Taiwanese prosecutors indicted former President Chen Shui-bian on graft charges today, a stunning blow for a man who rose to power in 2000 on promises to reform the island's corrupt political culture. Chen has been jailed since Nov. 12 on accusations of money laundering and other offenses, and he mounted a 16-day hunger strike. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Also indicted today were Chen's wife, son, and daughter-in-law, three of his former aides in the presidential office, and eight other associates and family members. Prosecutors say he took $9 million in bribes and embezzled more than $3 million from a special fund. The former president insisted that he was the victim of a political prosecution ordered by Ma Ying-jeou, who defeated Chen's successor in elections this year.