the Dawn of a Rising Era
are here today," President Chen Shui-bian told the
world on May 20th, "not just to celebrate an inauguration,
but to witness the hard-won democratic values, and to witness
the beginning of a new era."
from President Chen’s speech:
the eve of the 21st Century, the people of Taiwan
have completed a historic alternation of political parties
in power. This is not only the first of its kind in the
history of the Republic of China, but also an epochal landmark
for Chinese communities around the world. Taiwan has not
only set a new model for the Asian experience of democracy,
but has also added a moving example to the third wave of
democracy the world over."
outcome of Taiwan’s Year 2000 presidential election is not
the victory of an individual or a political party. It is
a victory of the people, a victory for democracy, because
we have, while at the focus of global attention, transcended
fear, threats and oppression and bravely risen to our feet
stands up, demonstrating a firmness of purpose and faith
stands up, representing the self-confidence of the people
and the dignity of the country.
stands up, symbolizing the quest for hope and the realization
compatriots, let’s always remember this moment; let’s always
remember the value and feel gratitude for it, because the
fruits of democracy did not come out of the blue. It was
through many perils and dangers, and by
countless hardships. If not for the fearless sacrifice of
our democratic forebears, if not for the unswerving faith
of the tens of millions of Taiwanese people in freedom and
democracy, we could not possibly be standing on our beloved
land today and celebrate a glorious occasion that belongs
to all the people."
compatriots, 400 years ago, Taiwan was called "Formosa"
--- the beautiful island --- for its lustrous landscape.
Today, Taiwan is manifesting the elegance of a democratic
island, once again attracting global attention, as the people
on this land create a new page in our history."
the past one hundred plus years, China has suffered imperialist
aggression, which left indelible wounds in her history.
Taiwan’s destiny has been even more arduous, tormented by
brute force and the rule of colonialist regimes. These similar
historical experiences should bring mutual understanding
between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, setting
a solid foundation for pursuing freedom, democracy and human
rights together. However, due to long periods of separation,
the two sides have developed vastly different political
systems and lifestyles, obstructing empathy and friendship
between the people on the two sides, and even creating a
wall of divisiveness and confrontation.
as the Cold War has ended, it is time for the two sides
to cast aside the hostilities left from the old era. We
do not need to wait further because now is a new opportunity
for the two
to create an era of reconciliation together.
people across the Taiwan Strait share the
ancestral, cultural, and historical
While upholding the principles of
and parity, building upon the existing foundations, and
constructing conditions for cooperation through goodwill,
we believe that the leaders on both sides possess enough
wisdom and creativity to jointly deal with the question
of a future ‘one China.’"
as a son of a tenant farmer and with a poor family background,
I have struggled and grown on this land and, after experiencing
defeat and tribulation, I have finally won the trust of
the people to take up the great responsibility leading the
country. My individual achievements are minor, but the message
is valuable because each citizen of Formosa is a ‘child
of Taiwan’ just like me. In whatever difficult environment,
Taiwan will be like a selfless, loving mother, who never
stops giving us opportunities and who helps us achieve our
spirit of the ‘child of Taiwan’ reveals to us that even
though Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu are tiny islands
on the rim of the Pacific, the map of our dreams knows no
limits. It extends all the way to the end of the horizon,
as long as our 23 million compatriots fear no hardship and
move forward hand in hand.
compatriots, this magnificent moment belongs to all of the
people. All grace and glory belong to Taiwan – our eternal
Mother. Together let’s extend our gratitude to the earth
and respect to the people.
live freedom and democracy!
live the people of Taiwan!
pray for the prosperity of the Republic of China, and for
the health and happiness of all compatriots and all honored
full version of the speech, in both English and Taiwanese,
please see our web site: www.fapa.org
the ‘one China’ trap
Editorial from The Taipei Times
Chen Shui-bian's inaugural speech was a deft exercise in
wordcraft. It was both conciliatory in tone and was generally
well-received, in the end buying Chen some breathing space
from China's threats. But the "one China" issue
still haunts Taiwan, and Beijing is using all the methods
at its disposal to force its poison on Taiwan.
China listened carefully to Chen's speech, however, it would
have heard some hidden messages. For instance, the phrase
"Taiwan stands up" was stressed three times in
the speech and was obviously an echo of Mao Zedong's speech
in Tiananmen Square in 1949, announcing the overthrow of
the old regime and the birth of a new state.
which was used many times in the speech, has long been something
of a code word for independence in Taiwan. Chen also called
Taiwan "our eternal mother," and shouted out,
"Long live the people of Taiwan," while only wishing
for the well-being of the Republic of China. Chen gave the
impression he was stressing his identification with Taiwan.
also made reference to China and Taiwan's common history
of colonial domination, but only to underscore the different
historical trajectories of the two countries that can be
traced back more than 300 years.
many strategic positions in the new administration -- including
mainland and foreign affairs, education, culture and even
the National Palace Museum -- were given to people with
a strong Taiwanese identity. Several important figures in
Taiwan's independence movement were also appointed as presidential
are always more powerful than mere words and Beijing's mistrust
of Chen will not be solved with just one speech. Beijing
will continue to pressure Chen to accept the "one China"
principle, even if it has been unable so far to find Taiwan's
pressure point. One reason Beijing still lacks such leverage
is because Chen's inaugural speech was highly acclaimed
internationally, denying China any excuse to act against
has been unable to reach a consensus on how to deal with
Taiwan and it appears that the leadership will remain divided,
at least until after the Communist government's annual meetings
in Beidaihe in July. The US election campaign will start
up soon after and China is unlikely to make any move against
Taiwan during that time. Taiwan should be able to dodge
the specter of war as long as it keeps a cool head and a
continues to stress its "one country, two systems"
policy and contends that the PRC is the only legal Chinese
government. Taiwan would therefore be at a serious disadvantage
during future negotiations if it accepted the "one
Beijing would not be satisfied even if Taiwan did accept
the "one China" formula. Taiwan would be writing
China a blank check, turning Taiwan into China’s debtor.
