Fubon vs. TaiMed: A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 22, 2011
Summary: Comparing Fubon and TaiMed is like comparing apples and oranges. Fubon is a cold dish warmed over, The TaiMed corruption scandal on the other hand, is something completely new. It is hot off the grill, Its full nature has yet to be discovered. The DPP persists in equating the two. But its efforts to conflate the two have been in vain. The DPP has succeeded only in turning itself into a sheep in wolf's clothing. The DPP's smokescreen will only obscure the DPP's escape route. The spectacle of the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen destroying their own political party and their own reputations, is truly staggering.
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Comparing Fubon and TaiMed is like comparing apples and oranges. Fubon is a cold dish warmed over, The TaiMed corruption scandal on the other hand, is something completely new. It is hot off the grill, Its full nature has yet to be discovered. The DPP persists in equating the two. But its efforts to conflate the two have been in vain. The DPP has succeeded only in turning itself into a sheep in wolf's clothing.
The DPP has been trying to make something of the Fubon controversy. It is aggressively playing the "shark fin soup" card. Its goal is to draw attention away from the TaiMed corruption scandal. Its goal is to blacken Ma Ying-jeou's clean image, and to provide a safety hatch through which Tsai Ing-wen can escape the fire caused by her corruption.
But voters want the truth. The Green Camp's smokescreen is a means of sowing confusion. The Green Camp wants to create the impression that "They're both equally corrupt." The DPP's tactics are an admission of guilt. The methods they have adopted are an admission that they are attempting to dupe the voters. But the only result has been the destruction of social justice.
The merger between the Fubon Bank and the Bank of Taipei took place in 2002, during the Chen administration. The machinery of state, including the Executive Yuan, prosecutors, the Control Yuan, all went over the case with a fine tooth comb. They examined the case from the inside out, from top to bottom. They found nothing at all improper. Chen administration Minister of Finance Lin Chuan even heaped praise on it. He said the merger of the Fubon Bank with the Bank of Taipei was a successful example of "one plus one is greater than two."
So why is the Fubon case being dished up again, nearly a decade later, and being characterized as a huge scandal? Mainly because the DPP is finding it impossible to keep a lid on the TaiMed corruption scandal. The DPP has been caught off guard, and in desperation it is using the Fubon case as a smokescreen.
During last Saturday's election debate, Tsai Ing-wen personally accused Ma Ying-jeou of accepting 15 million dollars in campaign contributions from Fubon Bank in 2008. This touched off a firestorm of controversy. The very next day however, her accusations were proven to be completely mistaken. Fubon wanted to make a contribution. But Ma Ying-jeou turned it down, saying he was obligated to avoid conflicts of interest. Contrast this with Tsai Ing-wen's conduct in the TaiMed corruption scandal. Tsai personally approved the TaiMed project. She personally penned the relevant regulations, She personally made herself TaiMed board chairman. She personally established several family enterprises to invest in biotechnology, The Fubon and TaiMed cases are worlds apart. Tsai Ing-wen pointed the finger at the Fubon case. Instead she merely drew attention to her own wrongdoing in the TaiMed corruption scandal. Her handling of the matter was inept. She lost more than she gained.
The DPP's information was false, yet DPP spokesperons were overly eager to claim credit. They made the mistake of leveling slanderous accusations. They should have cut their losses. Instead, their feelings of humiliation made them apoplectic. So they dusted off a discredited old allegation regarding the Fubon case, and tried to ram it down the public's throat. Their methods merely revealed their impotence and lack of scruples.
The Green Camp demagogued non-issues such as Fubon Bank "campaign contributions," the shark fin soup banquet, and confidential documents. These were no different from the non-existent Chen Ying-chu "triad boss" incident. One. First, they attempted to smear Ma Ying-jeou by accusing him of accepting 300 million dollars in campaign contributions, including 15 million from Fubon Bank. This charge proved groundless. Two. They then accused Ma Ying-jeou of meeting with Chen Ying-chu, twice. How many times was he supposed to have met with Fubon? How many meals was he supposed to have eaten? They hurled all sorts of wild charges. Three. Eventually they learned that Chen Ying-chu was in fact a Green Camp sugar daddy. He was similar to Fubon Bank's Daniel Tsai. Wu Shu-cheng accepted at least 30 million dollars from him. She even praised him as the best candidate for finance minister, Now however, to attack Ma Ying-jeou, they are using him as a target.
If we compare and contrast Fubon case and the TaiMed case, we find the two are very different. One. The Fubon case has been subjected to repeated scrutiny. The TaiMed corruption scandal on the other hand, remains shrouded in mystery. It has never seen the light of day. Two. The merger between the Taipei Bank and the Fubon Bank underwent a public bid. The process was totally transparent, from start to finish. The purpose of the "highly confidential" documents was to prevent insider trading. Ma Ying-jeou had no family interests in the merger. By contrast, Tsai Ing-wen's "highly confidential" personal support for TaiMed enabled her to increase the value of Tsai family shares and make herself company chairman. Three. The benefits of the merger between the Fubon Bank and the Taipei Bank benefits are obvious, Every year it earns billons in revenue for the Taipei City Government. TaiMed by contrast, continues to bleed red ink. The government is stuck with the bill. Tsai Ing-wen meanwhile, personally benefits, to the tune of $20 million dollars.
TaiMed and Fubon reflect the difference in the Blue Camp and the Green Camp's way of handling things. One. The DPP relentlessly questions and denounces its opponents. It ignores questions it ought to answer. It never explains itself. It never offers any apologies. It even threatens critics, telling them "enough is enough." Two. The DPP takes cases it thoroughly investigated when it was in power, and rehashes and exploits them when it is in the opposition. Its smokescreen tactics demonstrate its contempt for voters. Does Tsai Ing-wen really think the public is incapable of discriminating between right and wrong? Three. The general election is only 20 days away. If Tsai Ing-wen were to offer a sincere apology, she might be able to clear up suspicions about the TaiMed corruption scandal. But the DPP insists on using the threadbare Fubon case to shift the focus of attention. Alas, it is merely confirming public suspicions regarding its guilt.
It matter not how adept the DPP might be at strategy. Democracy requires distinguishing between right and wrong. It requires calling a spade a spade, It requires honestly facing the public. The Green Camp alleges that the Blue Camp "planted misleading information" and "altered documents," Christina Liu did make honest mistakes for which she must assume political and legal responsibility. But the TaiMed corruption scandal involves dozens of cases of illegal conduct and malfeasance. Don't the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen owe citizens of the nation an honest accounting?
The DPP's smokescreen will only obscure the DPP's escape route. The spectacle of the DPP and Tsai Ing-wen destroying their own political party and their own reputations, is truly staggering.