Foreign media roundup already, as Maddog was busy while was sleeping. Many thanks, Tim. My wife had a spot of outpatient surgery yesterday, nothing serious, so we hit the sack early. Here’s how the international media is reporting it.

Bloomberg:

Wu is charged with defrauding the state by using false receipts to account for money spent from a special state budget, Chang Wen-cheng, Taipei High Court prosecutor’s office spokesman, said in Taipei. As a sitting president, Chen is immune from prosecution.

“Wu used other people’s receipts to collect about NT$14.8 million ($450,000) from the state,” Chang said. “Prosecutors have determined that President Chen is suspected of corruption and document forgery.”

Chen was questioned by prosecutors in August over allegations he falsified receipts to account for spending from the special budget, money he said was used to carry out secret diplomatic missions. Chen has denied any wrongdoing.

Chen’s former aides Ma Yung-cheng and Lin Teh-shun and his accountant Chen Chen-hui were also charged with falsifying documents, giving false testimony and using their positions of power to defraud the state, according to a press release issued by the prosecutor’s office.

William Foreman for the AP here:

The news sent thousands of anti-government protesters into the streets of the island’s capital, and the main opposition party said it would launch a new recall drive if Chen doesn’t resign by Monday.

Chang Wen-cheng of the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office - who announced that First Lady Wu Shu-chen and three aides were indicted on embezzlement, forgery and perjury charges - said there is a strong possibility that Chen will also be indicted after he leaves office.

Under Taiwanese law, a sitting president cannot be indicted other than on charges of sedition. Chen, who didn’t comment on the indictments, has said he would step down if there is evidence of wrongdoing.

If Chen quits with two years left in his second term, his outspoken and unpredictable vice president, Annette Lu, would likely take power. That could raise tensions with rival China, which reviles Lu and has called her “insane” and “scum of the nation.”

BBC has some viewpoints here. The first person is a hilariously stupid Blue, but after that the opinions are pretty good. Neil Ross reports here for the BBC (video). BBC has an article with no reporter’s name that goes into some detail:

During the four-month investigation, officials looked at six separate cases involving the use of the fund. They said the president’s explanation for two were verified, but three were questionable and one was described as pure fiction.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Taiwan High Court announced on Friday it was filing charges of embezzlement and forgery of documents against Wu Shu-chen.

“Prosecutors found that Wu and three other suspects jointly claimed 14.8m Taiwan dollars (US$448,484) with false receipts… between July 2002 and March 2006,” Chang Wen-cheng, of the prosecutor’s office, said.

The first lady has previously denied any wrongdoing.

“Evidence also showed Chen is suspected of graft and forgery… but since he is protected by constitution against criminal charges, he can only be prosecuted after he leaves office,” Mr Chang said.

The big issue is that the TSU says it will swing its vote to the recall side in the legislature. Early in Chen’s term the legislature changed the rules so that it is easier to recall the President (they’ve been after the President for six years). The TSU has comments in Chinese here. The TSU’s votes aren’t enough to swing the issue. The indictment comes as key mayoral elections are being held in Taipei and Kaohsiung.

As for me, I don’t have much to say yet. I am trying to adjust to living in this strange new Taiwan where First Lady Wu can be indicted but the killers of Lin Yi-hsiung’s family still walk free.

Enjoy your weekend.

UPDATE: Peking Duck has additional international media stuff.