(Washington, D.C. – June 4th 2013) -- In the evening of Sunday June 2nd, former President Chen Shui-bian reportedly tried to hang himself in Pei-teh Prison in Taichung. This is apparently the third or fourth time that the former President has attempted to take his own life.
The Formosan Association for Public Affairs – a Washington DC-based Taiwanese-American grassroots organization – expresses its deep concern about this further downturn in the former President’s health. According to FAPA, this serious deterioration is primarily due to the fact that the former President has received inadequate medical care since he was moved to Pei-teh Prison in Taichung on April 19th.
Until April 19th the former President was held at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital where he received treatment for his medical and psychiatric ailments from an expert team at TVGH, headed by a top psychiatrist, Dr. Chou Yuan-hwa.
However, at Pei-teh Prison, there is no medical team. Medical staff from surrounding hospitals are called in on a case-by-case basis. In fact, his medical records were not even transferred from TVGH to Pei-teh Prison. Reportedly, since April 19th, there have not been any treatment sessions to deal with his mental depression, just one weekly brief visit from a doctor at the Taichung Veterans General Hospital.
In addition, at TVGH, members of his volunteer medical team could visit him whenever needed. However, at Pei-teh Prison in Taichung they need to apply for permission to visit Chen through a legislator, and the legislator needs to accompany them on the visit. The volunteer medical team is also not allowed to write anything down during their visit, making it difficult for them to keep a record.
A number of key members of the US Congress, including Congressmen Steve Chabot (who traveled to Taiwan to visit Chen last month) and Robert Andrews, and Senators Sherrod Brown and Lisa Murkowski have urged the government of President Ma Ying-jeou to grant a medical parole that allows former President Chen to either go home and receive treatment there, or be transferred to a real hospital where specialized medical and psychiatric care is available. This was also the recommendation from the top psychiatric specialist at TVGH.
FAPA will continue to work with the US Congress and the Obama Administration to make it clear to the Taiwan authorities that continued imprisonment of former President Chen is severely damaging the international image of Taiwan as a free and democratic nation, and that release on medical parole is the only humanitarian and responsible solution.
多位美國國會議員，包括眾議員夏波（Steve Chabot）、安德魯斯（Robert Andrews），以及參議員布朗（Sherrod Brown）及穆考斯基（Lisa Murkowski）皆曾公開呼籲馬政府准予陳前總統保外就醫，接受居家治療，或是轉送至真正的醫院並由專業醫療團隊照護，而周元華醫師也表示這是最適當的做法。