For Immediate Release
Washington DC – March 12, 2013
Contact: (202) 547-3686
U.S. Representative Calls Upon Secretary Of State Kerry To Take Stance On Continued Incarceration Of Chen Shui-bian
In a letter dated March 1 to United States Secretary of State John Kerry, member of the United States House of Representatives Robert Andrews (D-NJ), wrote: “I strongly urge the State Department to take a stance on the treatment of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian.”
Rep. Andrews concluded: “I believe it is the duty of the State Department, on behalf of the United States, to address Mr. Chen’s plight.”
Rep. Andrews has been a long-time and active advocate of granting medical parole to former President Chen.
For instance, in July 2012, Andrews submitted a medical report on the effects of incarceration on the mental and physical health of Chen to the co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, asking “that the distinguished Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission investigate this important case at its earliest convenience.”
He subsequently inserted the full report into the Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives.
FAPA President Mark Kao Ph.D. states: “The outrage among Taiwanese Americans about the treatment of former president Chen continues to grow. It is therefore encouraging to see that our plight for medical parole for Chen is now expanding beyond the sphere of members of Congress to the United States administration.”
Current chairman of the House Asian Subcommittee former Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) stated during a Congressional hearing last year: “I think for an administration to come in and essentially jail the previous administration is a tragedy.” Chabot said that the charges against Chen were tantamount to a “criminalization of politics,” and compared Taiwan to a “Banana Republic.”
Dr. Kao concludes: “The chorus of proponents of medical parole for President Chen continues to grow. The Ma administration must therefore act immediately and grant such medical parole to President Chen now!”
Rep. Andrews’ Letter
Mr. John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
March 1, 2013
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I strongly urge the State Department to take a stance on the treatment of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian. As you are aware, since November 2008, Mr. Chen was imprisoned under corruption charges and sentenced to over 17 years at Taipei Prison. While human rights activists have continually pointed out the deplorable conditions present in many of Taiwan’s prisons, there is reason to believe that Mr. Chen is receiving more severe treatment than the other prisoners. As the first elected leader from outside the Kuomintang (KMT), Mr. Chen and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) broke the 50 year power stronghold and served as a major obstacle in the KMT’s unification efforts. At the age of 61, Mr. Chen shared a tiny, damp, and sometimes ant-ridden cell without a bed or furniture of any kind. He has had several trips to the prison hospital, and was diagnosed with several critical ailments including heart problems; gastric distress; severe depression; and vascular dementia. After much hesitation, Mr. Chen was finally approved for medical parole to receive treatment at the Taipei Veterans Hospital. It is my understanding that as soon as the doctors have cleared Mr. Chen, he will be released back to prison and subject to the same conditions which caused his many ailments.
I believe it is the duty of the State Department, on behalf of the United States, to address Mr. Chen’s plight. Thank you for your consideration on this important matter; and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Robert E. Andrews
Member of Congress