A slow week, newswise, so bad that I was actually considering blogging on Li Ao’s perpetual self-promotion machine. Fortunately the dogs needed feeding and the urge soon passed.

One welcome development this week was the decision by the President and the First Lady to sue some KMT loudmouths over claims of corruption in the First Family:

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) formally filed a lawsuit yesterday against a Kuomintang legislator over claims that the couple had accepted a political contribution and commissions from a man convicted of corruption.

Attorney Ku Li-hsiung, who is representing Chen and Wu, said that the accusation was false and was an attack on the couple’s reputation. He said that Chen and Wu would be prepared to appear in court in necessary to clarify the matter.

Kuomintang Legislator Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) at a press conference Saturday accused Chen of accepting a contribution of NT$1 million from Liang Po-hsun (梁柏薰), and said Wu received NT$8.8 million in cash coupons from Sogo Department store as a commission on a transfer of operations deal.

Wu has spent thousands of New Taiwan dollars in cash coupons at the department store, Lee charged.

Such charges are constant around here, and for years I’ve been wishing that the President would sue in many of these cases. It is not good for Taiwan’s political climate that people are allowed to say whatever they like without putting forwarding evidence — the mere claim, for many, amounts to evidence. Here’s the “evidence”:

Lee maintained that he would provide evidence to prove his accusations in court, but said yesterday that a woman surnamed Huang saw Wu’s daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) and son-in-law Chao Chien-ming buying expensive bedding with cash coupons at a SOGO department store on October 29, 2002. Lee, however, did not produce any direct evidence to prove that the cash coupons were from the batch issued in the NT$8.8 million “commission.”

No connection to the First Lady, either. “A woman says she saw your daughter using expensive coupons, so you must be on the take.” Logic only a pan-Blue supporter could love. As Maddog reminds below, lets not forget Diane Lee and a case of mistaken identity that caused grave harm.

Why are these sensationalistic charges appearing now? Maddog notes in the comments on a recent set-up of a judge here by the tabloid rag Apple Daily:

Having said all that, I’ll believe there was an “affair” when there’s evidence. For now, it’s part of the same story as the “backwards” flag: an attempt to distract the public from Ma Ying-jeou’s slip’n’slide into the political abyss.

Lest we forget Diane Lee and Twu Shiing-jer!

The KMT hopes to make the public forget how bad Chen made Ma look in the recent Chen-Ma meeting. Whatever the particular impetus, the steady flow of vapor and vitriol directed at Chen deserves a slap back. Let’s hope for success for the President and First Lady, one that will induce a more rational and public oriented political discourse by one and all.

UPDATE: Echo notes in the comments:

IMO, diluting the impact of Bian-Ma Meeting might not be the reason Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) puts all his effort in for.

He is aiming himself at the upcoming election of Kaohsung Mayor, in which the competition is much tougher this year than ever. He is trying whatever he could to push himself under the spotlight, at all cost.

There are so many KMTers running for Kaohsiung mayor, I can’t keep track of ‘em!