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Global media react to medical parole for Chen Shui-bian

Global media react to medical parole for Chen Shui-bian

Media around the world have been quick to pick up on the news that the Ministry of Justice had finally granted a medical parole to former President Chen Shui-bian in order to let he receive medical attention in a home environment.

International wire services carried the story under similar headlines, with AFP reporting “Taiwan ex-leader Chen Shui-bian released from prison on parole” and noting that Chen was returning after more than six years behind bars. At the Associated Press, the headline read “Imprisoned Taiwanese ex-President Chen given medical parole,” with the story noting that Chen has been serving out a 20-year sentence for bribery in the Longtan land controversy.

Bloomberg led with the headline "Taiwan's Ex-President Given Parole from Prison to Seek Treatment”, saying that Chen was granted a medical parole due to various neurodegenerative diseases. The BBC noted "Taiwan ex-president Chen Shui-bian granted parole,” saying that the Ministry of Justice had granted Chen a one-month medical parole to help him recover from brain degeneration and other ailments.

In Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported "Disgraced former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian granted medical parole” and explained that Chen had been granted a medical parole. The paper noted that Taichung Prison will send medical personnel next month to check his condition, and if they find that his physical condition has been improved he will be returned to prison to serve out his sentence.

Other reporting on the medical parole story in Asian media came in the Inquirer newspaper in Manila and Singapore’s The Straits Times. In the US, the event brought wide coverage, as in the Star Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul, which carried the Associated Press story on Chen’s parole.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal delivered more in-depth reports on the granting of a medical parole, including the possible impact it may have on the island’s two major political parties. They noted that both the KMT and the DPP will be watching carefully to see the results of Chen’s parole from prison.

The WSJ quoted political experts in Taiwan as saying that the KMT’s defeat in local elections in November could have been a factor in the administration’s decision to grant the medical parole and as a way of appealing to various voting blocs across Taiwan.

Assistant Professor Steve Wang of Nanhua University reasoned that the KMT is hoping to present a new look for the public that will attract swing voters in the future.

Other observers are quoted as saying that Chen’s medical parole could stir up some internal factional strife in the opposition DPP.

New Zealand media mentioned that newly-installed Mayor Ko Wen-je is a trained physician who often visited Chen in prison and referred to Chen's medical treatment frequently during his mayoral campaign. In addition, they noted that former Vice President Annette Lu, who served two terms with Chen, held an 81-hour hunger strike last week to drum up more support for Chen’s medical parole.

Interest in the Chen case was also high in Japan, where the Sankei Shimbun reported that Taiwan's Ministry of Justice announced that Chen had been granted a medical parole. The paper touched on details of Chen’s conviction and sentencing as well as his recent struggle to gain approval from the government for the medical parole.

Japan’s Jiji Press also headlined the medical parole, noting that it had been approved because of Chen's deteriorating health condition. The Jiji Press noted that Chen will be recovering in his family home in Kaohsiung for a month and added that the parole might be extended if necessary.

Updated : 2021-09-21 04:31 GMT+08:00