And Still Another Two Human Rights Organizations Join the Protest Against Ma Ying-jeou's Rule

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Friday December 12, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Read through the past ten posts where international organization after international organization speaks out on the erosion of justice and the violation of human rights in Taiwan. Earlier this week, the police forcefully removed the students in silent protest at Liberty Square in Taipei. With clubs and shields the Taipei police moved in on the sleeping students at 4 am in the morning; U-tube recordings of the event are available. And yet in almost mocking ironic contrast, Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou spoke at a seminar on Dec. 10th Human Rights Day. While outside abuses of human rights followed abuses, Ma said that all was progressing well under his administration. Ma may still fool some of the na鴳e in Washington DC but almost in answer another two organizations, The Taiwan Association for Human Rights (Taipei) and the Formosan Association for Human Rights (US) added their cries to the mounting criticism of Ma Ying-jeou. Their words follow.

Declaration on Abuses of Human Rights in Taiwan

December 10th is internationally celebrated as Human Rights Day. We honor the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly on that date in 1948. For Taiwan the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the date of December 10th have special significance for two important reasons:

First, because on that date in 1979 the first-ever Human Rights Day celebration in Taiwan took place in the southern port-city of Kaohsiung. Leaders of the tangwai democratic movement who organized the event were subsequently arrested, charged with "trying to overthrow the government", and sentenced by military court to long prison sentences. However, this nightmarish episode became a major turning point in Taiwan's history, and represented the beginning of Taiwan's momentous transition to democracy, which took place from 1986 through 1992.

Second, because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights highlights the irony that Taiwan - as a free and democratic country - is still being excluded from the international community and is being prevented from joining the United Nations. The people of Taiwan are still being treated as second-class citizens internationally, and are being deprived of their rights to be a full and equal member of the international community.

As human rights organizations that have fought hard for the past three decades for the promotion of freedom, human rights and democracy for the people of Taiwan, the US-based Formosan Association for Human Rights (FAHR) and the Taiwan-based Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) take this opportunity to express to the international community their deep concern that within Taiwan, the hard-won achievements of the past decades are now being threatened by the Administration of President Ma Ying-jeou on several counts:

  1. The erosion of justice in Taiwan, as seen in the recent spate of politically-inspired detentions in Taiwan of present and former DPP government officials, and their unfair and biased treatment at the hands of the flawed judicial system. To many in Taiwan, this represents a throwback to the era of Martial Law.
  2. The erosion of democracy in Taiwan, as seen in the head-long rush of the Ma Administration towards appeasement with China at the expense of Taiwan's dignity and sovereignty. Mr. Ma has moved in this direction without any attempt at a consensus in Taiwan on this highly controversial issue.
  3. The deterioration of the rule of law in Taiwan, as seen in the excessive use of force by the police during the visit by Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin, resulting in large numbers of civilian injuries and severe infringements of freedom of expression. This prompted the "Wild Strawberry" student movement to initiate a month-long sit-in on Freedom Plaza in Taipei.

On this Day of Human Rights, we appeal to the Kuomintang authorities in Taiwan to step back and return to the basic principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We appeal to the international community to ensure that Taiwan remains a free and democratic nation, and find ways to ensure that our home country can join the international family of nations as a full and equal member.