“HIGHLIGHTS OF AN ACTION-PACKED DECADE”
During FAPA’s fourth decade (2012-2022), we witnessed a veritable whirlwind of activities on behalf of Taiwan at FAPA.
We at FAPA often say that the future of Taiwan rests on two pillars: (1) The will of the people of Taiwan to maintain Taiwan’s current independence, and (2) U.S. support for Taiwan.
The Sunflower movement in 2014 affirmed the first – that the younger generation of Taiwan’s people believes that keeping Taiwan free is a cause worth fighting for.
FAPA’s primary role is in the second battlefield. Some of our scholar friends have stated that “the future of Taiwan will be decided on Capitol Hill.”
It is therefore of the utmost importance that the support for Taiwan in Washington DC remains as strong and steady as it has been over the past decades. FAPA is at the forefront of this movement. We make sure that the foundation of Washington’s support for democratic Taiwan remains strong and solid.
Not only in the legislative field has FAPA been very active and successful the past decade. (With the 2016 resolution reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as the two cornerstones of U.S.-Taiwan relations, and the 2018 Taiwan Travel Act becoming law will live on forever in FAPA history.) We have also held many conferences, seminars, speech tours and done whatever it takes to contribute to enhancing Taiwan’s independence.
The list of FAPA’s activities the past decade is too long to fit in this FAPA 40th anniversary book. So, we will here list foremost the highlights of all we have done the past ten years.
On October 28, 2015, Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced H.Con.Res.88 “reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as cornerstones of United States-Taiwan relations.” On May 16, 2016, the resolution passed the House unanimously. It was sent to the Senate where Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced it on May 19, 2016 as S.Con.Res.38. It was passed unanimously by the Senate on July 6, 2016.
On September 15, 2016, Rep. Chabot introduced the binding H.R.6047 – the Taiwan Travel Act. Due to it being close to the end of the 114th Congress the bill gathered a dozen co-sponsors but was not marked up, let alone made it to the House floor. On September 27, 2016, Sen. Rubio introduced the Taiwan Travel Act as S.3397. We felt it would be a good warm-up in anticipation of reintroduction the next year during the 115th Congress.
On January 13, 2017, Rep. Chabot indeed reintroduced the Taiwan Travel Act – H.R.535 – together with Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Ed Royce (R-CA). Soon thereafter, on May 4, 2017, Sens. Rubio and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Senate version – S.1051. H.R.535 passed the House on January 9, 2018. S.1051 passed the Senate on February 28, 2018. President Trump signed the bill into law on March 16, 2018. It became Public Law No: 115-135.
On February 9, 2018, Sen. Rubio urged the permanent closure of Confucius Institutes in Florida. FAPA had brought this issue to his attention in 2017. Rubio’s resolute action set in motion a series of falling dominos resulting in the closing of almost all Confucius Institutes in the United States today.
Over the past decade, FAPA members have been very active on the local grassroots level. One considerable highlight has been the successful effort by FAPA’s Texas Chapters to convince the Republican Party to support the conclusion of U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic relations in their bi-yearly GOP platform. For instance: In July 2018, the GOP Platform reads: “We call upon the United States to move toward full diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as an independent and sovereign nation.”
On March 21, 2019, Rep. Chabot introduced resolution H.Res.248 concluding that it is the sense of Congress that the United States should challenge the People’s Republic of China’s “One China Principle” campaign by adopting the following policy statements: (1) The United States recognizes the objective reality that the Taiwan government legitimately represents a democracy of 23.5 million people; (2) The United States will ensure any resolution of the future of Taiwan be done peacefully and with the active assent of the people of Taiwan; and (3) The United States encourages both sides of the Taiwan Strait to carry out constructive dialogue without preconditions.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dated December 17, 2020, 78 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Taiwan Caucus co-chairs Steve Chabot and Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), called upon the Secretary of State to change the name of the unofficial Taiwan “embassy” in Washington DC from “Taipei Economic Cultural Representative Office” (TECRO) to “Taiwan Representative Office” (TRO).
On January 14, 2021, Reps. Chabot and Sherman introduced H.R.5535 – the Taiwan Envoy Act. This bill required the President to appoint the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) with the advice and consent of the Senate. The bill’s language (together with a TECRO name change provision) was later incorporated into the Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act (H.R.3634). The latter was introduced on May 28, 2021 by Rep. Sherman and the four Taiwan Caucus co-chairs.
