’s accuser, Sun Di-ching (孫滌清), both served under my father in Colombia and were coconspirators in trying to bring down my father,” she said.

“My father was a strict and upstanding boss, intolerant of corruption and laziness,” she added. “Both these men harbored bitterness toward my father because he tried to get them transferred.”

Neither Ting nor Sun could be reached for comment.

Ho Feng-shan, who died in San Francisco in 1997 at the age of 96, became known as “China’s Schindler,” a reference to Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.

Ho Feng-shan took a personal risk to help save hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Jews facing Nazi persecution.

When serving ROC consul-general in Vienna in the late 1930s — when the ROC still included the Chinese mainland — Ho Feng-shan issued visas for Austrian Jews to make their way to safety in Shanghai, despite an order given by the ROC ambassador in Berlin.

Austria was annexed by Germany on March 12, 1938. Ho Feng-shan signed his 1,906th visa on Oct. 27, 1938 and continued to issue visas to Jews until he was ordered to return to the ROC in May 1940.