Taiwan: Campaign Funds

Dark day for Taiwan…

Not because the Taiwanese baseball team lost against the Chinese team (by the way, how come? The Chinese team was qualified because it belongs to the country which organized the Olympic Games, but I never heard that it was a “top team”… Maybe the Taiwanese team was too confident?)

My point now is about the story concerning the former president of Taiwan: Chen Shui-bian.

The DPP’s motto was something like “fight against corruption”…

And what do we have now?

The former president apologized for the disgrace he has brought to the party by mismanaging campaign funds.


20 million of American dollars (or 30 according the sources) were wired to foreign accounts, using (at least?) the name of his son and his daughter in law.

During his press conference (same day that the news came out, letting the people know that the Swiss government asked explanations about a possible money laundering case – so he had no choice…), the former president acknowledged he did not declared according the law, his campaign funds he received between 1993 and 2004.

Sure, under campaign laws, candidates are required to report all campaign spending, but they were not required to report all political donations until the passage of the Political Contributions Act in 2004.

But anyway, I still do not understand.

Firstly, he said that it wasn’t him but his wife who wired the money.

Secondly, he said he didn’t know until early this year.

Thirdly, when he learnt it (by the way how did he learnt it? His wife told him during the breakfast “Oh by the way, honey, I wired a while ago your campaign funds?”), he decided to use the fund for Taiwan diplomacy…

Frankly speaking, do you think that it is easy to believe?

Beside, he accused the previous presidents and the actual one of doing the same in the past.

Prosecutors are now investigating this case. I do not think they will do the same about the former presidents and the actual one.

Anyway, even if the former KMT presidents and the actual one did the same, I have one question:

Is it a reason to do the same?

My answer is definitely, no.

But I have more questions:

1 – I don’t know the Taiwanese laws and regulations about this subject. But how come public campaign funds are in control by the candidate?

2 – How come the wife of the candidate has the signature of the bank account?

3 – How come the former president was not aware that the bank accounts were closed?

4 – If public donations for election are really the full property of the candidate, in that case, something is wrong about the law.

5 – How come the Swiss Taiwan Office needed one month to deliver to the Taiwanese authorities the request from the Swiss government?

What do you think?



10 Responses

  1. Too bad… They will never change.. Here too same thing… God only knows the solution…

  2. I am so disappointed. I always believed the man’s heart was in the right place. I am a firm believer in Taiwan independence, and even though Chen did not use the right approach, i always admired him for his pro-independence stand.

    He did a piss poor job running the country, but I put a lot of the blame on that with the KMT and the way they controlled the legislature.

    To now find out that he could well be as corrupt as everyone else is a big blow. How can we (Taiwan) have any hope of winning the battle against China, if our own politicians continue to screw the country.

  3. F. Varga,

    I have a different perspective on which is the weightier matter, the scandal with Chen or Tawain’s loss to China. Below is a communication I sent to some Taiwanese friends about these and other developments related to Taiwan.

    BTW, being a former colonizing power in Formosan (Taiwan), having shaped the makeup of the inhabitants on the Island significantly in the 17th Century, the Dutch struck back today and I am happy to report that they took revenge like a big brother, beating China 6-4 (Saturday).

    A Sad Day for Taiwan – 08/15/2008 Email to the FAPA Forum

    Today was a sad day for Taiwan.

    Not because Taiwan finally caved into China on the Panda diplomacy issue–allowing that poor excuse for a surviving species on the island for China’s own propaganda purposes.

    Not because for the first time in umpteen years Taiwan did not submit a petition to join the UN under any name at all.

    Not because this week the world learned that the Taiwanese’s beloved President Abian did not have enough control over his wife’s insecurity about money to keep her from packing away her husband’s campaign funds, to the tune of 1 billion NT$, in a Swiss bank account (with the Swiss only crying foul when the money was transferred to the Cayman Islands).

    Rather, the reason it is a sad day for Taiwan is that it lost its Olympic baseball game against China in the bottom of the ninth inning, 8-7. See the story below for what baseball means to the Taiwanese. This loss is much more sad that the other seemingly more significant unfortunate developments.

    It is like a very bad joke, a dark joke. The thought of victorious Chinese conjure up in my mind the Joker of the movie Dark Knight. Disgust and mourning seem appropriate.

    I can only hope that the Taiwanese are reminded of all that they have suffered from the Chinese. And I can only pray that they will put their grief and anger to work–working harder for Taiwanese identity and independence.

    To those Chinese Communist I say, “you may have achieved victory in Friday’s baseball game against all odds, but by the blood of the Formosans your KMT buddies murdered you will not win your ungodly war against freedom and self-determination for the people of Taiwan.”

    Tim Bradberry
    Pflugerville, TX

    More than a game for Taiwan
    By Kathrin Hille

    Published: August 15 2008 03:00 | Last updated: August 15 2008 03:00

    Fany Tsai is an agreeable woman. At her family’s printing shop she treats visitors to food, drink and friendly words.

    But when it comes to baseball, the petite housewife vents her fury. “No matter how far we get, we just cannot possibly lose against China,” she says as Taiwan’s baseball team faces China today in the Olympic competition. “After all, in baseball, Taiwan is somebody. And besides, the Chinese are the enemy, right?”

