The seven men who gave us a tour of historical Tainan all had something in common besides their trademark black suits. All seven men are listed in a criminal complaint as fraud victims. Six of the seven were interrogated while the seventh was listed by prosecutors as a victim without even talking to police.
The seven alleged crime victims are all members of Taiwan Civil Government, an advocacy group that seeks to expel the exiled Republic of China from Taiwan. The men were supposedly duped by group leader Roger Lin with false claims about the benefits of their TCG identification cards. The men all scoff at such a notion and declare they are in a battle for the future of Taiwan and the fraud charge against group leaders is actually an attack on the organization.
Each of the seven men denied being victims or giving statements to interrogators that could be construed as victim statements. They remain loyal to the group and continue to donate money to the cause.
The “victims” took us on a tour of the Tainan TCG office where a language class was being held. How prosecutors Chu Li-hau, Hung Rui-shen, and Lin Sou-ye can tell the judge that the seven men were victims is a big question on the minds of the men. Under ROC criminal procedure the men can be named as victims without being called as witnesses so they likely will not get a chance to tell the court how prosecutors have made false representations about their statements to interrogators.
During a two-week tour of Taiwan and visits to TCG offices, the fact-finding team met and interviewed nearly two dozen purported victims who all tell the same story that the prosecution has falsely portrayed them to the court as victims. According to a TCG spokesperson, 170 alleged victims have made written submissions that their names were falsely presented in the criminal complaint.
Since the Republic of China in-exile lacks juries, it is critical what information is provided to the judge. A flawed justice system that rejects a jury trial for defendants, prosecutors who use fabricated victims, and a judge who has already imposed nearly five months of incommunicado pre-trial detention are a formula for a wrongful conviction. The political overtones of the case are obvious, yet the news media, in both Taiwan and the United States, ignore the larger implications of a seeming return to injustices of the White Terror era of ROC history.
President Tsai Ing-wen is a champion of the status quo, a keeper of the strategic ambiguity for Taiwan. However, while Tsai’s public image remains frozen, the actions taken under her administration against the Taiwan Civil Government leaders breach the status quo and turn back the clock on the ROC to its bad old days of imprisonment for political views.
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