For Immediate Release
Washington DC – March 5, 2008
Contact: (202) 547-3686
Congress Unanimously Passes Resolution In Support Of Taiwan Presidential Elections
On March 5, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.Con.Res.278 which concludes “that it is the sense of the Congress that the Congress should organize a congressional delegation to observe Taiwan ‘s presidential elections in March 2008.”
The Resolution was introduced on December 19, 2007, by then chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and ranking member of the Committee Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The resolution currently enjoys the co-sponsorship of a total of 43 Representatives.
In the resolution the Representatives applaud Taiwan’s democratic achievements and laud its routinely held fair and free elections in a multiparty system.
Upon passage of the resolution, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who earlier took the lead in sending a letter to president Bush urging the president to abolish the One china Policy, stated: “Yet, in spite of these belligerent threats [by China] and the constant saber-rattling by Beijing, Taipei has continued to stand tall for freedom. Please see below for Rep. Bilirakis’ full statement.” And: “Taiwan’s evolving and dynamic democracy serves as a beacon of hope for those still suffering under oppression in the Communist Chinese mainland.” Please see below for Rep. Bilirakis’ full statement.
FAPA President Bob Yang, PhD, states: “Now that Taiwan itself is immersed in a heated presidential campaign and in a debate regarding the March 22 referendum, passage of this resolution by the U.S. Congress supporting Taiwan’s democratic activities is not only very timely, it is a major endorsement by the international community of the wish of the people of Taiwan for further democratization and independence.”
FLOOR REMARKS – CONGRESSMAN GUS BILIRAKIS
March 5, 2008
Con. Res. 278 (Ros-Lehtinen), Supporting Taiwan’s fourth direct and democratic presidential elections in March 2008.
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I would like to take this opportunity to offer our varied Asian-American communities – Taiwanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Singaporean – belated best wishes for good fortune in the lunar New Year which began last month.
I wish all of these communities’ health, long life and prosperity as they welcome the Year of the Rat – a year which brings hard work, activity and renewal.
We all expect hard work and much activity in the months ahead in what promises to be a dynamic 2008.
Taiwan faces a very competitive campaign in the next few weeks before the March 22nd presidential election.
No one is able to predict the final outcome.
That, in itself, is an indication of a thriving democracy.
Those skeptics who once said that democratic values would never thrive in a Chinese cultural context need look no further than Taiwan.
Free and fair elections in Taiwan bear a significance which reaches far beyond the shores of one island.
Taiwan, through its maturing democratic institutions, stands a sterling example for other Asian states struggling with the introduction of representative forms of government and the rule of law.
Taiwan’s free elections, however, have their greatest impact on those who are still yearning to breathe free in the vast Chinese mainland, just across the narrow Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan’s young democracy faces constant military threat and intimidation from neighboring China.
Yet, in spite of these belligerent threats and the constant saber-rattling by Beijing, Taipei has continued to stand tall for freedom.
Taiwan’s evolving and dynamic democracy serves as a beacon of hope for those still suffering under oppression in the Communist Chinese mainland.
Taiwan’s democracy is a torch which shines ever brighter, far outshining the Olympic torch of the Chinese regime which hopes, this year, to use sports, to achieve a propaganda victory.
Freedom shines brighter than any medal.
Today, I ask my Committee colleagues to join me in giving their strong and enthusiastic support to this resolution, which welcomes Taiwan’s fourth direct and democratic elections, as part of our ongoing efforts to promote democracy around the world and in the Asian region, in particular.
I wish the people of Taiwan continued peace, prosperity and liberty in this Year of the Rat, and in the years and decades ahead.
I reserve the balance of my time.H.Con.Res.278