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    Taiwanese American Heritage Week  2003
                                          Message from Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA)

Taiwanese-American Heritage Week

May 2003

I=d like to extend my warmest wishes to all Taiwanese-Americans as we celebrate ATaiwanese-American Heritage Week.@ This special week honors the outstanding contributions of over 500,000 Taiwanese-Americans to our nation=s social, economic and political life. Taiwanese-Americans have excelled in every field, and have made especially notable contributions as medical professionals, Nobel Laureate scientists, business owners and human rights activists.

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 has played an important role in encouraging this profound transformation.

While Taiwan has established a robust 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 participation 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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