Canadian Human Rights Association Puts Ma Ying-jeou's Government on Watch List

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Thursday November 13, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D

Statement by Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada, November 13, 2008

Condemns Ongoing Political Prosecutions in Taiwan

Calls on Human Rights groups to put the "Republic of China" on watch list

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada has watched with increasing concern over the past few months as the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government on Taiwan has carried out a series of arrests, detentions without charge, impeachments, and "evidence gathering" raids against officials of the previous DPP administration, legislators, local government officials and diplomats. These are ostensibly all part of an anti-corruption campaign to uncover evidence for prosecution of President Chen Shui-bian and his family for financial misdeeds. But they have been accompanied, perhaps driven, by a vicious hate campaign against "the monster Chen Shui-bian" (United Daily News October 30) in the KMT media, and frequent "revelations" of confidential prosecutorial information by KMT legislators.

Looking at this complex series of events, we are led to conclude that the KMT is abusing the justice system, Control Yuan, and media in Taiwan, using them as tools of character assassination and a political settling of accounts with the opposition.

Almost 30 years ago, in 1980, the KMT carried out a similar campaign to decapitate the opposition after the December 10, 1979 Kaohsiung Incident. Then it was under the excuse of opposing violence and suppressing rebellion. A campaign of vilification and dehumanization of the accused was followed by a series of show trials. How ironic that Chen Shui-bian was a defense lawyer for some of those charged. Today this kind of political play is being re-enacted, under the banner of opposing corruption.

THRAC calls on the KMT to cease these political prosecutions, free those who have been detained without charge, and respect the independence of the justice system. In a democracy change of parties in power is normal, as is holding officials responsible for their deeds. But majority governments must respect the opinions and rights of minorities on controversial issues. Political settling of accounts is the death knell of democracy.

We call on all organizations and individuals who have supported Taiwan's struggle for democracy and human rights these past 30 years, to once again put Taiwan on their watch list. We urge them to express their concern over these disturbing developments.

We commit ourselves to renewed vigilance of human rights in Taiwan in the current poisoned political situation there.

For inquiries: Rev. Michael Stainton, President, THRAC or 416-224-1870