【轉載】Taiwan: Chen move to quell scandal

Taiwan: Chen move to quell scandal
Wednesday, May 31, 2006; Posted: 9:56 p.m. EDT (01:56 GMT)

Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian has announced he is stepping back from running the island’s government, handing authority to the premier in the wake of scandals surrounding the president’s family.

Chen issued a written statement pledging he would give full authority to Premier Su Tseng-chang to control Taiwan’s Cabinet, and would no longer intervene in the affairs of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, including its political campaigns, the official Central News Agency reported late Wednesday.

The statement also said Chen and his family members promised to “conduct themselves according to the highest ethical standards and live up to the public’s expectations,” CNA reported.

Chen, who remains the country’s head of state and whose term ends in 2008, appeared to be limiting his role to handling foreign policy and issuing broad guidelines for government policies.

The move came amid rising calls in both the ruling DPP and the opposition for the president to take responsibility for a series of scandals embroiling his family and administration.

Police have arrested Chen’s son-in-law Chao Chien-min on suspicion he used insider information to profit on the purchases of shares in partly state-owned property company Taiwan Development Corp. (Full story)

That scandal followed opposition charges that Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-chen, received free vouchers from the management of an upscale Taipei department store, and may have played a role in its takeover by a businessman whose bid was less than that of at least one rival suitor.

(紐約時報)Taiwan President Cedes Some Powers to Premier

Published: June 1, 2006
Filed at 8:45 a.m. ET

Skip to next paragraph TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has ceded some powers to the premier in an attempt to deflect growing pressure from supporters and opponents alike to resign but media said on Thursday it was not enough.

Chen, whose approval rating has sunk to new lows after an insider trading scandal implicated his son-in-law, said late on Wednesday that Premier Su Tseng-chang would be wholly responsible for appointing cabinet ministers and setting government policy.

But Chen also said he would retain powers vested in him by the constitution.

Presidential office spokesman David Lee said Chen would still hold the diplomatic and military portfolios and have the say in ties with China, which claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan.

“The reason is, as you can see from news reporting, the scandal is unstoppable,” Lee said when asked why Chen yielded some powers.

“In this society, if there’s a scandal about a member of your family it’s a shame to the whole family.”

Chen’s most trusted aide, deputy chief of staff Ma Yung-chen, and a national security adviser quit on Thursday as part of the president’s pledge to be selfless, a presidential office statement said.

Taiwan stocks ended 0.38 percent higher in part because Chen’s announcement sparked hopes of better ties between Taiwan and China, while the news curbed Taiwan dollar losses.

But the media said Chen’s move was too little too late.

“Chen Shui-bian should voluntarily quit the party to give the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a new lease on life,” the United Daily News said in an editorial.

A China Times commentary said: “Becoming a mere figurehead cannot quell the people’s anger.

“The people had hoped that Chen would express regret, but he did not. The people had hoped that he would explain clearly what happened in those wrongdoings, but he did not,” it said.

About 50 aides of DPP lawmakers issued a statement saying they had lost confidence in and patience with Chen.

Opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou questioned whether Chen had amassed too much power and said he had yet to come clean.

“We ask him to be honest with the public and clarify exactly what the first family has done,” Ma told reporters.

Taiwan media said Chen’s announcement may mean Premier Su could be 100 percent his own man, leaving Chen as a lame duck with two years to go before his second four-year term ends in 2008. The constitution bars Chen from running for a third term.

The media speculated that Su was the front-runner to become the party’s standard bearer in the 2008 presidential elections.

An opposition plan to oust Chen in a parliamentary vote lacks the two-thirds majority needed to sack the president.

Chen’s son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, was detained last Thursday on suspicion of insider trading, the first time a member of Taiwan’s first family has been held on suspicion of breaking the law.

(芝加哥論壇報)Taiwan leader’s son-in-law detained over scandal

By Financial Times reporters
Taiwan leader’s son-in-law detained over scandal

By Financial Times reporters
星期四 五月 25 2006 01:40
The son-in-law of Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian was detained on Thursday morning after being questioned over alledged insider trading.

Chao Chien-min, a doctor married to Mr Chen’s daughter, was taken to custody after 15 hours of questioning by prosecutors and the Bureau of Investigation, Taipei prosecutor Lin Ban-liang said on Thursday. Mr Chao’s parents, brother and sister-in-law, who were also questioned, were freed.

It’s the first time that a member of the president’s family has been held over suspicions of financial fraud. Mr Chen’s cabinet has recently been hit by a string of corruption scandals that have sent his approval rating to new lows and fuelled public calls for his resignation.

The detaining of Mr Chao came just a day after Hsieh Ching-chih, vice-chairman of the National Science Council, became the island’s first cabinet member to be detained over corruption allegations.

The inquiry on Mr Chao and his family has revealed a web of nepotism and influence-peddling reaching beyond individual cases the administration has so far admitted.

Whether investigators and prosecutors will move seriously against one of the president’s relatives is being viewed as a key test of the administration’s willingness to deal with growing criticism of corruption.

The Bureau of Investigation, a cabinet-level agency in charge of severe financial crimes and corruption cases, said on Wednesday Mr Chao and four members of his family had been questioned over allegations that they made a windfall profit on shares in a state-owned company using their ties to the president.

Chien Shui-mien, Mr Chao’s mother, bought 5,100 shares in Taiwan Development Corporation, a struggling state-controlled property developer, for T$3.5 each from partly state-owned lender Chang Hwa Bank last year.

After Ms Chien purchased the shares, the only equities in her possession, a banking consortium including Chang Hwa extended a T$13.5bn ($422m) loan to TDC which secured its survival. The loan boosted TDC’s share price, which peaked at T$20 earlier this year.

Mr Chao has admitted he met TDC and Chang Hwa executives a few days before his mother bought the shares but he, and his family members, rejected the insider trading allegations.

The scandal has angered the public and politicians including Mr Chen’s Democratic Progressive party. “We must distance ourselves from this,” said Cheng Yun-peng, a DPP legislator. Another DPP politician, who asked not to be named, said: “These people are destroying our political future.”


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