For Immediate Release
Washington DC – November 7, 2008
Contact: (202) 547-3686
Taiwanese American Organizations Express Solidarity With The People Of Taiwan; Condemn The Ma Administration’s Trampling On Taiwan’s Sovereignty, Human Rights And Freedom
Nineteen Taiwanese American organizations released the following joint statement in light of recent developments in Taiwan surrounding China’s top negotiator Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan.
The statement reads, “The Ma administration knows that the majority of the Taiwanese people do not support a rapid pro-China policy. Yet his administration decided to go ahead with hosting the meeting between Chen and Taiwan’s SEF chief Chiang Pin-kung. This decision is to deliberately provoke the Taiwanese people, divide the Taiwanese society and attack Taiwan’s fragile and hard-fought democracy. We strongly condemn the KMT government’s China policies and protest the government for denying Taiwan’s sovereignty and ignoring Taiwan’s human rights, freedom and democracy.”
In their statement, the organizations pledge to stand firmly with the people of Taiwan and state that they will inform the American media, elected officials and scholars of the situation and urge them to voice support for Taiwan’s democracy.
Bob Yang, President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) that spearheaded the joint statement says, “It is disheartening to see the suppression of freedom in Taiwan on such a mass scale to merely accommodate a Communist Chinese official’s visit. Imagine what will happen if the North Korean leader Kim Jung Il visits the United States today and Americans are not allowed to display U.S. or South Korean flags or cannot wear certain T-shirts that might be considered offensive to Kim?”
Yang concludes, “Beijing and Washington chastised former President Chen Shui-bian for ‘provoking China’ and dividing Taiwanese society by inciting the Taiwanese identity. Despite the fact that the majority of the Taiwanese public is wary about the Chinese ill-intention against Taiwan, the Ma administration’s shoveling China’s Mr.Chen into the throat of the people of Taiwan is no less provocative. It is Mr. Ma’s provocation that is tearing up Taiwan’s already divisive society and fragile democracy.
Taiwanese American Organization Joint Statement
Taiwanese American organizations stand firmly together with the people of Taiwan and strongly condemn the Ma administration’s trampling of human rights, freedom and sovereignty of Taiwan.
The undersigned are deeply saddened by, concerned with and outraged at the unjustified actions taken by the Ma Ying-jeou administration to suppress mass protests during the visit of China’s ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin to Taiwan.
We are saddened because the Ma administration, in order to embrace this Chinese Communist representative, has violated and stripped the human rights (particularly the right of freedom of speech) of those who wished to demonstrate their love for Taiwan through waving flags, playing Taiwanese songs and other peaceful ways and means.
We are concerned because the Ma administration, in order to protect this Chinese Communist representative, ordered 7,000 police and rendered Taiwan a “police state”, a phenomenon only seen in an authoritarian country.
We are outraged because democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law that were earned with blood and tears by our Taiwanese forebears have been trampled upon in recent days. Taiwan has seemed to revert to the days of Martial Law when there was no freedom of speech, no personal liberties, no freedom of association but only the confrontation between the police force and public.
The Ma administration knows that the majority of the Taiwanese people do not support a rapid pro-China policy. Yet his administration decided to go ahead with hosting the meeting between Chen and Taiwan’s SEF chief Chiang Pin-kung. This decision is to deliberately provoke the Taiwanese people, divide the Taiwanese society and attack Taiwan’s fragile and hard-fought democracy. We strongly condemn the KMT government’s China policies and protest the government for denying Taiwan’s sovereignty and ignoring Taiwan’s human rights, freedom and democracy.
The Chinese government has targeted Taiwan with 1,400 missiles; has suppressed Taiwan’s international space and coerced the rest of the world to adopt a “One China policy” to deny the legitimacy of Taiwan as an independent sovereign nation. Facing a government which is this hostile toward Taiwan, the Ma administration, ever since it took power last May, has implemented China-appeasing policies with all sorts of agreements beneficial to China. Ma’s China toadying policies began with the Hu Jintao-Lien Chan meeting. However, China so far has not withdrawn one single missile, and it still blocks Taiwan’s bids for the UN and WHO participation.
In order to ensure the success of the Chen-Chiang meeting and to ingratiate itself with Chen, the Ma administration would rather sacrifice Taiwan’s democracy to create this illusion of cross-Strait harmony. The massive police force deployed by the government barricaded off streets, disapproved demonstration permits, and even confiscated national flags and Tibetan flags. We are not defending the Republic of China flag. We are defending the right of holding any flags. This is especially poignant when the memories of the Chinese Communist regime suppression of all Tibetan flags during the Beijing Olympics are still fresh in our minds. The fact that Tibetan flags are forbidden from flying freely in Taiwan during this dark hour adds great humiliation to this Asian model democracy.
The police have used unnecessarily excessive force during these protests. The police’s actions also seriously violated personal liberties and civil rights. We are concerned about the elected officials and protesters who were injured during the process. We also lodge a strong protest against the police agency.
Taiwan’s democracy is retreating, Taiwan’s freedom is diminishing, Taiwan’s human rights are shrinking. Although we are physically overseas, at this darkest hour in Taiwan’s democratic history, our hearts are with those that are protecting Taiwan’s democracy, sovereignty and human rights. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the record store near the Ambassador Hotel that was forced to close, with those whose flags were confiscated, with every protester at the “Yellow Ribbon Siege”, with college students who staged a sit-in in front of the Executive Yuan, and with many more of the Taiwanese who are as concerned about Taiwan’s future as we are.
Because we are here in the U.S., we will urge the American mainstream media, government officials and scholars to express their concern about these alarming developments and to issue public statements to support Taiwan’s democracy and sovereignty.
We fought to secure a democracy in Taiwan in the past. Today, we fight to protect and safeguard Taiwan’s democracy.
In alphabetical order of signatories’ last name
Jack Chen, President, Austin Institute for Taiwan Studies
James S. Chen, Chairman, World United Formosans for Independence-U.S.A.
Stephen Chen, President, Taiwan Solidarity Union-East Coast
Tzuhui Chen, Spokesperson, Taiwan Collegian
Susan Chang, President, World Federation of Taiwanese Associations
Terri Giles, Executive Director, Formosa Foundation
Adam Hung, President, Chhong-Bi Memorial Fund
C.K. Kuo, Coordinator, World Taiwanese Congress
David Lai, President, Taiwanese Hakka Association for Public Affairs in North America
Sue Lee, President, North America Taiwanese Women’s Association
Ben Liu, President, Professor Chen Wen-Chen’s Memorial Foundation and North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association
Josephine Pan, President, Taiwan Elite Alliance
Ron Shieh, President, Taiwanese Association of America
Pam Tsai, President, Taiwanese American Federation of Northern California
Jung Tsai, President, North American Taiwanese Medical Association
Pearl Tang, President, Formosan Association for Human Rights
Kang-Hou Wang, President, Dr. Kang-Lu Wang Memorial Foundation
Bob Yang, President, Formosan Association for Public Affairs
Terri Giles, 福爾摩沙基金會