    Few events contain the political undertones present in this encounter between the nationalistic host and the island it is obsessed with calling its own.

    Baseball was brought to Taiwan by the Japanese, which ruled the island from 1895 to 1945. Besides building its modern infrastructure, such as an electricity grid and a rail network, the Japanese bequeathed cultural features that clearly distinguish Taiwan from China .

    The Taiwanese lack the hatred many Chinese still harbour against Japan, and the island’s art and design often show a Japanese influence. This heritage is clearest in a love for raw fish – and baseball.

    Hence baseball crystallises feelings of national pride and dignity. Using baseball to overcome a sense of deprivation predates Taiwan’s conflict with the mainland.

    “From the beginning, the role of sports in general and baseball in particular in Taiwan has been very different from, say, football in British society,” says Shieh Shih-yuan, a sports historian at the National Taiwan Museum of History. “In the UK, football developed because the industrial revolution created the working class. But baseball in Taiwan has always been linked to national pride and glory.”

    This link was created in 1931, when the Kano team, from the Agricultural College in Chiayi, travelled to Japan and stunned their hosts by coming second in the Koshien high school tournament, a rite of passage in Japanese baseball.

    That team consisted of Japanese, Taiwanese aboriginal and ethnically Chinese players. “We proved that we can play baseball just as well as the Japanese,” says Su Cheng-sheng, now 97 and a pitcher from that Kano team who recalls the game as the most glorious moment of his life. “On the field, everyone is equal.”

    This lesson is at the heart of Taiwan’s love affair with baseball. After the Kuomintang (KMT) party, then in power in China, replaced the Japanese as Taiwan’s rulers in 1945, the new authorities were reluctant to encourage baseball as they sought to make the island more Chinese.

    But as the KMT-controlled state, the Republic of China, lost ground internationally to the People’s Republic of China, the party rediscovered baseball to strengthen domestic morale.

    In 1968, a school team from the remote village of Hungyebeat a team from Japan, the country that had won the junior league world championships that year.

    The next year, Taiwan won the championships itself. Such baseball triumphs gave the Taiwanese something to cling to as they lost their seat in the United Nations and descended into international isolation.

    “For other countries that are strong in baseball, their own professional league may be more important than the Olympics,” says Chen Chin-feng, who plays for Taiwan’s La New Bears club, and is part of the Olympic team. “But this is an important moment to achieve something for our country.”

    Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

    “FT” and “Financial Times” are trademarks of the Financial Times. Privacy policy | Terms
    © Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2008.

  4. @ Selerines: Hi Shiva 🙂 Solution? Maybe people should stop to vote for corrupt people… A long journey always starts with a small step…

  5. @ skincarediyer: Seems that a lot have a hard “wake-up”…

    @Tim: Nice comment/post 🙂 Obviously, baseball game is not only a game here…

  6. Corruption, I am afraid, is deep in our human root, out of the greed!!! I am angry and ashame of the scandal. But so what? Proves again you simply cannot trust these politicians. That’s why we have the justice system, which is NOT perfect either because all systems are designed by human beings who are NOT perfect.
    So stop vote for corrupted guys??? Who should we vote for then??? A-bien is not running for any public position anymore, is he?? Nor would any of his family member.
    What i feel is more like Skincarediyer, I support DPP for the independence for Taiwan. Running a country is not as easy as it seems. Being totally honest would not do the job. Chen family has lost my support. DPP… I would probably give them a go. Nonetheless, I will never support KMT. That’s for sure.
    Clean politics? No way. Not in Taiwan, not in anywhere else in the human world.

  7. Even if I don’t have so much expectations about politicians, there are still countries with very few corruption and people who won’t accept bribes, including in Taiwan.
    So do not give up.
    What is not easy for me to understand is for example during an election, we have several candidates but people still vote for the one who has gang connections or even was convicted for criminal behavior.
    About DPP, I think a lot will leave this party. But after a while, I do believe that this party will stand up again.
    …If Taiwan did not become part of China before…

  8. Democracy is only a system that has been deployed here in Taiwan for less then 30 years. Many vote for what’s the best benefit for themselves. And what is better than the cash in your own hand? When the voters do briberies, how can one expect them not to vote for those who do during the election.
    In A-bien’s case, it’s NOT what he/his family did. It’s about the KMT and its supporter finally got the chance to kick his arse (if possible they would like to kick him to death) and maybe, if lucky, to demolish DPP’s power as an opponent. I would bet if there is anything similar happening in KMT, it would never be such a big deal, or not even a deal at all. They would cover up well for sure. That’s the difference.
    I am not so optimistic about the politics in Taiwan in a short term since taking care of oneself is more a popular motto than taking care of everyone (like in North European countries). If Taiwan become a part of China, I probably would prefer to move to the Philippines. At least I get the sun and the beach! Hahah

  9. Jo, I got your point and share main of it.
    Philippines? Yes, you will get sun and beach… plus the terrorists…
    I am preparing another post on the subject, so we can talk more later…

  10. hey, that’s is not fair to say about the Philippines.
    the terrorists are only active in some areas.
    And China has more of them, I can tell you.
    Looking forward to your next post.

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