Definitions

wu shu

Wu Shu-chen

Wu Shu-chen or Wu Shu-jen (Pinyin: Wú Shūzhēn; born July 11, 1953) is the wife of former President Chen Shui-bian of the Republic of China. She was born in Madou, Tainan County, to a wealthy doctor's family.

Marriage

Wu studied at Madou High School and later attended National Chung Hsing University. During this time, she became better acquainted with her high school classmate Chen Shui-bian, whom she would later marry.

On February 20, 1975, she married Chen Shui-bian in Taipei. Professor Weng YueSheng, Chen Shui-bian's academic advisor at the time, served as the marriage witness.

Alleged Accident

On November 18, 1985, while with her husband on a trip to thank supporters after he lost the Tainan County mayoral election, a scratch-built farm vehicle ran over her three times. The driver, Chang Jong Ts'ai (張榮財), was a laborer known to local people as a supporter of Chen. At the time of the incident, Chang was beaten by one of Chen's campaign staff. Due to the seriousness of the accident, Chang was also imprisoned for a month. Chen later dropped the charge against him and accepted Chang's apology. This incident left Wu paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.

Since Wu's ordeal, Chen and his supporters have often directly or indirectly referred to Chang as a hitman possibly hired by the Kuomintang to commit a political assassination, as occurred during the martial-law era against the KMT's opponents. Even today, there is some controversy as to who was responsible for the episode, if it was an accident or an intentional attack.

Member of the Legislature

In 1986, Chen Shui-bian was imprisoned because of a document in the Formosa Magazine, in which he libelled the Kuomintang. Wu Shu-chen represented her husband in the election into the Republic of China's Legislative Yuan. She was elected as the seventh of eight of the available seats. When Chen Shui-bian left prison, he became a special assistant to her.

Upon leaving the Legislative Yuan, she decided to not run for public office again, and instead, focus on the role of being a politician's wife.

Controversies as the First Lady

Compared with Taiwanese first ladies of the past, she is a much more controversial figure. Her image in turn negatively influences the way some Taiwanese people view Chen Shui-bian. Two of the notable reasons for the controversy are: insider trading (for which she received disciplinary correction from the Control Yuan), and a dispute over her stock rights with SOGO department store.

Scandals

Wu's son in law, Chao Chien-ming was taken into custody by the Taipei District Attorney on charges of insider trading and embezzlement. He remained in custody until charges were filed. Chen Shui-bian's daughter, the wife of Chao wrote to the then-President (her father) asking him to help free her husband. Chen maintained that he would not interfere with the investigation. However, there were allegations that President Chen restrained the police from acting immediately. Also, there were reports that evidence may have been moved to the President's residence, right before the police raided the Chao family's home in Taipei.

Other disputes have also arisen over her treatment of Mrs. Luo, the aid/ex-neighbor who pushes her wheelchair. It is alleged that Mrs. Luo took special allowances from the government budget, sent military officers on her personal errands and used her influence to make her husband a board member of a state-owned enterprise.

Indictment

On November 3, 2006, the Taipei District Attorney indicted Wu for allegedly falsifying records of expenditures from the president's national security account. In light of her indictment, the opposition Pan-Blue Coalition parties have renewed calls to impeach Chen, and the Taiwan Solidarity Union, a party that is often aligned with Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, has indicated that this time it will support the impeachment.

Wu is the first incumbent First Lady to face criminal charges in Republic of China history. The president is immune from all indictments and prosecutions while his term is effective. Chen, upon his term's (and presidential immunity's) expiry, was immediately put on restrictions of travel by prosecutors on May 20, 2008.

Post-First Lady

Campaign Finance Fraud

On August 14, 2008, Chen Shui-bian called an evening press conference to admit to misstating campaign expenses in previous elections (two bids each for mayor and president), and had campaign monies wired to overseas accounts. Chen alleges that the wiring of the money was done by his wife and unknown to him.

There is also an investigation launched by Swiss authorities over a Swiss bank account bearing Chen's daughter-in-law's name: roughly $31 million USD was wired to the account from Taiwan and was then forwarded again to an account in the Cayman Islands. Swiss and Taiwan authorities are cooperating in investigating whether or not there are instances of money laundering committed by members of the former first family. It is unknown whether or not the wiring of the Swiss accounts and the wiring of campaign money overseas by Mrs. Chen are related.

Chen announced the following day, on August 15, that both he and his wife will leave the Democratic Progressive Party for good.

Chen Shui-bian and Shu-jen, on August 15, resigned from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and apologized, thusly: “Today I have to say sorry to all of the DPP members and supporters. I let everyone down, caused you humiliation and failed to meet your expectations. My acts have caused irreparable damage to the party. I love the DPP deeply and am proud of being a DPP member. To express my deepest regrets to all DPP members and supporters, I announce my withdrawal from the DPP immediately. My wife Wu Shu-jen is also withdrawing from the party.” DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen also apologized to the public on behalf of the party: “In regard to Chen and his wife’s decision to withdraw from the party and his desire to shoulder responsibility for his actions as well as to undergo an investigation by the party’s anti-corruption committee, we respect his decision and accept it.” Taiwan prosecutors on August 16 interrogated Wu Shu-chen and asked to explain overseas money transactions. A Kuomintang (KMT) party member alleged that Chen's wife bought jewelry to launder money. Hung Hsiu-chu, KMT, charged that Chen's family opened 4 bank accounts in Switzerland, with total deposits of 32 million U.S. dollars, which Chen remitted through his daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching.

On August 17, Supreme Court Prosecutor's Office announced Taiwanese investigators took away boxes of documents, after search of Chen's home in Taipei City, his office, and in Tainan City, at the home of his wife's brother Wu Ching-mao. Chen was prohibited by prosecutors from leaving Taiwan. Chen has $ 21 million at overseas banks held in the name of family members. Shih Ming-teh, a former leader of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party accused Chen of laundering at least $ 85 million from an entrepreneur bidding for bank ownership in 2005. Coast Guard Administration spokesman Hsieh Ching-chin said: "We received the order from the special investigation unit around 9:20 pm last night saying former president Chen was barred from leaving the country." Chen's probe concerns NT $ 14.8 million (US $ 480,500) in special expenses from the government, while he was president, and his wife is on trial for corruption and document forgery. Prosecutors found at least NT $ 1.5 million had been spent on diamond rings and other luxury items for his wife.

Taiwanese judges, on September 19, 2008, denied prosecutors' plea to arrest Wu Shu-chen after she failed to appear in court for the 17th time citing ill health. Her attorney, Lee Sheng-hsiung stated: "According to the National Taiwan University Hospital it could be life- threatening for Wu to attend court. This is a grave situation so my client decided to respect the hospital's advice. Chiu Yi, KMT legislator said "the former family devalued the justice, they were the most shameless because Wu Shu-chen did not appear in the court for State Fund Affairs.

References

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