Member Of Congress Urges Human Rights Commission To Investigate Continued Incarceration Of Former President Chen Shui-bian
Today Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA) released a letter addressed to Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Jim McGovern (D-MA), co-chairs of the United States Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, strongly urging them to investigate the continued incarceration of Taiwan’s former president Chen Shui-bian.
Lungren is a member of the Lantos Commission, which is a bipartisan congressional caucus of 79 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, with a mission to “promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.”
In the letter to the Commission co-chairs, Lungren called attention to “disturbing reports that have emerged in recent weeks about the deterioration in the health and physical condition of the former President of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian.”
Lungren referenced reports by Taiwanese media that Chen had been diagnosed with a prostate tumor, acute coronary syndrome, and potentially fatal reduced blood flow to the heart, during a comprehensive medical exam in March. The former president’s doctors attribute his poor health to deprivation of sunlight and confinement to a small cramped cell inside Taoyuan County prison, where he is permitted only 30 minutes of exercise per day, contrary to established international human rights norms.
The letter cites Section 2(c) of the Taiwan Relations Act, which states, “The preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan are hereby reaffirmed as objectives of the United States,” as the statutory basis for the U.S. Congress to investigate Chen’s case, and requests that the Commission “strongly urge the government of Taiwan to grant former president Chen medical parole in order to receive adequate medical treatment.”
FAPA and the Taiwanese American community welcomed Lungren’s initiative. Dr. Joseph Lin, a member of FAPA’s Sacramento chapter, hailed the letter, saying “After the many years of hard work and sacrifice that Taiwanese Americans and the people of Taiwan have devoted to turning Taiwan into a genuine democracy, it is deplorable to witness the blatant violation of established international human rights norms by the current government in Taiwan in its treatment of its predecessor.”
FAPA President Mark Kao, PhD, also applauds Rep. Lungren’s letter, saying: “The people and the government of Taiwan look to the United States as the standard bearer for democracy and human rights around the world, and it is encouraging to see that these recent alarming developments in president Chen’s situation have not gone unnoticed.”
Dr. Kao concludes: “We commend Congressman Lungren for his leadership in shedding light on the rapidly declining condition of the former president of Taiwan, and hope that the Commission will take immediate steps to investigate the case.”
加州共和黨朗格倫眾議員（Dan Lungren, R-CA）於2012年4月18日（三）致函美國眾議院「湯姆‧蘭托斯人權委員會」共同主席—維吉尼亞州共和黨沃爾夫議員（Frank Wolf）與麻薩諸塞州民主黨麥高文議員（Jim McGovern）—強烈呼籲調查台灣前總統陳水扁的監禁案。
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April 19, 2012
The Honorable Frank R. Wolf, Co-Chairman
The Honorable James P. McGovern, Co-Chairman
Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Wolf and Chairman McGovern:
As a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and an advocate of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law around the world, I write to bring to your attention some disturbing reports that have emerged in recent weeks about the deterioration in the health and physical condition of the former president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, in detention.
Chen is currently serving a 19-year sentence on corruption charges that are widely believed by international observers and legal scholars to be politically motivated. He has been incarcerated for over 1,200 days thus far. On March 6, he was taken to a hospital and diagnosed with a prostate tumor, acute coronary syndrome and significantly reduced blood flow to the heart, the last of which is potentially fatal. During a comprehensive medical exam, it was also discovered that for the last 14 months, Chen had been ingesting an anti-anxiety medication with potential side effects such as depression and memory loss. The medicine was given to him without his knowledge or consent. He was returned to prison a few days after undergoing an urgent cardiac catheterization procedure in Taoyuan General Hospital.
Chen’s doctors attribute his poor health to long-term deprivation of sunlight, lack of exercise and an inactive lifestyle inside a Taoyuan County prison, where he is confined with a cellmate to a damp, undersized cell measuring approximately 60 square feet virtually 24 hours a day. Unlike other inmates who are able to work eight hours a day in prison factories, the former president is only permitted 30 minutes of outdoor exercise each day and no interaction with other prisoners. These conditions are contrary to principles established by Article 21 (1) of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which establishes that “every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily if the weather permits.”
Section 2(c) of the Taiwan Relations Act states: “”The preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan are hereby reaffirmed as objectives of the United States.”” I therefore respectfully request that you strongly urge the government of Taiwan to grant former president Chen medical parole in order to receive adequate medical care, and that you investigate the facts surrounding Chen’s treatment to ensure that it has been in conformance at all times with internationally recognized standards of human rights.
Daniel F. Lungren
Member of Congress