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    Taiwanese American Heritage Week  2001

May 17, 2001

Mr. Speaker, This week Taiwanese Americans all over the nation celebrate ``Taiwanese-American Heritage Week.'' The week of May 13-May 20 honors the diverse contributions of over 500,000 Taiwanese-Americans in the United States. These Americans have contributed significantly to our social fabric, making notable contributions as doctors, scientists, small business professionals, entertainers, human rights activists, public servants and captains of business and industry.

It is important to recognize the achievements of Taiwanese-Americans in the United States. This week also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the success of democracy in Taiwan. Since the lifting of martial law in 1987, Taiwan has made consistent strides toward becoming an open, democratic society where freedoms are respected and the will of the people is observed. To the credit of the many Taiwanese-Americans who fought to bring democratic principles back to the island, Taiwan is now a vibrant democratic member of the international community.

The March 18, 2000, election of opposition leader Chen Shui-bian as president, and Annette Lu as vice-president, represents the crowning achievement of the struggle of the people of Taiwan for full-fledged democracy and freedom. As we all know, in a democracy, it is the elections won by opposition parties that dictate the peaceful nature of the change of power.

While the future of a democratic Taiwan is promising, many challenges remain. Gaining worldwide recognition of the legitimacy of Taiwan's govennnent is paramount. With all that Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Americans have accomplished, there is still much more work to be done before Taiwan's status and global contributions are properly appreciated. We remain confident that Taiwan will meet their challenges and continue to play a productive role in the international community.

Taiwan and the United States share a common commitment to the ideals of democracy, freedom and human rights. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which forms the official basis for friendship and cooperation between the United States and Taiwan provides a strong foundation for the bond between the people of both countries. That bond is made stronger each day by the Taiwanese-American community.

I ask my colleagues to Join me in paying tribute to the Taiwanese-American community for their strength, commitment and contributions during Taiwanese-American Heritage Week.

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