Children of 'China's Schindler' urge Taiwan to right injustice

Updated: 2013-12-02 11:35


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The children of Ho Feng Shan, known as '"China's Schindler", are calling on Taiwan authorities to throw out a 41-year-old embezzlement case against their father after a recent investigation by the "Control Yuan," a government watchdog agency, determined that Ho was not given a chance to defend himself against all the accusations.

"We challenge the Taiwan government to rectify this long-standing injustice against our father," said Ho's daughter, Ho Manli.

"By denying our father an opportunity to defend himself against these spurious accusations, the ministry of foreign affairs committed a procedural injustice, as did the "Control Yuan" in presuming that our father was guilty of embezzlement and impeaching him in 1975. Our father was never given due process, and his rights were violated. The entire case should have been thrown out."

The "Control Yuan" released its findings in October after a year-and-a-half investigation into how the "ministry of foreign affairs" had handled the accusations of embezzlement brought against Ho in 1972 by a subordinate, Sun Di-ching, when Ho was serving as "ambassador to Colombia." Sun accused Ho of mishandling miscellaneous embassy expenses of some $300.

Ho Manli and her brother, Ho Monto, a member of Taiwan's Academia Sinica, received the final report of "Control Yuan" on November 4,2013, ten days after it was released to the press.

In the same report, "Control Yuan" investigators Ma Shiow-ru and Li Bing-nan sustained the government watchdog agency's decision to impeach Ho in 1975.

"We ask how the 'Control Yuan' investigators can sustain an impeachment based on a case in which they themselves have determined did not follow due process," Ho Manli said.

The investigators said their decision was based largely on a letter written in January 30, 2000 to the then "minister of foreign affairs" by Ting Wei-tsu, who had served alongside Sun under Ho in Colombia. The letter was not released to the press, or included in the documents mailed to the Ho family.

"During the year and a half of their investigation, the 'Control Yuan' investigators never spoke to us even once, or they would have learned that Ting Wei-tsu was a disgruntled former subordinate who blamed our father when he failed to get a promotion, " Ho Manli said.

"Our father was held in the highest regard by every country he served in. Before his departure from Bogota, - where he is alleged to have embezzled and been derelict in his duties - the Colombian government awarded my father the Order of San Carlos medal for his success in promoting cultural, commercial and technical ties between Colombia and Taiwan," Ho Manli said.

While serving as consul general to Vienna, Austria, Ho Feng Shan saved thousands of Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis on the eve of World War II. In 2000, he was designated by the state of Israel as a Righteous Among the Nations.

"Our father was a man of principle and conscience; he was willing to risk his life and career to save lives. Does that sound like the type of person who would embezzle $300 dollars of miscellaneous embassy expenses?" Ho Manli asked.

"The ministry of foreign affairs would like to share in the worldwide recognition of our father for his humanitarian efforts in saving Jews," she said. "Yet, the government refuses to right a longstanding injustice against him. They cannot have both."