On April 26, Representative Steve Chabot [R-OH] announced his intention to visit Chen Shui-bian at Taichung Prison. The Cincinnati congressman is a founder of the Taiwan Caucus and has followed Chen’s case closely. Representative Chabot is chairman of a House subcommittee on Asia and is making a fact-finding tour of South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan next week.
Chen Shui-bian is the former president of the Republic of China in-exile from 2000 to 2008. Detained shortly after leaving office, Chen is now imprisoned on a lengthy sentence for alleged corruption. Chen was convicted in a controversial, no-jury trial. Jeffery Koo, Jr., the chief witness against Chen, has now recanted his testimony that he bribed Chen.
“I believe that former President Chen Shui-bian has been incarcerated long enough,” Steve Chabot told theTaipei Times. “The humanitarian thing to do would be to let Chen go home. However many years he has left, he should be able to spend that time with his family.”
Chabot continued, “Keeping him in prison for a day longer is unnecessary, wrongheaded and inhumane. He should be returned home at this point.”
Representative Chabot has previously criticized the Chen prosecution which Chabot sees as political. Chabot calls Chen’s case the “criminalization of politics” which reflects poorly on Chen’s successor, Ma Ying-jeou. Chabot denounced Chen’s prosecution and imprisonment in an outburst at a committee meeting of the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee two years ago.
Chabot had requested information from the ROC government about the trial of Chen and was supplied with copies of the charges against Chen and the court judgments.
“I read them, I read the reports and they didn’t change my mind at all,” Chabot explained to the Taipei Times. Chabot has no doubt heard from some of the Taiwanese voices crying out that Chen Shui-bian is a political prisoner.
Two issues continue to dog Ma Ying-jeou’s administration. One was the controversial trial with a handpicked judge and recanted testimony. Two, the harsh and severe prison punishment imposed on Chen who was even denied a bed.
The prison conditions Chen Shui-bian has had to cope with, a tiny cell, no furniture, 24-hour lighting, have broken the former president. Chen was hospitalized in a locked psychiatric unit at Taipei Veterans Hospital for six months because of his severe depression and degenerating neurological condition. The transfer to Taichung Prison in an unannounced pre-dawn move earlier in the month was preceded by an attempted suicide hanging by Chen using a shirt and the bathroom door handle.
Prison officials deny that Chen Shui-bian attempted suicide when informed of the transfer but that is contradicted by Chen’s doctor at Veteran’s Hospital, Dr. Chou Yuan-hua. Also, two of Chen’s volunteer doctors traveled to Taichung Prison four days after the move and examined Chen. Dr. C. D. Kuo and Dr. Chen Shuen-sheng both found a 13 cm red scar on Chen’s neck. The two doctors also found that no medical care had been provided to Chen during his first four days in the prison.
Representative Chabot will attempt to visit Chen Shui-bian at Taichung Prison next Friday.
US Congressional Subcommittee on Asia chairman Steve Chabot is hoping to meet with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) late next week.
It will be the strongest show of US political support for Chen to date.
Chabot, a major backer of Taiwan in the US Congress, is scheduled to leave for Asia this weekend, visiting South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
He is trying to make arrangements to meet Chen next Friday.
“I believe that former president Chen Shui-bian has been incarcerated long enough,” said Chabot, a founding member of the Taiwan caucus.
“The humanitarian thing to do would be to let Chen go home,” he said. “However many years he has left, he should be able to spend that time with his family.”
Answering questions about Chen following a meeting of the Asia subcommittee on Thursday, Chabot said: “Keeping him in prison for a day longer is unnecessary, wrongheaded and inhumane.”
“He should be returned home at this point,” he said.
Chabot said the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had sent him copies of the charges against Chen and the court judgement in his case.
“I read them. I read the reports and they didn’t change my mind at all,” Chabot said.
“Chen has been incarcerated far too long,” he said. “As far as I am concerned, I think it amounts to the criminalization of politics.”
“I am not justifying or condoning what President Chen was accused of, but whatever he did he has been in jail far too long, especially when you consider his physical and mental condition at this time,” Chabot said. “The humanitarian thing to do is to allow him to go home and be with his family.”
“I would hope that Taiwan, being a humanitarian country, a good ally, a strong ally of the United States and generally doing the right thing, does the right thing in this case too,” he said.
The Congressman refused to say what action he would take if the Ma administration continues to refuse to grant Chen medical parole.
However, Chabot is deeply and emotionally committed to helping Chen and two political sources close to him said that he would not let the case drop and was prepared to take further action.
原以為只有德國才有如此奇怪的規定。後來查了一下歐洲有關國家的情況才發現他們對待小孩子的做法基本上大同小異。例如匈牙利立法規定：嚴格禁止教授幼兒園期間的孩子學習寫作、閱讀、計算等。幼兒園的教育是免費的。 （Ungarn： Es ist strengstens verboten in diesem Jahr den Kindern Schreiben, Lesen, Rechnen, usw. beizubringen. Die pädagogische Arbeit der Kindergärten ist kostenlos）.