Thursday, April 25, 2013

Support the Taiwan Policy Act

Washington D C - April 25th 2013

FAPA Applauds Unanimous Passage of Taiwan Policy Act (TPA) in House Subcommittee

(Washington, D.C.   April 25th 2013) -- Today the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed HR419, aka the Taiwan Policy Act (TPA). 

The TPA was introduced on January 25, 2013 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), John Carter (R-TX) and Albio Sires (D-NJ) "to strengthen and clarify the commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan." 

 It is a comprehensive bill that addresses over a dozen different aspects of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, and updates the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) to reflect the new realities in this U.S.-Taiwan relationship. The TPA builds on the TRA (which has functioned effectively as the cornerstone of US-Taiwan relations over the past three decades). It does not amend or supersede the TRA. 

The TPA had been introduced during the previous 112th Congress, was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee but did not make it to the floor by the time Congress adjourned for the year in the fall of 2012. 

 During the April 25 markup hearing, the following 8 Representatives attended the hearing: Steve Chabot (R-OH), Eni Faleomavaega (D-SA), Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Doug Collins (R-GA), Scott Perry (R-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA). 

Chairman Chabot stated: "This bill strengthens the relations of our two nations. And I want to emphasize "Two Nations" for Taiwan is a democracy, an old friend and ally, and it deserves to be treated as such by the U.S. government." Rep. Faleomavaega said: "Reason why we pass this Act, is that we want to achieve that the leaders of Taiwan can continue to practice their democracy." 

Rep. Rohrabacher emphasized that Taiwan is a free and independent country. Rep. Perry: "I believe we should break through the barrier of conventional wisdom in our relations with Taiwan and work towards the normalization of relations." Rep. Ros-Lehtinen concluded: "Taiwan continues to be such an essential alley to the United States. This bill reiterates our support, and tells the Taiwanese people just how deeply we value that friendship." 

FAPA President Mark Kao, Ph.D. says: "This bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to address U.S.-Taiwan relations over the past decade and, if passed, will greatly bolster Taiwan's ability to preserve its freedom of action in the international community." 

 Dr. Kao concluded: "Next, the bill has to pass the House Foreign Affairs Committee, then the floor of the House to be followed by introduction in the Senate where the bill has to follow a similar path. We at FAPA will mobilize all our members all over the United States on the grassroots level to help ensure that this critically important bill becomes law at the earliest opportunity."

Article: The Madness of Ma: Slow-Motion State Violence in Taiwan and the Murder of Chen Shui-bian

From the Huffington Post, an article by Jack Healey, founder of Human Rights Action Center.

The Human Rights Action Center has been involved for seven months in a investigation into the incarceration conditions and medical care of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian. We sent a longtime Asia researcher, Harreld Dinkins, and Hans Wahl, a researcher with considerable expertise on prison standards and the imperatives for prisoner medical care to Taiwan last year. What we discovered was that, while the President's material conditions of incarceration were close enough to international standards that an argument might be dismissed, that his medical care had been systematically denied or inadequate such that there were conditions that emerged that were previously non-existent and conditions that were made considerably worse and permanent. Indeed, consistent independent medical reporting suggests that Chen Shui-bian is likely to have a host of medical conditions that are permanent and will impact his quality of life and perhaps a considerably shorter lifespan.

With considerable attempts to work with all sides on this issue, we never made assertions about Chen's guilt nor innocence, for that should not impact an individual's human rights or basic rights. We had just gotten to a place of hope in fact. After a recent D.C. discussion with the savvy and charming former VP Annette Lu in D.C., we thought we were likely looking to a parole or pardon sometime soon. After all, Ma has no option to run for an additional term and an approval rating lingering near 11 percent. The good (and compassionate) money would seem to have been on trying to salvage something of the premise of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" that was an important part of Ma's Catholic upbringing. Such seems to no longer be a rule that Ma is leaning towards.

In a predawn transfer without any advance notice, Chen Shui-bian was recently transferred from a medical facility capable of dealing with and managing his multiple conditions and taken back to a prison with a rudimentary ability to deal with complex medical issues. This transfer was done after a ten-person panel of international human rights experts recently issued a report recommending that Chen be kept in a sufficient medical facility and/or sent home on medical parole or pardon. This transfer was done after our contacts on both the "Blue" (KMT) side of the ruling party and the "Green" (DPP) side of the opposition had begun to express optimism and even a willingness to forgive for the thought was that Chen would be allowed to live his life with adequate medical care and dignity.

Taiwan is at a strange crossroads. Ma Ying-jeou's government has been credibly accused of interfering with the judicial process and being motivated by revenge politics throughout this process. Still, in the past there have been moments of compassion shown to Chen during this period. No longer. Based on his medical conditions and the reports of our organization and credible human rights experts (and to be sure there have been some fringe characters on both sides of this debate as well), to transfer him back into a prison with merely a prison clinic at this point and to do so against the advice of the medical team that was caring for him, the Ma government has apparently chosen to take a former president convicted of nonviolent financial offenses and to kill him through systematic neglect. The outcome of this treatment to date has been exacerbated conditions and permanent disability.

What would a rational observer conclude from this other than the Ma government has decided to engage in a slow-motion form of murder?


R. L. Dabney on the potential abuse of the public education system by the government

A pertinent description of the KMT (Chinese Nationalist Party) and whenever it is in power in Taiwan:

His one dominant thought is, how he may wrest the policy of the State, converting every object, commercial, industrial, military or judicial, to his partisan and pecuniary ends.

"Thus far the argument has proceeded on the supposition that the State will not intentionally pervert her educating power to corrupt ends.  A sorrowful experience teaches us that the supposition is never safe.  The modern "practical politician," like the mythical Harpies of Virgil, aims to grasp eveyrthing for his voracious appetite, and pollutes everything which he grasps.  His one dominant thought is, how he may wrest the policy of the State, converting every object, commercial, industrial, military or judicial, to his partisan and pecuniary ends.  Can we trust him to refrain from wresting this mighty but sacred educational function?  Let the intelligent student look around and observe for himself."  

* Dabney, R.L. The Practical Philosophy: Being The Philosophy of the Feelings, of the Will, and of the Conscience, with the Ascertainment of Particular Rights and Duties  (1897)  Republished (Harrisonburg: Sprinkle Publications, 1984).