TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Democratic Progressive Party Secretary-General Chang Chun-hung was preparing to head for prison for misuse of funds over the weekend while former colleagues voiced their support for him Friday.
In the early years of the DPP after its founding in 1986, Chang served as the right-hand man to late party chairman Huang Hsin-chieh. The era was marked by the ending of Martial Law, the opening up of travel to China and many demonstrations to push for greater democratic freedoms.
Chang was sentenced to two years and seven months in prison for his alleged misuse of funds up to NT$100 million (US$3.2 million) from the company he chaired to buy real estate and invest in a variety of projects. He was scheduled to enter jail on Saturday, reports said. Chang already served time in prison once before, during the Martial Law era.
Three former DPP chairmen held a joint news conference Friday to voice their support for Chang. Yao Chia-wen, a former Examination Yuan president, Hsu Hsin-liang and Shih Ming-teh expressed their sympathy with his plight.
Hsu described Chang as a “romantic revolutionary” closer to him than a brother would have been. He also praised the former DPP secretary-general for his contributions to the development of Taiwan’s democracy.
Chang’s biggest mistake was to have left politics and to have gone into business, because revolutionaries might trust each other, but business partners were not revolutionary comrades in arms, Hsu reportedly said. He regretted the fact that Chang would still have to spend time in prison while nearing the age of 80.
Shih said he did not understand his former comrade’s legal problems and could not determine who was right or wrong, but he also praised Chang as a key player in the country’s democratization. People who spent time in jail all knew how tough the experience was, said Shih, who was locked up for decades as a political prisoner under Martial Law.
The former DPP chairman and activist mentioned Chang’s case as a lesson to politicians not to go into business.
Media commentator Hu Chung-hsin and author Chen Ruoxi also attended the news conference in support of Chang.