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Overseas Taiwanese organizations express concern about backsliding of democracy in Taiwan

(Washington, D.C. – November 8th 2013) -- The undersigned overseas Taiwanese organizations hereby express our deep concern about recent developments in Taiwan.  First, we wish to emphasize our roots in Taiwan, the land of our birth.  We do live in Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America and the United States, but we feel strongly about our homeland.  Many of us worked hard to help Taiwan make the transition to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s.

Especially since Taiwan made such major progress towards a fully democratic system during the past 25 years, it is regrettable that the current administration of President Ma Ying-jeou has eroded Taiwan’s democracy and freedoms with his pro-China policies. On the surface these policies may appear to bring about a reduction of tension, but in reality they are setting Taiwan up for a larger conflict when China’s repressive designs for “unification” collide with the reality of Taiwan’s democracy.

While this backsliding of freedom, democracy and human rights has been going on since the beginning of the Ma administration, we are particularly incensed about recent moves by the Ma government that show a distinct lack of  respect for democracy, and a fundamental breach of the basic principles of separation of powers and checks and balances in a democracy.

These basic principles are enshrined in the current (ROC) Constitution in Taiwan.  While we strongly believe that the Constitution needs to be amended to reflect the new reality that Taiwan is now a free, democratic and independent country, it is essential that the government abides by the Constitution that is presently in force.  The actions of President Ma and his administration in attempting to remove Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng clearly violated those principles.

In addition, the extensive abuse of power and the rampant wiretapping by the Special Investigation Division of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office also constitute a violation of the Constitution, in particular Article 12, which guarantees the individual’s freedom of privacy of correspondence.

It is time for the Ma government to listen to the Taiwanese people, and to move towards policies and decisions that reflect the views of ordinary people, the men and women in the street. In particular this means:

  1. An end to the extraordinary powers vested in the Special Investigation Division of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.  The Legislative Yuan    should immediately pass legislation abolishing the SID,
  2. Taiwan needs judicial reform, completely removing political influence from the judiciary.  The judicial branch needs to be completely independent from both the executive and legislative branch of government, so Taiwan can enjoy clear separation of powers, and
  3. Taiwan needs legislative reform so that legislators can truly represent their constituencies, and the legislature becomes an effective and efficient part of the system of governance.  The legislative process needs to become a true give-and-take of political negotiations; all political opinions are shown respect and decisions are made on the basis of rational discussion.

As overseas Taiwanese we also fully endorse the joint statement issued by the 29 international scholars and writers, who expressed their concerns in a statement titled "Human rights, democracy threatened", published in the Taipei Times on October 14th 2013 and in Hanji in the Liberty Times on October 16th 2014.

Signatories:

United States

1. Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA)
2. Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation (CWCMF)
3. Formosan Association for Human Rights (FAHR)
4. Friends of Taiwan – Los Angeles, California
5. Institute for Taiwanese Studies (ITS) – Cerritos, California
6. North American Taiwanese Engineering and Science Association (NATEA)
7. North American Taiwanese Professors’ Association
8. North American Taiwanese Women’s Association
9. Southern California Taiwanese Club – Los Angeles, California
10. Taiwanese American Center of Northern California
11. Taiwanese Association of America (TAA)
12. Taiwanese Association of America, Chicago Chapter
13. Taiwanese Association of America, Cincinnati Chapter
14. Taiwanese Association of America, Columbus Chapter
15. Taiwanese Association of America, Greater Baltimore Chapter
16. Taiwanese Association of America, Greater Washington Chapter
17. Taiwanese Association of America, Northern New Jersey Chapter
18. Taiwanese Alliance of Interculture (TAI) – San Jose, California
19. Taiwanese Americans Perspectives (TAP) – Los Angeles, California
20. Taiwan Christian Church Council in North America (TCCCNA)
21. Taiwan Center – New York
22. Taiwan Culture Center – Greater Washington
23. Taiwan Hakka Association For Public Affairs In North America
24. World United Formosans for Independence United States
25. World Taiwanese Congress

Canada

26. Formosan Association for Public Affairs Canada
27. Greater Vancouver Taiwanese Senior Association
28. Society  of Taiwanese Canadian History in British Columbia
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30. Taiwanese Canadian Association – Greater Vancouver Chapter
31. Taiwanese Canadian Association –Toronto Chapter
32. Taiwanese Canadian Church Association of Toronto
33. Taiwanese Canadian Heritage Association
34. Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada (THRAC)
35. Taiwanese Senior Association of Toronto
36. Taiwanese Women’s Association of Toronto
37. World Federation of Taiwanese Associations (WFTA)
38. World United Formosans for Independence Canada

Latin America

39. Taiwanese Association of Ecuador

Europe

40. European Federation of Taiwanese Associations -- London, United Kingdom
41. European Federation of Taiwanese Women Associations, Hamburg, Germany
42. Formosan Association for Public Affairs United Kingdom
43. Taiwanese Association in the United Kingdom
44. Taiwanese Student Association in the United Kingdom
45. World United Formosans for Independence Europe

Japan

46. Japan Taiwanese Medical Union
47. Taiwanese Association in Japan
48. Taiwanese Women’s Association in Japan
49. World United Formosans for Independence Japan