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Buddhist master urges special treatment for jailed former president

2012/05/14 23:25:40

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Buddhist Master Hsing Yun urged President Ma Ying-jeou Monday to put jailed former President Chen Shui-bian under house arrest and allow former defector Lin Yi-fu to make humanitarian visit to Taiwan.

The founder of Foguangshan Monastery said the Republic of China is in bad need for unity at home and peace across the Taiwan Strait, and getting Chen out of jail and moving him to a private house where he could spend the rest of his life with his family would go a long way toward that goal.

In an article published by the Foguangshan monastery, Master Hsing Yun said Chen was thrown behind bars because he could not resist the "human temptation of greed." Still, Hsing Yun said he would urge Ma to give Chen a "special treatment."

Chen is serving a combined 17.5 jail term after being convicted of corruption. Recently he has requested hospital visits for poor health.

Lin's defection to mainland China in 1979 was a heinous crime back then, but cross-strait ties have changes so much that it is time to relinquish hostility and shelve controversy in pursuit of peace and friendly ties, said Hsing Yun.

"Why should (Taiwan) exclude Lin from grace and justice, making him unable to make a visit home to see his family members?" said Hsing Yun. Lin was now a senior vice president of the World Bank.

He said if the government can handle Chen and Lin's cases from a humanitarian standpoint, it will be a huge leniency toward them and will have "great significance" about social harmony and stability.

In response, a Presidential Office spokesman said the president "is not currently considering" granting an amnesty to Chen and if Lin ever returns to Taiwan, he will be "handled in accordance with law."

(By Hsia Nien-tzu, Kelven Huang and S.C. Chang)