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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

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Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Ma Ying-jeou indicted

Immediately announces he'll run for president

How ya like him now? Ma has been indicted on charges of "embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000)." Yes, he's innocent until proven guilty, but his 5 different versions of what happened with his "special allowance fund" says a lot about the case.

While he said he'd step down as the chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), their Central Standing Committee is reported to have just finished meeting and refused his resignation. They have also changed their own rules to allow him to run for president anyway. Nice, eh? Did Ma forget all that stuff he said about "rule of law" and "honesty" in his CNN interview?

Even the prosecutor is asking judges for leniency because "they said Ma had donated 15 million dollars to charity during the investigation." [As Michael Turton reminds readers below, the prosecutor is a friend of Ma's. Tsk, tsk!] Once again, if the money is stolen from public funds, it should be returned to the public. That's not too hard to understand, is it?

"Cover me!"
The international news coverage, as usual, leaves much to be desired.

The BBC, for instance, repeats the meme about Ma's "squeaky-clean image." As often happens, they also fail to include a byline on the article, and doesn't clearly identify the affiliation of an anonymous "spokesman" quoted within (though it appears to be a spokesman for the high court).

A Bloomberg article by James Peng and Chinmei Sung calls Ma's party the "Nationalist party," failing to include the eye-opening "Chinese" at the beginning of that name. It also repeats the usual memes promulgating China's perspectives about Taiwan. However, the article correctly included information about the KMT "alter[ing] its rules to allow Ma to run as the KMT's candidate."

Barely after the indictment was out, Channel NewsAsia pushed this quickly-melting meme: "Taiwan's opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou, seen as the front-runner for next year's presidential election..." "[S]een" by whom?

The local news is certainly no better. During a press conference Ma gave shortly after the indictment came out, people could be heard shouting, "Chairman Ma, jiayou!" (加油, an expression of encouragement). Only those present could tell for sure if those shouts came from the reporters themselves.

KMT secretary-general Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) recently said it would snow in June before Ma was indicted. I just heard the host of Talking Show (大話新聞) say that everybody had better buy their jackets now.

P.S.: Michael and Jason demonstrate their ability to type and post much quicker than me. Don't miss their takes on the topic.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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