Is TaiMed Really Not a Corruption Scandal?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 20, 2011
Summary: Tsai Ing-wen claims that the TaiMed corruption scandal is neither scandalous nor illegal. Her two claims are debatable. Whether the TaiMed corruption scandal is a scandalous or illegal is not something she can decide by herself. Is the TaiMed corruption scandal scandalous? Perhaps that is matter of opinion. Is the TaiMed corruption scandal an actionable criminal case? The Special Investigation Unit has yet to provide an answer. But politicians who adopt such ridiculous and arrogant postures regarding their own actions, truly are a blight on democracy.
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Tsai Ing-wen claims that the TaiMed corruption scandal is neither scandalous nor illegal. Her two claims are debatable. Whether the TaiMed corruption scandal is a scandalous or illegal is not something she can decide by herself.
If the TaiMed corruption scandal involved violations of the law, it will become a criminal case. But even if it did not involve illegal acts, it could still be a scandal. According to the Ministry of Education Mandarin Dictionary, a scandal is an incident involving malfeasance or impropriety. Therefore the TaiMed corruption scandal is unquestionably scandalous. Whether it is an actionable criminal case remains to be seen, since it is still pending investigation.
Let us examine the facts of the TaiMed corruption scandal. When Tsai Ing-wen was vice premier, she personally authored the Biotech Drug Industry Regulations. Then, taking advantage of this ordinance, she personally issued a grant to TaiMed, aka Yu Chang, through the National Development Fund. Later, she invested Tsai family money in TaiMed, and served as its board chairman. Then, exploiting these same regulations, she founded the TaiMao Biotech Venture Capital Company. She sought one billion dollars from the National Development Fund, of which 875 million dollars was granted. The question we must now ask ourselves is whether this is merely a corruption scandal, or a criminal case?
First, assume for the sake of argument, that the TaiMed corruption scandal is not a criminal case. A vice premier wrote, directed, and acted in her own one woman self-enrichment show. She even involved David Ho and Ho Mei-yueh, and got them to use the machinery of state to bury the Nan Hua project. Does this not constitute a case of "malfeasance or impropriety?" Would this not be considered a "corruption scandal?"
Such appalling "malfeasance and improprieties" could take place within this "honorable" cabinet, Yet Tsai Ing-wen had the temerity to insist that the TaiMed corruption scandal was not scandalous. If she can get away with this, then from this day forward, any poliitical appointee can propose a Bill, then use the National Development Fund to set up a company, He or she can bypass audit procedures. His or her family members can invest their money. He or she can appoint himself company chairman. He or she can create a "venture capital company" and apply for a one billion dollar subsidy. As long as he or she frames her actions in euphemistic terms, then anything is legal. The entire nation's civil service can do the same. Can we really say the TaiMed corruption scandal is not scandalous?
Now let us ask whether the TaiMed corruption scandal should also be considered a criminal case. In other words, did it also involve illegal actitivity? The law most relevant to the TaiMed corruption scandal is the Biotech Drug Industry Regulations. But this "special law" is something Tsai Ing-wen pubicly acknowledges "personally authoring." She was personally responsible for the lack of revolving door restrictions, of restrictions against conflicts of interest, for its tax-free status, and for setting up a one billion dollar "biotech venture capital" clause. She complied with every one of these "special law" requirements. Under the circumstances, what good would it do to talk about legal violations? What would be the point? Clearly this was a law custom designed according to Tsai Ing-wen's specifications. Everything that would normally be considered illegal was predefined as "legal."
Many say Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as vice premier on May 21, 2007. They insist this dividing line absolves her of political and legal responsibility. This is indeed the "legal date." This is the date that would make her actions legal. Unfortunately it is not the "actual date." It is not the date that applies to her case in the real world. Tsai Ing-wen played a leading role in TaiMed, from beginning to end. On this point, no one has any doubts. The Nan Hua project was already two years old. It was on the verge of being approved. It was at this moment that Tsai Ing-wen suddenly and single-handedly promoted her Biotech Drug Industry Regulations. It was at this moment that she single-handedly established TaiMed, Does anyone actually believe that Tsai Ing-wen did not know that TaiMed would swallow up Nan Hua? That it would "hijack" it? Tsai retired on May 21. On July 6, Tsai met with Stephen Young. She publicly acknowledged that she had personally become involved the biotech drug industry, In August she sent a letter to the National Development Fund, seeking forty million dollars in start-up capital. How many days of gestation and run-in were required before the date shown on the documents? That is the gap between the "legal date" and "actual date." Tsai Ing-wen may not have imagined that she would step down on May 21, 2007. But she was making post-retirement arrangements for herself even when she was still in office. Could it be the retirement date was the date of her premiere? Could it be the script was already written? Otherwise how could events have worked out so well, without a single hitch?
At the heart of the dispute is Tsai Ing-wen's personal approval of TaiMed, TaiMed received 40 milion dollars in start-up capital from the National Development Fund, only three months after stepping down. Tsai Ing-wen was chairman of Yu Chang. Did she really not know that the "Yu Chang" company she headed was the very same company she personally approved -- TaiMed?
Whether the TaiMed corruption scandal becomes a criminal case depends on the legal evidence. Whether the TaiMed corruption scandal is considered a scandal will depend on whether one has a conscience and a sense of right and wrong. Is it a criminal case? Or is it "merely" a scandal? Tsai Ing-wen has failed to provide a satisfactory response to either possibility. Instead, she has the temerity to claim that all the attention is "killing the biotechnology industry," that the current administration is engaging in "political assassination." She is calling the pending investigation of her "a blight on democracy," She and her accomplices even hope to incite "Taiwanese outrage" and precipate an "ethnic" struggle over reunification vs. independence. The sole purpose of their insane demagoguery is merely to shift public attention awat from the facts around her legal gullt or innocence.
Is the TaiMed corruption scandal scandalous? Perhaps that is matter of opinion. Is the TaiMed corruption scandal an actionable criminal case? The Special Investigation Unit has yet to provide an answer. But politicians who adopt such ridiculous and arrogant postures regarding their own actions, truly are a blight on democracy.