Monday, February 2, 2009

[轉載] Political corruption in Taiwan: Trial and error ("審判"與錯誤)


先說一下,這個標題下得很有意思. 有時候就語文的角度來閱讀就有很大的樂趣了. Trial and error通常指的是嘗試錯誤,因為嘗試,而犯錯,再從錯誤中學習. 在這裡trial又正好是"審判"的英文, 一語相關(pun), 我個人因此覺得這標題下得很有意思.

以下原文. 這裡有中文翻譯.
Jan 22nd 2009 TAIPEI
From The Economist print edition
A former president and the judiciary are both in the dock

CHEN SHUI-BIAN, Taiwan’s president from 2000 to 2008, this week pleaded not guilty at a hearing marking the start of his trial on corruption charges. Mr Chen, who ruled on a confrontational platform of independence from China, looked tired and dispirited, but was as combative as ever. “There is no way I can accept these charges and insults,” he told judges, after arriving at a Taipei court in handcuffs. His supporters are trying to ensure it is not just Mr Chen’s probity but also the integrity of Taiwanese justice that are on trial.

In one case he is alleged to have influenced the government to buy land from a company that bribed his wife, Wu Shu-chen. The couple is also charged with embezzlement from special presidential accounts, with forgery and with laundering ill-gotten money through Switzerland.
Mr Chen, who might face a life sentence, insists he is innocent and faces what amounts to political persecution. This week prosecutors produced two new charges, of extortion and profiteering in connection with the land deal. Mr Chen accused them of making Taiwan’s president seem like a local bully or mafia boss: “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Mr Chen is very unpopular. And his case was dealt a blow later in the week when his son, daughter-in-law and brother-in-law all pleaded guilty to laundering large sums of money for the family.

Nevertheless, Mr Chen’s trial is a test for Taiwan’s two-decade-old democracy, which has already managed two peaceful transfers of power to the opposition. Many are heartened that corruption, long endemic in politics, is being attacked and that a former president can stand trial like a common citizen.

Critics, however, say recent judicial proceedings have been marred by sloppy improprieties, and, some allege, bias towards the Nationalist party, the Kuomintang or KMT, which took power last May under President Ma Ying-jeou. Mr Chen was imprisoned incommunicado for a month before he was charged, raising questions about the presumption of innocence. A panel of judges that released Mr Chen from prison without bail last month was mysteriously replaced by a new one that ordered his reimprisonment a fortnight later. Prosecutors had appealed and KMT politicians had complained, leading to suspicions of political interference. The same judges are presiding over his trial. (註: 看這裡用"marred"這個字也是很美啊,相對於用"damaged"言)

Bruce Jacobs, a Taiwan expert at Monash University in Australia, points out that recent corruption investigations have mainly been aimed at opposition politicians; prosecutors seem far less interested in investigating KMT figures. He also points to the “lack of discretion” in a remarkably tasteless recent incident: prosecutors involved in Mr Chen’s case performed a comic skit at a party at the justice ministry. To the glee of the audience, one is said to have mimicked the former president’s arrest by raising handcuffed hands above her head and shouting slogans. Shown on television, this outraged many.

Mr Ma’s spokesman denies any party-political bias among prosecutors, and insists the president respects judicial neutrality. But even it that is true, the judiciary’s lack of professionalism risks creating public cynicism about its independence, undermining both the drive against corruption and respect for the courts’ decisions.

Why Chen Shui-bian Will Not Get a Fair Trial in Taiwan.Monday February 02, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

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