On February 26, 2021, Representative Tom Tiffany (R-WI) introduced H.Con.Res.21 – “Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should resume normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan, and support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations.” The resolution’s text echoes the language of similar legislation that we had introduced by Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), John Linder (R-GA) and others during the past 15 years.
In a March 19, 2021 Congressional hearing in the House Asia-Pacific Subcommittee, Rep. Sherman asked witness Richard Haass (President of the Council on Foreign Relations) whether he thought it was a good idea to invite Taiwan’s foreign minister – virtually, if needed – to a full committee or subcommittee hearing. Haass answered that it would be another sign of normalization of relations between the U.S. and Taiwan.
When the Sunflower Movement emerged in Taiwan in March 2014, FAPA felt that these Taiwanese youngsters deserved FAPA’s support and that FAPA should do what we could to bring their plea to the attention of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. in general, and to the world. Some examples:
FAPA immediately invited Sunflower students Wei Yang and Huang Yu-fen to come to DC to have them inform Washington about the plea of the Sunflower students. They spoke to the U.S. based media, to members of Congress such as Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), spoke to Taiwanese Americans and made a speech tour through the U.S.
On March 29, 2014, New York State Assembly member Richard Gottfried wrote a letter expressing support to the Sunflowers.
FAPA helped with a full-page ad in a Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, on April 3, 2014 entitled “Democracy at 4AM.”
On April 3, 2014, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote a letter to AIT Director Chris Marut expressing concern about the treatment of the Sunflower students.
In an April 8 open letter to President Ma Jing-jeou, three dozen U.S. based scholars called upon Ma not to crack down on the sunflower students.
In August 2014, a second delegation of Sunflower leaders came to DC. We introduced them to members of Congress and Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer, and arranged a press conference at the National Press Club. Group members Huang Kuo-chang and Lin Fei-fan went on to become well-known political leaders.
On March 23, 2015, a delegation of Sunflowers from Japan visited FAPA to exchange views and brainstorm on Taiwan’s future.
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS GROUP/NATIONAL ADVOCACY CONFERENCE
FAPA’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) was formed in 2003. Motivation of forming this group within FAPA was to recruit younger Taiwanese Americans and enable them to join fellow youngsters before they would merge into the (predominantly older generation dominated) general FAPA membership. One of the activities that the YPG started organizing was an annual Capitol Hill advocacy weekend followed by a Monday on Capitol Hill where the YPG’ers would share with Congressional offices what they had learned over the weekend. At FAPA’s annual Board Meeting in 2016 YPG was put to sleep. But the annual National Advocacy Conference survived the process and is still being held each fall.
In 2012, the YPG/NAC weekend was held during the weekend of May 20. In 2013, during the weekend of August 29-31. In 2014, during the weekend of August 23. In 2015, during the weekend of September 2. In 2016, during the weekend of August 20. In 2017, during the weekend of September 6-8. In 2018, during the weekend of September 15-17. In 2019, during the weekend of September 14-16. When the pandemic hit in 2020, we held our NAC virtually in 2020 and 2021.
EMERGING LEADERS WORKSHOP
During FAPA President Bob Yang’s presidency, FAPA held its first Emerging Leaders Workshop (ELW). The idea was to bring emerging young leaders from Taiwan to Washington DC where we would immerse them in “All Things DC.” We would arrange for scholars, activists and members of Congress to talk to them, providing them with a better understanding of American policy-making, which would then hopefully help prepare them for a successful career in Taiwan in public service.
On June 22, 2014, FAPA welcomed Emerging Leaders from Taiwan to its (bi)annual workshop. Among the speakers were: Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH), Karin Karlekar from Freedom House, representatives from the Taiwan Desk at the State Department, former Pentagon staffer Joanna Yu etc. The group also traveled to Capitol Hill to talk to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) about Taiwan’s (lack of) International recognition and participation. The week was concluded with a seminar titled: “Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement: a new political landscape.” Three U.S.-based Taiwan scholars participated in the panel: Randy Schriver, Professor Vincent Wang and Professor Don Rodgers (who has since passed.)
During the week of June 24, 2015, FAPA hosted another Emerging Leaders Workshop. Among the speakers: Rebiya Kadeer, Randy Schriver, Reps. Chabot and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Gordon Chang, Professors June Dreyer and Roselyn Hsueh. The group also interacted at the Capitol with Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA), Aumua Amata Radewagen (R-SA), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Robert Pittenger (R-NC).
