Graduate student works to free father jailed in Taiwan

Daughter sees "a political witch hunt"

By: Hilary Parker
   More than two weeks have passed since Princeton graduate student Rosalyne Shieh’s father, Ching-Jyh Shieh, was arrested in Taiwan in what Ms. Shieh describes as "a political witch hunt."
   Formerly Taiwan’s National Science Council deputy minister, Mr. Shieh resigned from his position following his May 24 arrest in Tainan. In his letter of resignation, The Taipei Times reported, Mr. Hsieh maintained his innocence and explained his resignation was made so that the council could continue to function.
   At issue is a contract awarded for an engineering project at the Southern Taiwan Science Park, with prosecutors claiming that Mr. Shieh used his political power to secure the over $200 million contract for a friend, his daughter said. The prosecutor’s case was brought by a member of the Kuomintang Party, according to Ms. Shieh, the opposition party to the Democratic Progressive Party of her father and Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian.
   According to The China Post, Mr. Hsieh was formerly blacklisted by the Kuomintang party for his political views.
   "My father isn’t a politician," Ms. Shieh said, noting the deputy minister is an appointed position. "He’s really a scientist and an engineer."
   The day after her father was arrested, Ms. Shieh said, President Shui-bian’s son-in-law was arrested on charges of insider trading. While the case is unrelated to her father’s situation, she said, Ms. Shieh is concerned media attention will overshadow her father’s situation.
   "I’m worried it’ll get forgotten," she said. "The only pressure that can make a difference is pressure coming from outside the system in position in Taiwan. The presidential party has lost so much power that even the people who appointed him can’t help him."
   With the exception of communication through her father’s lawyer to her mother, Connie Shieh of Orange County, Calif., family members have had no contact with Mr. Shieh, according to his daughter. The last conversation her mother had with her father was on May 24, Ms. Shieh said, when he told her he was going to Tainan for questioning but would be back before evening as he’d done nothing wrong.
   While The Taipei Times reported that the Taiwan Public Construction Commission said it has found nothing illegal in the contract awarded and Mr. Shieh has not been formally charged, he is still being held without bail, Ms. Shieh said, and could potentially face a sentence of more than five years.
   "We’ve spoken to Amnesty International and they’ve turned it over to their London researchers," Ms. Shieh said.
   While her father came to the United States in the 1960s to attend the University of Michigan and eventually became a U.S. citizen, he had to resign his citizenship in 1995 when he returned to Taiwan to take the deputy minister post, Ms. Shieh said.
   In addition to contacting human-rights organizations, Ms. Shieh has worked with family and friends to establish a Web site,, to provide details on the case and resources for individuals interested in helping her father.
   "We’re just doing what we can from here to try to raise awareness in the States," Ms. Shieh said. "We feel really powerless."