On The Passing Of Congressman Tom Lantos — 1928-2008
The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Congressman Tom Lantos, who died today at Bethesda Naval Medical Center.
During the past decades, Congressman Lantos was a close friend of the Taiwanese-American community and of Taiwan.
His strong support for human rights and democracy around the world led him to work in support of Taiwan’s fight for human rights, democracy and international acceptance. In 1995 he played a key role in the visit of then President Lee Teng-hui to his alma mater, Cornell. When former President Lee — after he stepped down from office — was finally able to visit Washington in October 2005, he made it a point to pay a visit to his old friend Tom Lantos.
In the House, Congressman Lantos took many initiatives in support of Taiwan. He initiated resolutions in support of Taiwan’s membership in the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and in 2005 spoke out strongly against the EU’s lifting of the arms embargo against China. In the summer of 2007 — as Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — he ensured passage of Resolution HCR-136, urging the Bush Administration to lift restrictions on the visits to the US by high-level democratically-elected leaders of Taiwan. It passed unanimously.
Until the very end, Congressman Lantos worked energetically to support Taiwan: just before Christmas 2007, he and the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced HCR-278, expressing support for Taiwan’s democracy and security by encouraging international delegations to visit Taiwan to witness the upcoming March 2008 presidential elections.
The Taiwanese-American community and the people of Taiwan will dearly miss him.
We wish his family, in particular his wife Annette and two daughters, much strength in the difficult time ahead.