During the week of June 25, 2017, we hosted another ELW. Speakers: Rick Fisher, Rupert Hammond Chambers, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, Richard Bush, Randy Schriver, John Tkacik, Steve Yates, Mike Fonte, Chris Nelson and Mark Chen. They also met Reps. Chabot, Ros-Lehtinen, and Radewagen.
From June 24 to June 30, 2019, FAPA held another ELW. Speakers included Mark Stokes, Rupert Hammond Chambers, Bob Sutter, Peter Chow, Steve Yates and Robert Wang.
From September 11 to 16, 2022, FAPA is holding its ELW again after a long pandemic hiatus.
FAPA AS OPINION LEADER: LETTERS/ADVERTISEMENTS/ARTICLES
Since its establishment in 1982, FAPA has always been an “Opinion Leader.” With its limited budget and limited staff but with its short decision-making process, FAPA has always thrived on being creative. As a matter of fact, we pride ourselves in this respect, and this element of strong creativity distinguishes us from other entities that promote Taiwan Independence in Washington DC and elsewhere. Additionally, as an AMERICAN organization FAPA faces zero restrictions in helping Taiwan become a more “normal” independent country. We are not a foreign agent, or a foreign agency. So, FAPA writes legislation, letters to members of Congress, opinion articles, letters to the media and to dignitaries etc. – all in an effort to make the public and decision makers take action to help Taiwan become more independent and normalized. For instance:
In a letter dated September 23, 2014, 29 members of the House of Representatives led by House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ed Royce (R-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for a new “Taiwan Policy Review.” The last one was done in 1994.
In a letter to Pope Francis dated October 9, 2015, FAPA president Mark Kao called upon the Pope, while he was exploring diplomatic relations with China, not to abandon diplomatic relations with Taiwan but instead move towards “Dual Recognition” of Beijing and Taipei.
In a letter dated June 21, 2016 to the National Advisory Committee of the Census Bureau, FAPA President Peter Chen formally requested the Census Bureau that a check off box for “Taiwanese” be added under the race question (question six) on the Census 2020 form.
In a letter to Holy Father Pope Francis dated August 8, 2016, FAPA President Peter Chen called upon the Pope not to abandon diplomatic relations with Taiwan, when contemplating the establishment of the Vatican’s diplomatic relations with China, but instead move towards “Dual Recognition” of Beijing and Taipei.
In a letter dated December 8, 2016 and in light of the phone call that took place on December 2 between U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen, the joint Taiwanese American organizations urged President Trump to “continue to develop a U.S. policy that provides more dignity and respect for the leaders and people of Taiwan.”
FAPA was concerned one week later about Trump’s remarks in a Fox interview hinting that the future of Taiwan might be negotiable. So, on December 16, 2016, we ran a full-page ad in the Washington Times establishing that “Taiwan is not part of China. Taiwan is no bargaining chip. Self-determination is not negotiable. The One China Policy is obsolete.”
On May 4, 2017, FAPA ran a full-page, full-color ad in Taiwan’s Liberty Times, emphasizing the relevance of freedom of the press and of the media in a democracy: “Democracies need professional and independent media, as the eyes and voice of the people, and as one of the key components of the right to self-determination.”
In a letter dated November 2, 2017, FAPA President Peter Chen appealed to President Trump to “reaffirm America’s support for freedom, democracy and human rights in Taiwan” during his upcoming visit to China. Specifically, he asked that President Trump reaffirm the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act and President Reagan’s 1982 Six Assurances as the cornerstones of U.S.-Taiwan relations, when meeting with Xi.
In the Taipei Times of December 6, 2017, FAPA President Peter Chen proposed a plan of action to get Taiwan back into the annual World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Geneva – the World Health Assembly – as an observer.
In the Liberty Times of March 15, 2018, FAPA President Mike Kuo called for dual recognition of China and Taiwan by the Vatican, and presented several recommendations for Taiwan’s relationship with the Vatican upon the latest developments between the PRC and the Vatican.
On April 28, 2018, FAPA President Mike Kuo called for Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Assembly summit in Geneva at the end of May – gradually leading to full WHO membership for Taiwan. In his Taipei Times article Dr. Kuo accused China of playing politics with the lives of the people of Taiwan, and proposed a strategy to bring Taiwan into international organizations such as the WHO, the ICAO and Interpol.
