Some quick observations on Taiwan.
Chen Shui-bian was found guilty of corruption yesterday and sentenced to LIFE in prison, as was his wife.
While the ruling comes as no surprise, the sentence seems a bit, how should I say, too harsh.
It is amazing when you consider the amount he was accused of stealing from the nation (about US$30 million) and that very few, or maybe none, nations would you have a former national leader given life in prison. Definitely, certain figures like Ferdinand Marcos (former Philippines leader, believed to have stolen billions from the state) or Mobutu Sese Seko (former Zaire, now Dem. Republic of Congo, leader, another billion-dollar plunderer) would have been excellent candidates to stand trial and receive life sentences. And let’s not forget the fact that he and his wife were fined a total amount of NT$500 million. I feel a little skeptical about if this sentence would actually be carried through and that maybe there’ll be a presidential pardon or a change of the sentence to house arrest. By doing so or at least keeping open the possibility of doing so, this would give the current administration a lot of leverage over the DPP who at the moment seem quite restrained. I would have expected there to be more outrage on their side.