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Ex-president's indictment chosen top 2008 Taiwan news story

Ex-president's indictment chosen top 2008 Taiwan news story

Taipei, Dec.29 (CNA) The Dec. 12 indictment of former President Chen Shui-bian on corruption charges has been selected by Taiwan's news agency as the top news event in the country for 2008.
The Central News Agency annually selects the year's top domestic news events. For this year, the selection was based on events occurring up to Dec.12.
A colorful and controversial figure in Taiwan politics, Chen faces charges that he and his wife siphoned off special presidential funds for their personal use during his presidency from 2000 to May of this year and pocketed tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars in bribes.
Chen was Taiwan's first former president to face criminal prosecution. Prosecutors said they will ask the court to give him the harshest punishment because his crimes are major. Chen, a lawyer-turned-politician, has denied the charges, dismissing his prosecution as a political persecution. Second on the top 10 list is the return to power of the Kuomintang (KMT) following its landslide wins in both the Jan.12 legislative elections and the March 22 presidential election.
The presidential poll marked the second time Taiwan's electorate had put the opposition party in power in the country's history.
Other news events that made the top 10 list are as follows in order of importance: -- Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) resumed dialogue in mid-June after a nine-year hiatus.
During their two rounds of talks in the past few months, SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and ARATS President Chen Yunlin signed six agreements to pave the way for direct cross-strait transport and postal links.
In November, Chen headed a high-profile delegation to visit Taipei, making him the most senior People's Republic of China official ever to visit Taiwan. The second Chiang-Chen meeting in Taipei was politically significant, with both sides not denying each other and agreeing to expand exchanges.
-- Former President Chen, in addition to facing charges of embezzling public funds, made a public apology after admitting in August that his wife had wired a portion of surplus campaign contributions abroad. The Special Investigation Division under the Supreme Prosecutors Office launched probes into alleged money laundering by Chen and his family members and during the investigation, many former government officials, including Chiou I-jen and Yeh Sheng-mao, were taken into custody.
-- Since the May 20 inauguration of the KMT administration, Taiwan's stock index plunged from more than 9,200 points to far below the 10-year average of 6,560 and even continued its downward spiral toward a low of 4,000 points before rebounding to hover around 4,300 points.
-- Imports of toxic chemical melamine-tained milk powder and food ingredients from China prompted the Department of Health to order removal of all products containing those ingredients from local store shelves. Taiwan and China later forged an emergency reporting mechanism for food safety concerns and Chinese authorities offered an apology through its intermediary body over the incident and promised to help local victims seek compensation.
-- Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Siew were sworn in as the Republic of China's new president and vice president May 20. Ma called for speedy resumption of cross-strait talks based on the so-called "1992 consensus" and pursued a "diplomatic truce" to create a favorable climate for peaceful development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations.
-- The National Pension Act and the revised Labor Insurance Act cleared the legislative floor, paving the way for implementation of the national pension system in October 2008 and the new labor pension system Jan. 1, 2009.
-- The exposure in May of a diplomatic scandal in which US$29.8 million in diplomatic funds for establishing formal ties with Paupa New Guinea were siphoned off by middlemen Ching Chi Ju and Wu Shih-Tsai led to the resignation of then-Vice Premier Chiou I-jen and then-Foreign Minister James Huang. The key suspect, Jin, remained abroad and judicial authorities are still probing the case.
-- KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung headed a delegation to visit China in late May, during which he met with Communist Party of China General Secretary Hu Jintao, who doubles as Chinese president. It marked the first time that the heads of the ruling parties on both sides of the Taiwan Strait had met since the People's Republic of China was established in 1949.
(By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2021-07-28 11:40 GMT+08:00