Monday, September 22, 2008

Chen Shui Bian's Next to Last Strategy

A classic in Chinese culture is the collection known as the 36 strategies. One of the 36 is the so-called battered flesh (苦肉计, 'kurouji') strategy. The famous example of this strategy can be found in the Romance of the Three Kingdom, in which the greatly outnumbered Wu forces needed to persuade the superior Wei forces to adopt a losing battle plan. They accomplished the goal by sending a pretend defector to the Wei camp. To make the defection look real, the Wu commander had the defector beaten in front of eye witnesses on some trumped up charges. When the defector arrived in the opposing camp, the Wei generals had already heard about his mistreatment at the hands of Wu commander and welcomed him into their confidence. Thus when he suggested a battle plan desired by the Wu camp, it was accepted without suspicion.

It appears that in Taiwan, Chen Shui Bian is heading toward a kurouji of his own. In his case, his wife, Mme Wu, is being set up to carry this off. To date, she has pled frail health as the reason she has turned down at least 17 summons to appear in court and testify on her own defense regarding the illicit transfer of funds to overseas bank accounts. According to Chen, the wheelchair bound Mme Wu has recently fainted more than once, whenever she faced the prospects of having to appear.

The Taiwan authorities are less than sympathetic and threatened to force her to appear. Chen claims that such a forced appearance would surely kill her and thus setting the stage for the ultimate kurouji. In order for her to avoid having to explain to the investigators how she was able to wire transfer more than USD 20 million to Swiss bank accounts without the knowledge of her husband, she may really have to kill herself, or have someone do it for her.

Committing suicide, real or otherwise, would solve a lot of problems for Chen. Her real role in the Chen family money laundering schemes would remain in the dark. Just as the fortuitous assasination attempt on his tummy on election eve worked to his advantage four years ago, a grief strickened Chen would win him public sympathy--again--and possibly take the pressure off the ongoing investigation.

If the kuruoji does not free Chen from the corruption charges, there is always the most preferred of the 36 strategies. That strategy (走为上计) would be for Chen to get the hell out of Taiwan under the cover of darkness.

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