Thursday, December 25, 2008

US Congress Letter on Taiwan

The Taipei Times reports that 14 US Congresspersons have written to President Bush to warn Ma on human rights...

Fourteen members of the US Congress have written to US President George W. Bush urging him not to forget Taiwan during his final days in office.

They want Bush to warn President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that he must respect Taiwan’s basic freedoms and civil rights as he tries to improve relations with China.

“We want to express our concern about recent developments in Taiwan,” the letter written by Republican Representative Scott Garrett said. “The latest events appear to signal a disturbing erosion of civil liberties and human rights in Taiwan.”
The text of the letter:


December 22, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As long-term friends of the people of Taiwan and of the Taiwanese Americans in our districts, we want to express our concern about recent developments in Taiwan. The latest events appear to signal a disturbing erosion of civil liberties and human rights in Taiwan. Amnesty International and Freedom House have issued statements in response to these events.

During Chinese envoy Mr. Chen Yunlin's visit in early November, several news outlets reported that police seized Republic of China flags from anyone waving them along routes traveled by Mr. Chen, while his supporters were permitted to wave the red flag of the People's Republic of China. Other reports include a motorcyclist stopped by police because his scooter was decorated with Tibetan flags and people being detained by police for wearing T-shirts bearing ‘objectionable' slogans like "Taiwan is my country." A music store was allegedly ordered to shut down its sound system because it was playing Taiwanese folk music. Numerous websites and online journals have also documented photo and video evidence of police mistreating those who expressed an opposing viewpoint during Chen Yunlin's visit.

Even more troubling, news reports have also indicated that more than a half-dozen members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been interrogated, arrested and detained by police.

For example, former President Chen Shui-Bian was handcuffed, arrested, and jailed despite the fact that he has not been even been formally charged or indicted. Many believe the allegations against the former President and against other officials of his party are politically motivated.

We believe that a cordial cross-Strait relationship is conducive to the security and stability in the region. However, the advancement of that relationship should not come at the expense of the civil liberties and human rights of the Taiwanese people.

Section 2(c) of the Taiwan Relations Act reminds us that "The preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan are hereby reaffirmed as objectives of the United States." With this in mind, we hope that you will keep a close eye on these developments and urge the Ma Yin-jeou government to respect the basic freedoms and civil rights that Taiwan's people have fought so diligently to achieve over the last half century.


Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Michelle Bachman (R-MN), John Culberson (R-TX), John Duncan (R-TN), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Dennis Moore (D-KS), Sue Myrick (R-NC), Peter Roskam (R-IL), John Sullivan (R-OK), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).


It's a good letter, but addressed to the wrong person: it should be going to the KMT Central Standing Committee, Chairman Wu Po-hsiung, Hon. Chairman Lien Chan, and Su Chi, head of the NSC. Those are the people who are actually running the show....

9 Republicans, 3 Democrats. Get on the ball, Dems.


Patrick Cowsill said...

If Bush wants to shore up his legacy (ha ha!), he might actually say something here. Then again, how many people in the US or Obama's government will even notice?

BTW, I heard on the radio last Sunday night that a protester at Cheng Keng University or 成功大學 in Tainan (isn't that your school) had his Taiwan flag confiscated. I wonder what happens to a Taiwanese cop that refuses to act when ordered to do something that contradicts Taiwan's constitution.

Taiwan John said...

You say that it's a good letter, but it is extremely one-sided. To anyone reading it, who was not conversant with the situation in Taiwan, it would paint a very black and white, and somewhat simplistic, picture of the events described. It is designed to advocate, not to argue.

Dixteel said...

hmm...i think the letter is quite well else can you write it?

In any case it's good that at least a few politicians in the US paid some attention to Taiwan and human rights instead of just thinking finally they can just let China swallow Taiwan and get rid of a burden so they can focus on...i don't know, whatever they are focusing on.