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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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Chen's 119 letter to Ma

President Chen Shui-bian, under investigation along with most of the former first family for corruption and money laundering, has sent a letter to President Ma Ying-jeou asking him to lift the travel ban on his daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤). Taipei Times reports:
The move came after Chen Hsing-yu broke down in front of her father while visiting the former president last week....

The former president wrote: “If Chen Hsing-yu cannot go to the US, she might not be emotionally capable of dealing [with the situation],” [Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯)] said.

He added that Chen Shui-bian was worried his daughter might develop a mental disorder or try to commit suicide because of the travel restrictions.

When Chen Hsing-yu visited her father in the detention center on Friday, she reportedly cried to her father about not being able to go to the US as planned.

The former president asked Tsai to go to the Ministry of Justice to plead with Minister Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) to let Chen Hsing-yu go to the US on July 1 to register for school, as she has plans of leaving with her children to study and work in the US.
While I don't want to question former president Chen's motives, it seems to me this letter is grandstanding. It was the prosecutors who placed the ban on Chen Hsing-yu's travel when they charged her with perjury in relation to this case. I would suggest that any reversal of that decision by the Ministry of Justice, especially under pressure from President Ma, would be exactly the sort of overt political interference in the judicial system which the DPP has condemned repeatedly as being part of the problem in not only Chen's prosecution, but also in cases like Ma's cointinued appeals in his case against Hou:
Hou [Kuan-jen (侯寬仁)] was one of the prosecutors probing Ma’s handling of his special allowance funds when Ma was Taipei mayor, minister of justice, vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and other posts.

Ma accused Hou of inaccurately documenting his questioning of Wu Li-ju (吳麗洳), a Taipei City Government treasurer, about how Ma used his special mayoral fund.
There is ample cause to believe that the prosecutors in Chen's case are acting both inappropriately and vengefully. Still, I have to wonder just what is on Chen's mind, beyond possibly panicked concern for his daughter and maybe hopes of gaining political points against Ma.

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