|Ramsey Clark, third from left, with the green camp|
The campaign to see former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) released from jail on medical parole received a shot in the arm earlier this week with the arrival in Taiwan of former US attorney-general Ramsey Clark, who warned President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration that it risked being regarded as a “murderer” if it allowed Chen’s health to continue to deteriorate while in prison.
For months now, a small number of people within the pan-green camp have argued that Chen’s jail conditions are detrimental to his health, while others maintain that his incarceration for corruption is purely the result of political repression by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Here is not the place to debate the merits of those arguments. Suffice it to say that the complexity of the case, not to mention its future implications, requires minds both sober and fair.
Having failed to rally a sufficiently large segment of Taiwanese society to the cause, which until recently had allowed the administration to downplay the matter, some Chen supporters have turned to the US for help, a gambit that resulted in a visit by medical experts (who unsurprisingly determined that Chen’s condition was deteriorating) and a handful of impassioned — and sometimes hyperbolic — op-eds that went largely ignored.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.