Taiwan Political Prisoner Report Jan. 10, 2013. The former First Lady, Wu Shu-chen, sat across the table from me and looked me straight in the eye: “We absolutely did not take any dirty money whatsoever. All we got were legal campaign contributions. It is a typical situation in Taiwan. Many Taiwanese are longing for a country of their own, they know the Republic of China is not their country, it is an exiled regime. They are looking to a particular person who demonstrates their interest and that person would get a lot of support.”
“President Chen did not handle the donations, he never did that. I was the one who handled all the money from political contributions. Under Taiwan’s political contribution law there is not limit. I know in the United States there is a limit of a certain amount but not in Taiwan,” explained Wu.
“Chen was a lawyer for twenty years before he got into politics fulltime so he made a lot of money. I’m from a wealthy family. My father was a doctor and I got money from the family,” said Wu. “Even before Chen became President we were already in the practice of buying foreign bonds in the United States. The newspapers seem to indicate that after the election we suddenly had a lot of money so we were hiding it, but that is not the case. We have had money in the United States long before Chen was President.”
Wu and Chen worked as a team, Chen was the candidate while Wu handled the money, keeping Chen away from the donation process: “The campaign donations were a lot and each time a substantial amount was saved. Under Taiwan’s law if you participate in an election and get more than five percent of the vote, then each vote you got will be reimbursed. So in this kind of election, even if you lose you have a substantial amount reimbursed from the government. We accumulated quite a bit of money but it was saved for the coming elections because many people came to us to ask for support.”
Wu told a family secret explaining the accumulation of large sums of money: “President Chen did not do enough for Taiwan in his eight years because of a lack of experience and the Kuomintang old guards were still strong. He couldn’t really do a lot. Chen had been planning on getting into the election for 2012 to fight for Taiwan. So of course we needed a certain amount of money to prepare for the presidential election. Joking aside, Ma jailed a formidable contender,” said Wu.
“Indeed, the KMT is afraid that Chen Shui-bian will come back to the political arena to seek office. Of course he could not do it in 2008 because of the two term rule; however, in 2012 he could reenter again. I really believe the KMT came after my husband because he was young enough to run again.”
“Then there is the effort to destroy a reputation in public with the charges of corruption,” said Wu.
“I believe the KMT knew about Chen’s strong mindset on the importance of Taiwan independence and was afraid of his intention to enter the 2012 election with independence as a goal. This makes him an enemy of the KMT and the effort to come together with China. That is the prime reason why they go after him.”
Wu described the deterioration of Chen’s mental health: “In the past, even when the Red Shirts Army were making a lot of noise in Taiwan, difficult times, when he came back home he would always smile, give me a smile. He was still a man of strong spirit then. However, I have noticed after the election he was tired and lost his attention, Chen was very depressed. One reason is that Ma is so bad and so incompetent, how could this guy win reelection? I think from that point on he could not settle down. Besides, he has been in a very difficult situation.”
‘The election results were a big blow to his hopes for independence. It is sad for me that my husband is in such a situation,” said Wu.
“President Chen is Taiwanese and stands for the Taiwanese. If you want to compare Chen Shui-bian with Ma Ying-jeou, Ma is not really for the Taiwanese, for Taiwan’s interest. Ma is easier for both the United States and the People’s Republic of China to deal with because Ma quickly delivers up [surrenders] the interest of the Taiwanese.”
I asked Wu what message she would like to send to the American public: “The United States and the Taiwanese share the common values of democracy and human rights. The United States has the channels to know the truth but lacks the balance of view about the KMT. At the very least, the American Institute in Taiwan knows enough people that speak English to give a fair assessment about President Chen. The United States should have a fair mind.”
“I believe that the United States is doing Ma Ying-jeou a favor by going along with the case against Chen. Ma’s popularity is really low and he is trying to pump it up by declaring Chen Shui-bian is corrupt. I am disappointed in the U.S. government.”
I closed the interview by asking Wu about rumors Chen was going to form a new political party.
Wu answered: “In the condition he is in, he could not have started a new political party, or any organization of this sort. Chen is still very supportive of the Democratic Progressive Party and encourages the party to not waiver in dealing with China.”