On August 16, 2018, FAPA President Mike Kuo wrote in the Taipei Times that the name of Taiwan’s unofficial “embassy” in Washington DC – the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) – had been a thorn in the side of Taiwanese Americans for decades. He concluded that the time is now to change the TECRO name to “Taiwan Representative Office (TRO).”
In the Liberty Times of May 10, 2020, FAPA President Minze Chien called upon the U.S. to clarify that the United Nations (UN) and the WHO have never decided that Taiwan is part of China’s territory. Dr. Chien also urged the U.S. government to explicitly recognize Taiwan’s Statehood and assist Taiwan to join the UN and its specialized agencies as a full member.
In the Up Media of December 10, 2021, FAPA President Minze Chien urged the U.S. to unambiguously incorporate Taiwan into its mutual defense system. Specifically, the U.S. should: (1) approach Taiwan’s defense with “strategic clarity”; (2) invite Taiwan to participate in the biannual “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) exercise; (3) establish a “War Reserve Stocks for Allies” (WRSA) program for Taiwan; and (4) enhance high-level military exchanges with Taiwan.
HOSTING DIGNITARIES FROM TAIWAN
When politicians, scholars and government officials from Taiwan come to Washington DC, they often reach out to FAPA requesting that we facilitate and make their stay in Washington DC as well worth as possible. Case in point: when former president Lee Teng-hui planned to visit Washington DC in 2005, he reached out to FAPA and asked FAPA to arrange his weeklong schedule.
On June 3, 2015, FAPA hosted a very successful and well attended welcome reception on Capitol Hill for then presidential candidate Dr. Tsai Ing-wen. Around twenty members of Congress joined and welcomed Dr. Tsai such as Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Aumua Amata Radewagen (R-SA), Howard Berman (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) plus AIT chairman Raymond Burghardt and former member of Congress Lester Wolff (D-NY).
During the week of September 9, 2016, FAPA hosted a delegation from the New Power Party in Washington DC led by Huang Kuo-chang. We introduced the group to multiple members of Congress such as Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Chabot, Ros-Lehtinen, Sherman and Ted Poe (R-TX.)
On November 9, 2016, FAPA staff held a meeting with an election observation delegation from Taiwan consisting of DPP Legislative Yuan staffers and DPP HQ staffers. They were in town to observe the U.S. elections. FAPA staff briefed them on the issues of concern to Taiwanese Americans that FAPA works on Capitol Hill, and what Election Day 2017 might bring for U.S.-Taiwan relations.
TAIWANESE AMERICAN HERITAGE WEEK/TAIWAN PEACE DAY
Every year, the month of May is designated as Asian Pacific Heritage Month (APHM) – a month of national celebration and commemoration of the innumerable contributions that Asians and Pacific Islanders have made in American life. FAPA conceived the idea for an annually celebrated “Taiwanese American Heritage Week” in 1999 as part of the APHM. That same year, President Clinton dedicated the week after Mother’s Day as Taiwanese American Heritage Week (TAHW) at 1999. Since, we Taiwanese Americans join hands to reach out to the general American public to share our heritage every year. FAPA members around the nation ask their elected officials to issue proclamations dedicating one week in May as TAHW.
In a related development several mayors and other elected officials declared February 28, 2017 as Taiwan Peace Day through proclamations.
SUCCESSFUL MAJOR NAME RECTIFICATION LETTERS
FAPA regularly writes to companies, government agencies and organizations asking them to stop referring to Taiwan as a “Province of China.” One example of a successful campaign:
In April 2016, we were alerted to the fact that on COSTCO’s online job application, “Taiwan” was listed under the “province” options, and was completely missing from the “country” options. In their response to our rectification request letter, COSTCO concluded: “The oversight will be corrected …. As you probably know, we have retail locations in Taiwan and very much consider it a country.”
FAPA CELEBRATIONS/BANQUETS IN TAIWAN
During the second week of 2016, after Dr. Tsai Ing-wen’s election victory as Taiwan president, miscellaneous members of Congress wrote her a congratulations letter, such as Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Aumua Amata Radewagen (R-SA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Lois Frenkel (D-FL), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Joe Barton (R-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Mimi Walters (R-CA), Kay Granger (R-TX), and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI).
FAPA hosted a member celebration in Taipei right after the elections. Multiple Taiwan dignitaries attended such as Yao Chia-wen, Lee Ying-yuan, Mark Chen, Chang Fu-mei, Joseph Wu, and Ko Wen-je.
