11 September 2009

I'm sorry to see...

that former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian has been sentenced to life in prison. From a security standpoint, it probably makes the whole region far more secure (if only because it is certain to please and placate China), and from all the evidence it does appear that he is an utter crook.

But at the same time Chen and Chen's administration was one of the first willing to lay out the plain truth of Taiwan's situation, and acknowledge that Taiwan is not part of China. I found so many of his little steps (all of which, admittedly, tweaked China far more than was sensible) kind of endearing. Also, he was willing to publicly criticize Chiang Kai-shek, and even remove pictures of him. Chiang Kai-shek was a fascist, and does not deserve the good reputation he has in many parts of the world (including the US), and I can also think of many American politicians who have undeservedly heroic reputations.

Chen is appealing, and many international organizations say that his trial wasn't entirely fair. I'm hoping that justice gets served, especially because it is a good sign to broadcast to the world that even ex-President's can be held accountable for breaking the law. But my soft spot for Chen will continue.

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