Such Devotion, Such Betrayal
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 20, 2009
While in detention, Chen Shui-bian wrote "Taiwan's Crucifix." He has chosen to publish it on the eve of the Trial of the Century. Not surprisingly, he has denied every one of the prosecution's charges. It's bad enough that he refuses to take responsibility for his wrongdoing. In his book he launches into an unsparing and heartless tirade against his former comrades. Half of the Green Princes of the DPP are referred to by name and subjected to harsh criticism. This means that as the Green Camp enters the post-Chen era, the illusion of harmony has been totally shattered.
Chen's scandals have emitted a foul stench. But most leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party are biting their tongues. The overwhelming majority are unwilling to cast the first stone. When Chen was indicted, DPP leaders said they could not cut their ties with him, despite criticism they were turning a blind eye to right and wrong. Whether their decision was rooted in self-interest or camaraderie, the Democratic Progressive Party backed Chen to the bitter end. What did they receive in return? Chen struck first and cut his ties with them. In his book, "Taiwan's Crucifix," Ah-Bian blasts Frank Hsieh, Yu Shyi-kun, Tsai Ing-wen, and the DPP. He concludes, in short, that everyone is indebted to him.
Read what Ah-Bian wrote. Listen to his tone: "Nobody owes me, I owe everybody, I owe the Democratic Progressive Party, I owe Chairman Tsai, I didn't do enough, I didn't sacrifice enough!" Translation: "Everyone of you owes me! Tsai Ing-wen owes me. The entire DPP owes me! The DPP has failed to live up to the whole are to live up to my expectations! Whether Tsai Ing-wen accepts such claims, we don't know. But everyone knows Chen Shui-bian left the Democratic Progressive Party in a mess that Tsai Ing-wen must clean up. When Tsai Ing-wen was running over the island raising funds for the cash-strapped Democratic Progressive Party, the public learned that every one of Chen Shui-bian's overseas accounts contained hundreds of millions of dollars. One of these accounts even listed the Democratic Progressive Party as its dummy head. The loose change in any of these accounts would have immediately alleviated the financial pressure on the Democratic Progressive Party. But lo and behold, this money "belonged" to Chen Chih-chung! Consider the weight of the cross Tsai Ing-wen had to bear. Yet Ah-Bian maintains Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP owe him.
Ah-Bian also nursed grievances about Frank Hsieh's defeat in the presidential election. He blasted Hsieh for distancing himself from the legislative elections, the ruling administration, and the president. He said for Hsieh to "repudiate the past eight years was tantamount to repudiating himself." What Ah-Bian meant was that if Hsieh had embraced Chen Shui-bian, he might have won! Whether Frank Hsieh agrees with Chen's assessment, we don't know. But hit rewind and we will see the legislative elections being choreographed by Ah-Bian, in toto. Hsieh basically stood in the wings and played a supporting role. The main theme of that election campaign was Chen's "Join the UN Plebiscite." By the time that fiasco had drawn to a close, the Democratic Progressive Party held fewer than one-fourth of the seats in the legislature. Chen had thoroughly undermined Taipei/Washington relations. Hsieh didn't need to distance himself from Ah-Bian. Ah-Bian had already dragged Hsieh down with him! Ah-Bian's State Affairs Fund scandal erupted just as Hsieh began his presidential campaign. Chen Shui-bian may be reluctant to admit it, but political observers agree that Hsieh faced an uphill fight, and that Chen Shui-bian was the biggest albatross around Hsieh's neck. Why wouldn't Hsieh want to distance himself from Ah-Bian? He wanted to, but he couldn't!
Chen Shui-bian's intentions are clear. He has no intention of letting the leadership of the Democratic Progressive Party disown him. He is going to disown them first. He did not blast Annette Lu. He did not blast Su Tseng-chang. But he did blast Tsai Ing-wen, Frank Hsieh, and Yu Shyi-kun. He still hopes to influence the Democratic Progressive Party's future. Ah-Bian's strategy is transparent. He intends to use allegations of a miscarriage of justice to counter charges of corruption. He intends to use the Taiwan independence movement's dream of building a nation to hijack Deep Green followers. He intends to use Chen Faction DPP members to hijack the Democratic Progressive Party. He has hundreds of ways to attract media attention. By such means he intends to manipulate the future of the Green Camp. In doing so, he finds himself drifting farther and farther from Frank Hsieh and Tsai Ing-wen. Even under detention, he refused to ease up on them. That is hardly a coincidence.
As Chen's trial proceeds, his political tricks will multiply. From beginning to end, the DPP remained mum about Chen Shui-bian's corruption. It was categorically unwilling to disown him. But Chen Shui-bian has now turned on the Democratic Progressive Party. He wants his pound of flesh. He has seized the initiative, demanding that Democratic Progressive Party leaders cut their ties with him. In short, someone who has already quit the party, who is unable to explain his involvement in multiple scandals, still intends to hijack the DPP. He still intends to stir up trouble within the Democratic Progressive Party. This is what the Democratic Progressive Party has come to. If it continues to side with Chen, based on past loyalty, the public will only be able to shake its head in disbelief.