In May 2016, FAPA hosted a very successful and well attended fundraising banquet in Taiwan. Many Taiwanese dignitaries joined: Peng Ming-min, Mark Chen, William Lo, Dorothy Hung, Ko Wen-je, Lin Fei-fan, and Chen Wei-ting. President Tsai had recorded a video-clip, and so had Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.
Another successful and well banquet was celebrated in Taipei on March 30, 2019. Dignitaries that attended: President Tsai, Legislative Yuan Speaker Su Jia-chyuan, Joseph Wu, Mark Chen, Lee Ying-yuan, and Yao Chia-wen.
President Tsai was subsequently re-elected on January 11, 2020. On May 20, 2020, 10 Overseas Taiwanese Organizations led by FAPA published an ad in the Washington Times, congratulating Taiwan’s presidential inauguration and calling for U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic relations.
BOARD MEETINGS AND MEMBERSHIP CONVENTION
FAPA holds its annual Board Meeting in the odd years in Washington DC and during the even years somewhere else around the country. During the odd years, we elect a new FAPA president, or reelect a president for a second term.
During the weekend of December 7, 2013, we held our annual board meeting in Washington, DC.
During the weekend of December 13, 2014, we held our annual board meeting in Houston, TX.
During the weekend of December 5, 2015, we held our annual board meeting in Washington, DC. Peter Chen was elected as President.
During the December 9, 2016 weekend, we held our annual board meeting in West Palm Beach, FL.
During the December 9, 2017 weekend, we held our annual board meeting in Washington, DC. Mike Kuo was elected as President.
During the December 8, 2018 weekend, we held our annual board meeting in Houston, TX.
During the December 6, 2019 weekend, we held our annual board meeting in Washington, DC. Keynote speaker was former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Minze Chien was elected as FAPA president.
In December 2020, we held a virtual board meeting due to the pandemic.
During the weekend of December 12, 2021, we held our annual board meeting in Washington, DC. Minze Chien was reelected as FAPA president.
During the weekend of September 25-26, 2017, FAPA hosted its 35th Anniversary/members’ convention/advocacy weekend in DC. Speakers included: Nina Solarz, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, Steve Yates, Dennis Peng and Gordon Chang.
On the first day of the convention, participants spent the day learning the ins and outs of how to advocate for Taiwan on Capitol Hill. The next day, convention attendees went on a historic tour of the Twin Oaks estate in Northwest Washington DC. The next morning, on Monday, the group of close to 100 fanned out all over Capitol Hill to call for support for pro-Taiwan legislation from members of the Senate and House to keep Taiwan free.
Besides the above-mentioned highlights of legislation, policy making, meetings, annual conferences and receiving visitors etc. FAPA makes important contributions to Taiwan on a daily basis. A couple of highlights come to mind:
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, FAPA raised more than 21,000 U.S. dollars and purchased a total of 9,300 pieces of medical face shields. These face shields were donated to medical providers or state/local governments around the United States: Florida (2,000 pieces),
Arkansas (1,600 pieces), Delaware (1,600 pieces), Iowa (1,600 pieces), Maryland (1,500 pieces), and Wisconsin (1,000 pieces).
Afterwards, FAPA helped coordinate the donation of nearly 200,000 face masks from Taiwan to medical providers or governmental agencies in the following U.S. states: Wisconsin (50,000 masks), Maine (50,000 masks), Alaska (48,000 masks), and Missouri (45,000 masks).
In 2021, FAPA kicked off a new recurring bi-monthly program: The View From Capitol Hill. Thus far, Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Tom Tiffany (R-WI) have joined FAPA members for an hour-long conversation. Other attendees: Randy Schriver, Taiwan Scholars Scott Harold, Gerrit Vanderwees and Mike Fonte, and several Congressional aides.
SPEECH TOURS AND THANK YOU’S
We thank our friends from Taiwan who have been willing to tour the United States making speeches, or individuals who have been willing to make speeches (face-to-face or virtually) to help FAPA raise funds enabling the organization to keep doing its important work. A sample: Legislator Wang Ting-yu, He Po-wen, Liu Lin-wei, Chen Wei-ting, Ko Wen-je, Chen, Po-Wei, Audrey Tang, etc.
And finally, we thank all of you FAPA members whose passion for Taiwan and for Taiwan Independence is unequaled and without whom there would be no FAPA.
We thank all of you FAPA leaders, chapter presidents, board members, volunteers and campaigners, and former HQ staffers – yes, those of you who go the extra mile for Taiwan – day after day, year after year.