US Congress Expresses Concern over Abuses Under Ma Ying-jeou

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Tuesday December 23, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

It is not only numerous International Human Rights Organizations, media watchdogs and other guardians of human rights and civil liberties that are shocked at the violations that have already taken place in Taiwan during the first seven months of the rule of President Ma Ying-jeou. Fourteen members of the US Congress took pains to write US President Bush advising him that he must keep a "close eye" on the machinations of the Ma government. These Congressmen are well worried that Ma's definition of "peace in our time" does not come at the expense of Taiwanese civil rights. Their letter follows.

December 22, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush

President of the United States

The White House Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As long-term friends of the people of Taiwan and of the Taiwanese Americans in our districts, we want to express our concern about recent developments in Taiwan. The latest events appear to signal a disturbing erosion of civil liberties and human rights in Taiwan. Amnesty International and Freedom House have issued statements in response to these events.

During Chinese envoy Mr. Chen Yunlin's visit in early November, several news outlets reported that police seized Republic of China flags from anyone waving them along routes traveled by Mr. Chen, while his supporters were permitted to wave the red flag of the People's Republic of China. Other reports include a motorcyclist stopped by police because his scooter was decorated with Tibetan flags and people being detained by police for wearing T-shirts bearing objectionable slogans like "Taiwan is my country." A music store was allegedly ordered to shut down its sound system because it was playing Taiwanese folk music. Numerous websites and online journals have also documented photo and video evidence of police mistreating those who expressed an opposing viewpoint during Chen Yunlin's visit.

Even more troubling, news reports have also indicated that more than a half-dozen members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)

have been interrogated, arrested and detained by police.

For example, former President Chen Shui-Bian was handcuffed, arrested,

and jailed despite the fact that he has not been even been formally charged or indicted. Many believe the allegations against the former

President and against other officials of his party are politically motivated.

We believe that a cordial cross-Strait relationship is conducive to the security and stability in the region. However, the advancement of that relationship should not come at the expense of the civil liberties and human rights of the Taiwanese people.

Section 2(c) of the Taiwan Relations Act reminds us that "The preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan are hereby reaffirmed as objectives of the United States." With this in mind, we hope that you will keep a close eye on these developments and urge the Ma Yin-jeou government to respect the basic freedoms and civil rights that Taiwan's people have fought so diligently to achieve over the last half century.


Scott Garrett, Robert Andrews, Michelle Bachman,

John Culberson, John Duncan, Trent Franks,

Rush Holt, Kenny Marchant, Thaddeus McCotter,

Dennis Moore, Sue Myrick, Peter Roskam,

John Sullivan, and Dana Rohrabacher