Thursday, October 8, 2009

ROC Supreme Court Sentences Su Beng to 230 Days In Prison

On October 1, 2009, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China (ROC) Supreme Court sentenced Su Beng to 6 months and 50 days, or a total of 230 days in prison for his involvement in two incidents that occurred on April 26, 2005. Su Beng's assistant, Bin Hong was also sentenced with 6 months, plus 3 months, i.e. a total of 9 months- for her involvement in incidents that occurred on April 26 and May 3, 2005. Both Su Beng and Bin Hong must either serve out these sentences or pay a penalty of NT$1000/day for each day of the sentence, which means that Su Beng would have to pay NT$230,000, in lieu of serving the 230 days in prison, and Bin Hong would have to pay approximately NT$270,000. I first wrote about these charges here.

Su Beng told me that he was surprised to learn of the ROC Supreme Court judgment through reporters from the Liberty Times and Apple Daily newspapers, who had called him asking for his reaction to the judgment. I'm not sure, but this seems to imply that the media might be privy to court rulings before they are publicly released. The judicial system in Taiwan is quite complex and confusing, so I'm going to have to look into this.

How did all of this get started? What exactly happened on April 26?

On April 2, 2005, Su Beng and his associates "greeted" Chiang Pin-kun, then Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman, at the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport with protests. Chiang Pin-kun was returning from a trip to Beijing. Su Beng and his associates were protesting Chiang's visits to China, which they deemed as a betrayal of Taiwan's sovereignty.

Soon after Chiang’s return to Taiwan, there were rumors that Lien Chan, then KMT Chairman, would be going to Beijing on April 26. Su Beng’s assessment of this situation was that the Kuomintang was about to sellout Taiwan to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

On April 26, 2005, Lien Chan was to leave Taiwan for a trip to Beijing. Su Beng and members of the Taiwan Independence Association's (TIA) underground network (which consisted of 100 people in 70 Taiwan Independence Association vehicles) followed Lien Chan's motorcade, to the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport. Amongst the TIA members were several taxi drivers who made coordinated efforts to surround Lien’s motorcade so that a taxi carrying Su Beng could drive up along side Lien’s car, close enough so that Lien could read a piece of paper that Su Beng held out the window of the taxi. It read, “Don’t sellout Taiwan.” After following Lien Chan for 49.5 km on the highway, Su Beng and the TIA were able to stop Lien's vehicle for about 5 minutes. But Lien had some police escorts with him, so they stopped the Taiwan Independence Association from blockading Lien's vehicle. Even though the Taiwan Independence Association was not able to blockade Lien, they continued on to the airport.

Later on, Su Beng and members of the Taiwan Independence Association arrived at the airport. They were on the third floor of the airport when they saw some people dressed in black using bats to beat up some old Taiwanese men who were at the airport protesting Lien's visit to China. The people from the Taiwan Independence Association who were with Su Beng were not carrying any weapons with them, but they had some fireworks on them, so they set off the fireworks to scare away the men dressed in black. The police stopped the Taiwan Independence Association people, so then Su Beng and people from the TIA left through a side door.

The Taiwan Independence Association had tried to blockade Lien Chan on the highway en route to the airport, in hopes that if they could delay Lien by just half an hour, it would make international news, making a statement that Taiwan is not a part of China. Not only did the Taiwan Independence Association want to interrupt Lien Chan’s visit, but more importantly, they wanted to warn the Taiwanese people that Lien Chan, the KMT and CCP were all going to betray Taiwan.

I've talked to Su Beng about these charges. He simply said that the ROC law is not the law of Taiwan.

It seems that the one thing that you could say that Su Beng and Bin Hong are guilty of, is of loving Taiwan. Su Beng wonders, is it such a crime to love Taiwan?

Furthermore, the Republic of China's (ROC) Supreme Court judgment was announced on October 1, 2009, which is the 60th anniversary of the Peoples’ Republic of China. In doing so, Su Beng feels that the KMT has used this judgment as a tool to appease the Chinese Communist Party. He thinks that the Taiwanese people should know that the ROC does not represent the country of Taiwan, and Taiwan will survive only if Taiwan becomes independent.

The Taipei Times recently ran an article about the ROC Supreme Court's sentence of Su Beng.

NOTE: Before you read this article in the Taipei Times, I'd like to point out that in the photograph Su Beng is pictured waving the wooden cane he always walks with. He is not just "waving a stick" (that could be misconstrued as a weapon), as described in the photograph. To read the article click here.


Anonymous said...

"Taiwanese people should know that the ROC does not represent the country of Taiwan, and Taiwan will survive only if Taiwan becomes independent."
That's what I can keep (with a lower profile and more scientific, diplomatic language) saying,too.

Although I disagree with Su Beng that Taiwan's future lies in D.C. land and that the aboriginal people are wild beasts, I completely agree with him in the before mentioned point.

The justice system in the exile government of the ROC is a big mess, because in its structure it tries to combine German strict follow law system with American case and situation law, which ended in history into two world wars and in Taiwan up to whatever the judge decides situation.

I think Su Beng's case is worth an international protest. All what he maybe did was break some "traffic rules" which nobody follows anyway in Taiwan. In Osaka is a task force taking care of human right cases in Taiwan. I will post mail them today.

Patrick Cowsill said...

At the end of the day, what were the charges against Su Beng? I've always been curious about Lien Chan's visit to China and the legality of it too.

Manuel: "Although I disagree with Su Beng that Taiwan's future lies in D.C. land and that the aboriginal people are wild beasts..." I've also been concerned about the attitude of prominent pro-independence advocates when it comes to the treatment of out-groups. Do you have some sort of reference for the "wild beasts" statement.

Having said that, I think Su Beng has his country's best interests at heart. I see him as a patriot.

Su Beng's biographer said...

The Holo Taiwanese language is full of quirky, politically incorrect terms, including the term for aboriginal people, “huan lah”, which translates to mean uncivilized barbarians. This term originated back in the days in which there were some headhunting aborigine tribes in Taiwan. I would not say that today, Su Beng characterizes all aborigine people as uncivilized barbarians. In fact, he has recognized that people of several backgrounds including those of Hakka, aborigine or Chinese (i.e. born in China) descent, have supported and participated in the Taiwan independence movement.

The term, aborigine, which in Taiwanese sounds like “guan zhu bing” or “ren zhu min” in Mandarin Chinese(人住民 ) seems to have come into use after former President Lee Teng-hui used it.

As for Su Beng’s opinions on the U.S. and Taiwan, he does believe that Taiwan is located in an important position, and that it is strategically important to the U.S. I.e. Taiwan is in the U.S.’s strategic line of defense in the Asia Pacific region. There are certainly many differing opinions on this matter.

As for the sovereignty of Taiwan, and the Roger Lin case, Su Beng thinks that this is a tool which can be used to put the spotlight on Taiwan’s complex situation. Ultimately, he does not think that this the way to solve the question of Taiwan’s sovereignty, but that this decision lies in the hands of the people of Taiwan.

Su Beng's biographer said...

The charges against Su Beng are related to these 2 incidents that happened on April 26, 2005: 1) trying to obstruct Lien Chan on the highway en route to the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport 2) setting off fireworks in the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport.