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    Statement from Rep. Schaffer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 Contact: Cory Flohr

May 5, 2000 202-226-8416

SCHAFFER COMMEMORATES TAIWANESE AMERICAN HERITAGE WEEK

Every one of these proud citizens helps to make ours a stronger, more diverse, and more enlightened nation.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In commemoration of Taiwanese American Heritage Week (May 7 - 10), U.S. Congressman Bob Schaffer (R-CO) yesterday delivered a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives praising the social, economic, and cultural contributions of the Taiwanese American community, and celebrating the recent Democratic elections by the people of Taiwan.

Colorado and the rest of America is lucky to be home to more than a half-million Taiwanese Americans, said Schaffer. Every one of these proud citizens helps to make ours a stronger, more diverse, and more enlightened nation. This is a particularly important week to recognize the important contributions of Taiwanese Americans everywhere.

Schaffer has been a close ally of Taiwanese Americans and the democratic people of Taiwan. Although China's Ching Dynasty ceded the island away to Japan in perpetuity during the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, Communist China has been increasingly prone to label Taiwan a A renegade province, and assert its intention to forcibly recapture the island. Japan renounced title to Taiwan during the Treaty of San Francisco following World War II, but it did not name a recipient for the island. Therefore, according to international law, Taiwan's status remains undetermined and China's claim of a renegade province is unfounded.

Despite this fact, during Taiwanese elections in 1996 and again leading up to Taiwan's presidential election in March of this year, China delivered numerous overt military and diplomatic threats to the people of Taiwan and the United States. As a member of the United States Congress, Schaffer has rebuked the Chinese government's threats and earlier this year helped lead the passage of legislation expanding military and diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Taiwan.

The text of the speech Schaffer delivered before Congress follows.

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

Taiwanese American Heritage Week -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 this country and their accomplishments can be found in every facet of American life. For instance, 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, this is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the success of democracy on the island of Taiwan. Since 1987, the Taiwanese people have possessed the rights to select their own leaders, practice the religion of their choice, and express their thoughts openly and freely. Taiwan is a vibrant and democratic participant in the family of nations. The election last March of opposition leader Mr. Chen Shui-bian as the new president, and my friend Ms. Annette Lu as the new vice-president of Taiwan, should be considered the crowning achievement of this drive by the people of Taiwan toward full-fledged democracy and freedom.

While Taiwan has established a model democracy, there remain political challenges. Gaining worldwide recognition of the legitimacy of Taiwan's government is paramount. With all that Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Americans have accomplished, there can be no complete satisfaction until Taiwan's status and global contributions are respected and appreciated.

Mr. Speaker, Taiwanese American Heritage Week recognizes the long-standing friendship between the United States and Taiwan. I commend the great accomplishments and contributions of the Taiwanese American community.

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Congressman Schaffer was first elected to Congress in November of 1996. He is a member of the Agriculture Committee, the Resources Committee and the Education and the Workforce Committee. He is Vice Chairman of the Education Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families, Chairman of the Western Caucus Water Working Group, Co-Chair of the Western Water Caucus and President of the Republican Sophomore Class. His official Internet website address is www.house.gov/schaffer.

 
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