For Immediate Release
Washington DC – December 15, 2008
Contact: (202) 547-3686
Taiwanese Americans Express Solidarity With The “Wild Strawberries” Students, Urging The Ma Ying-jeou Government To Heed International Concern
(The Board of Directors of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) expressed solidarity with the “Wild Strawberries Movement,” and anger and dismay at the Taiwanese police’s forcible removal of the “Wild Strawberries” and a group of some 100 Tibetans from Liberty Square in Taipei in the early hours of December 11, a mere few hours after December 10 “International Human Rights Day.”
The Board of Directors of FAPA issued the statement in conclusion of their 2008 annual board meeting in Washington over the weekend. FAPA is a Washington-based grassroots advocacy organization that seeks international recognition for an independent and sovereign Taiwan.
The FAPA Board of Directors considers the student sit-in a peaceful expression of concern, which is guaranteed under the principles of freedom of speech and of assembly. FAPA thus deeply regrets that the police arrived with overwhelming force at the Square at 3 am and evicted the “Wild Strawberries” students and the Tibetans, cracking down on their peaceful demonstration in an unreasonably hour and manner.
The FAPA Board of Directors states: “We consider these actions by the Ma government a severe infringement on freedom of speech and of assembly. The Ma administration’s early morning crackdown and breaking up of the peaceful demonstration right after International Human Rights day is highly disturbing to international observers and an embarrassment to Taiwan’s image as one of the freest countries in the world. ”
The FAPA Board of Directors concludes, “We are talking to the offices of our elected Members of Congress on Capitol Hill on Monday December 15th. Given the recent rapid deterioration of Taiwan’s civil liberties and human rights, we feel compelled to inform our elected officials of the latest crisis in Taiwan and urge them to closely monitor the situation and express concern at an appropriate time.”
At the summit of the heads of Taiwanese American organizations that was held in Washington during the same weekend, the organizations endorsed the statement issued by the FAPA Board of Directors. These organizations include Dr. Kang-Lu Wang Memorial Foundation, the Formosan Association for Human Rights, North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association, Professor Chen Wen-Chen Memorial Foundation, Taiwanese Association of America, World Federation of Taiwanese Associations, World Taiwanese Congress and World United Formosans for Independence-U.S.A.