Sunday saw President Chen Shui-bian (
Only the president and the first lady know whether they are innocent of the charges, but unless they reveal concrete evidence supporting the use of the "state affairs fund," then doubt will remain in the minds of even the most ardent pan-green supporters.
According to Chen, however, exposing the details of the fund's expenditure would endanger the life of Taiwanese agents and that is the reason he remains unwilling to say any more.
While Sunday's speech may have helped pan-green supporters understand the difficult position that Chen says he is in, it is clear that whatever he said would never be enough to placate his political foes. There are sections of the opposition that have been determined to oust Chen since day one of his presidency and now they have their best opportunity.
The current split in the pan-blue/red camp over the Taipei mayoral campaign and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (
If the opposition decides to initiate its third recall motion, this will present the biggest immediate threat to Chen. Even though the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) seems determined to stick with him, if the Taiwan Solidarity Union and just 12 DPP lawmakers decide to break ranks and side with the opposition, this would spell the end of his presidency.
Nevertheless, Chen's position is an extremely problematic one, as whatever choice he makes will do serious harm to the nation's democratic development and localization movement.
If he decides to stay on, survives the recall bid and carries on with his duties until the first lady's trial, he will probably scupper any hope the DPP have for next month's mayoral elections. In addition, we can look forward to several more months of political showboating and legislative deadlock, although the truth is that this would have been the case regardless of the prosecutor's findings.
In the long term, Chen's decision to hang on to office will hurt the DPP and possibly affect the party's candidate for the 2008 presidential election, as the pan-blues will exploit the situation to taint the DPP as a party that approves of corruption.
But stepping down before any trial would be akin to admitting his family's guilt. Chen would, to use his words, be committing "political suicide." He would also deal a huge victory to the pro-China camp, as it would be a surrender to the pan-blue media's war of attrition and their long-standing campaign to deal a fatal blow to both Chen and the localization movement.
On the other hand, stepping down would put the onus on the pan-blues to work with the new government, and if they refused to do so, then the public would once again see that the last six years of pan-blue obstructionism has had nothing to do with who was occupying the presidency.
It is 16 months until the next presidential election and tough times and tough decisions lie ahead. But, 16 months is a long time in politics and memories in Taiwan are unbelievably short.
How else could people believe that the pan-blue camp is the answer to Taiwan's corruption woes?
China has started to call Tibet “Xizang” instead of Tibet for several reasons. First, China wants to assert its sovereignty and legitimacy over Tibet, which it claims as an integral part of its territory and history. China argues that the term Xizang, which means “western Tsang” in Chinese, reflects the historical and administrative reality of the region, which was divided into U-Tsang, Amdo and Kham by the Tibetans themselves. China also contends that the term Tibet, which derives from the Mongolian word Tubet, is a foreign imposition that does not represent the diversity and complexity of the region. Second, China wants to
Taiwan has a very important decision to make in the upcoming presidential election. One party stands for protecting the integrity of Taiwanese self-rule, the other two main parties who stand a chance at winning both cater to China and, if elected, would risk locking Taiwan into a position of being annexed by China against the will of a vast majority of the population. Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, and the KMT all need a history lesson. Taiwan was never ceded to the Republic of China (ROC). The
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