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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Judicial System, Apec

VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1673 3360821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010821Z DEC 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0482
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8770
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0224

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001673

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: TAIWAN'S JUDICIAL SYSTEM, APEC

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
November 26 news coverage on the economic predicament of the world
and of Taiwan; and on the probe into former President Chen
Shui-bian's alleged corruption. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an op-ed in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" criticized the KMT administration for using the
judiciary as a political tool to beat down on the DPP members. The
article cited AIT Taipei Director Stephen Young's remarks in his
press conference held in mid November as saying that Young "barely"
concealed "his criticism of the way the case is being handled." An
op-ed in the pro-unification "United Daily News" discussed
cross-Strait relations and the APEC summit held in Lima, Peru,
lately and called on the Ma Ying-jeou administration to attach great
importance to balance among the KMT, the DPP, the Chinese Communist
Party and the United States. End summary.

2. Taiwan's Judicial System

"Using the Judiciary as a Political Tool"

Chin Heng-wei, editor-in-chief of Contemporary Monthly, opined in
the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] (11/25):

"Over the past few weeks, people have been shocked to see Taiwan's
judicial institutions playing fast and free with the law and the
Constitution. The legal bureaucrats' shoddy and shameful actions
have struck at the very foundation of democracy and the rule of law,
and the creaks and groans emanating from the rotten Judicial Yuan
seem to forebode the arrival of a new era of martial law. ... From
Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen and [Yunlin County
Magistrate] Su to Chen Shui-bian, a climate of political character
assassination is brewing. Is every prosecutor in Taiwan going to
sink into this mire? ...

"Speaking at a press conference following Chen Shui-bian's
detention, American Institute in Taiwan Director Stephen Young said
that the judicial process in Chen's case must be 'transparent, fair
and impartial' - repeating the phrase no less than three times, and
stressing that this was 'very important.' Barely concealing his
criticism of the way the case is being handled, Young said with a
hint of sarcasm: 'I know that Taiwan's legal system, just as
America's, views everyone as innocent until proven guilty" and
cautioned that "it is important to build confidence in the judicial
system and the criminal justice system.' Ma and his government have
already set Taiwan on the path toward the restoration of martial
law, and only the public can stop them. ..."

3. APEC

"Warning Signals from APEC: Ma Ying-jeou Should Attach Great
Importance to Balance among the Four Sides"

Jung Fu-tien, a veteran journalist and part-time assistant professor
at Yuan Ze University, opined in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" [circulation: 400,000] (11/26):

"The curtain for this year's APEC leaders' summit has fallen. This
is the first international activity that both sides of the Taiwan
Strait have attended on an equal footing since reconciliation across
the Taiwan Strait began. [Because of it,] Taiwan's visibility in
the international community has been greatly enhanced, but still,
mainland China has a strict framework set for Taiwan's international
participation. The ambiguity that the Ma Ying-jeou administration
has expected regarding this aspect has yet to emerge. The KMT
administration's reconciliatory policy across the Taiwan Strait is
doomed to face more severe challenges. ...

"Over the past six months, there has always been a blind spot in the
efforts of President Ma's national security team when pushing for
talks across the Taiwan Strait -- namely, they believe that U.S.
support is essential for [improving] cross-Strait relations and that
it is important to maintain balance among the United States, China
and Taiwan. But these people overlooked the factor of the DPP.
While Beijing insists that cross-Strait relations are relations
between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), cross-Strait
relations will no longer merely concern the balance among Taiwan,
the United States and China but balance among the four sides -- the
KMT, the CCP, the DPP and the United States. The clashes that
happened in Taipei during [China's Association for Relations across
the Taiwan Strait Chairman] Chen Yunlin's recent visit have
reflected this fact. ..."

YOUNG

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