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    Taiwanese American Heritage Week

TAHW Statement by Rep. Berman (D-CA)

Message from Rep. Howard L. Berman

Taiwanese-American Heritage Week

May 11-17, 2002

I'd like to extend my warmest wishes to the Taiwanese-American community as we celebrate the third annual Taiwanese-American Heritage Week as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This special week honors the outstanding contributions of hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese-Americans to our nation=s social, economic and political life.

This year, the celebration is especially significant as Americans from all backgrounds express appreciation for the support of our Taiwanese-American friends in the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy. Taiwanese-Americans responded overwhelmingly to the relief effort, another example of the community's steadfast commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

As we recognize the numerous achievements of Taiwanese-Americans in the United States, Taiwanese-American Heritage Week also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the success of democracy in Taiwan. Since the lifting of martial law in 1987, Taiwan has become an open, democratic society where fundamental freedoms are respected and the will of the people is observed. The Taiwanese-American community played an important role in encouraging this profound transformation.

While Taiwan has established a model democracy, a number of political challenges still remain. We must work together to ensure that Taiwan's status and global contributions are properly respected and appreciated by the international community. This can be accomplished in part though Taiwanese membership in the World Health Organization and other appropriate international organizations. Taiwan's security is also a high priority. I have no doubt that Taiwan will meet these challenges and play an increasingly important role in world affairs.

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, continues to provide 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 am privileged to represent a strong Taiwanese-American community, and proud to pay tribute to their strength and activism during Taiwanese-American Heritage Week.


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