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    Statement from Rep. Deutsch (D-FL)


By: Representative Peter Deutsch (D-FL)

May 8, 2000

Mr. Speaker, this month I join with citizens across the nation in celebrating Pacific American Heritage Month. The Pacific American community represents an important foundation of America's future and I commend the proud celebration of its heritage.

Taiwanese American Heritage Week -the part of Pacific American Heritage Month held from May 7 to May 14- celebrates the unique and diverse contributions of the more than 500,000 Taiwanese Americans in the United States. This portion of the population has made countless significant achievements in our country and their accomplishments can be found in every facet of American life. Taiwanese Americans have succeeded as successful and notable artists, Nobel Laureate scientists, researchers, human rights activists, and business leaders.

In addition to recognizing these contributions, Taiwanese American Heritage Week also provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the success of democracy on the island of Taiwan. Since 1987, the Taiwanese people have freely selected their own leaders, practiced the religion of their choice, and expressed their thoughts openly and freely. Taiwan has become a vibrant and democratic participant in the family of nations. The recent election of Mr. Chen Shui-bian as the new president of Taiwan should be considered a reaffirmation of their dedication to democratic ideals.

However, despite Taiwan’s many accomplishments, significant political challenges still remain. With all that the Taiwanese people and Taiwanese-Americans have accomplished, there can be no complete satisfaction until Taiwan's sovereignty, status and global contributions are respected and appreciated. Gaining worldwide recognition of the legitimacy of Taiwan's government is paramount. It is crucial that the voice of the 22 million people of Taiwan be heard in international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization and other international organizations.

Mr. Speaker, Taiwanese American Heritage Week recognizes and celebrates the longstanding friendship between the United States and Taiwan. I hope my colleagues will join with me in commending the accomplishments and contributions of the Taiwanese American community.

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