Thursday, September 06, 2007

LA Protest at Federal Building in Westwood/A Letter to Fellow Americans

The State Department Independent States List. Taiwan is in the "Other" Category, claimed by the PRC and by "the authorities on Taiwan." Not even "the government of Taiwan."

This letter was posted to the Taiwan Focus List, as the author notified the list that Saturday there will be a protest at the Federal Building in Los Angeles, in Westwood.


A Letter From One of the Taiwan Supporters

I’m in an odd position when my Taiwanese friends often ask about their country’s situation. According to the United Nations, they’re not a country. In fact, diplomatically they don’t exist. That is, their nation of 23 million people—is not a nation.

So last week when the United States called Taiwan's planned referendum on joining the United Nations "perplexing," saying it adds “unnecessary tension” to regional relations, my friends were stunned. They asked me, as someone born and raised in the U.S., what I could tell them about my fellow countrymen that would make them understand their situation. Is there something about our culture that makes us unable to understand what’s happening to them? After all, they simply want to ask their own people if they want the government to petition the U.N. to let them join.

I’m always embarrassed when I’m confronted by their sincere confusion. They honestly wonder if there’s something they don’t understand—that their might be some principle behind our form of democracy and human rights that they don’t understand. Unlike Americans, these are a people that did not inherit a legacy of democracy. They literally had to fight for their rights. They fought against a brutal one-party police state under a “state of emergency” that lasted decades. They paid with citizens being “disappeared”, and opposition party supporters arrested and imprisoned without trial. They earned their right to vote.

So what could there be that justifies our government helping China to further isolate what is possibly the freest democracy in Asian?

The answer is that there is no justification. It’s as simple as that. The United States and the rest of the diplomatic community are afraid of incurring the full wrath of the PRC’s diplomatic arsenal, and I suspect many of the American corporate interests with business plans that promise big numbers in the growing China market.
Should Taiwan be in the U.N.? I know I can trust Americans to decide. But remember that Taiwan is the country where you don’t need a license to worship your faith. Taiwan is the country where you can vote for anyone you want. Taiwan is the country where the Internet isn’t monitored and filtered. It really is that simple.

I told my friends that if Americans only knew what was happening, they would support Taiwan. That is why I’ll be joining Taiwan supporters this weekend to help get the word out.



Anonymous said...

One of the worst tragedies in the modern era is the continuing denial of Taiwan on the international scene.

It's a shame that western countries, for all their rhetoric of democracy, capitalism, and the rule of law (which includes human rights), fail to aid Taiwan politically.

Instead, we pander to countries (China is not the only one by far) that embrace authoritarianism, repression and outright backwardsness in order to line our pockets.

Where is the courage to say wrong is wrong and stand up for what is right? Oh yeah, its been bought up by cheap toys covered in lead paint, it's been outshined by my inalienable right to cheap car fuel.

It gets me so angry sometimes...

Michael Turton said...

It's from Brian Williamson of LA, and I'm sure he won't mind. Go ahead!