Moreover, an acceptance of the "one China" principle
would merely whet the appetite of hardliners in China, encouraging
them to demand more from Taiwan.
tried to chart a carefully plotted middle course. But he
would be sacrificing Taiwan's sovereignty if he admitted
to the "one China" principle. None of his challengers
in the March elections would have accepted the formula.
What would be the point if they wanted to continue to serve
as president? Moreover, the voters of Taiwan will not agree
to the "one China" principle. Otherwise, why bother
electing their own leader?
President Named National Policy Advisor
Chen Wen-yen, FAPA President, has been named a National
Policy Advisor by President Chen Shui-bian.
people say it's an honor to be named a presidential advisor
in Taiwan," Dr. Chen said. "I take it as recognition
of FAPA's work in improving U.S.-Taiwan relations. I think
it will give FAPA a communication channel to the president.
That may be one of the most important benefits of being
Chen also noted that the appointment would help with publicity.
"Many more people will know FAPA in Taiwan," he
notification of this appointment has not yet been received.
In April, Chang Chun-hsiung called Dr. Chen and spoke to
him briefly about the position.
Chen said he would wait for the official notification for
more details. "I've not been officially notified of
the duties and responsibilities [of the position], or of
the role I'd play," he noted.
don't know the conditions of the appointment, and whether
I can accept it or not given the fact that I'm a U.S. citizen,"
Chen said. He explained that government officials in Taiwan
must be of Taiwanese citizenship only, but that the qualifications
for the advisory board may be different. However, he said
he believed that the president named him based on the assumption
he met the position requirements.
Standing Committee Inaugural Report
FAPA Standing Committee delegation attended the Taiwan Presidential
Inaugural on May 20th. During their trip, the
delegation met with officials of the new Taiwan Administration,
including Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Hung-mao, Overseas
Chinese Affairs Commission Minister Chang Fu-mei, Mainland
Affairs Council Chair Tsai Ing-wen and new TECRO Representative
purpose of the meetings was to establish firm communications
between FAPA and the ministries, exchange views on FAPA’s
current program and pave the way for future cooperation.
meetings were cordial, substantive and most fruitful. The
delegation believes that the relationships established will
be most helpful in future FAPA work.
of the delegation included: Charles Chang of Sacramento,
CA (Northwest region); Ben Lin of Los Angeles, CA (Southwest);
John Chang of Kansas (Plains); Ming-chi Wu of Dallas, TX
(South), Yen-sin Chen of Alabama (Southeast), Joyce Shieh
of North Carolina (Central-east), Ken Hsu of Rochester,
NY (representing the Northeast regional chair); C.T. Lee
of Cincinnati, OH (Midwest); and Michael Fonte of FAPA Headquarters.
Chen is a first-year FAPA intern from Cary, North Carolina.
She is the daughter of Hwei-ling and Yue-shen Chen. Theresa
is a sophomore, with an English/Journalism double major,
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She
is a staff writer for The Daily Tar Heel, as well
as a member of the UNC Symphony, and the fiction staff for
Cellar Door Literary Magazine.
previous involvement with the Taiwanese American community
and political affairs include co-organizing youth group
programs for both the North Carolina Taiwanese American
Association and the South Eastern Taiwanese American Association
summer conference, and petition work for both World Health
Organization and Taiwan Security Enhancement Act legislation.
During her free time Theresa enjoys playing the cello and
Hsieh is joining the FAPA office as an intern for June
and July. She is the daughter of Jane and Ho Hsieh. Amy
is a rising junior at Brown University and plans to major
in political science and urban studies. She has been an
active member of the Taiwanese American community during
the past two years and served as the Events Committee Co-chair
for the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association
(ITASA) East Coast 2000 Conference.
grew up in Taiwan and plans to return home in the future
to work in the fields of government or education reform.
Update: Taiwan’s Observer Status
bid for observer status in the World Health Organization
never got past the agenda setting meeting at the annual
Geneva summit on May 15th. With opposition from
China, Cuba, Pakistan, Uruguay, Russia, Bangladesh and Cape
Verde, the committee spent a mere 20 minutes on the question
before deciding that the Taiwan issue would not be an agenda
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a last minute appeal to Donna
Shalala, head of U.S. delegation, asking that she meet with
the Taiwanese delegation and support Taiwan’s bid. US officials
said that scheduling difficulties made it impossible to
hold the meeting.
HR 4004 had not been voted on in time for Geneva. The resolution
states that "The Secretary of State shall initiate
a United States plan to endorse and obtain observer status
for Taiwan at the annual week-long summit of the World Health
Assembly in May 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland, and shall instruct
the United States delegation to Geneva to implement such
4004 was introduced to supplement HR 1794 which required
that the Secretary of State report to Congress the "efforts
of the Secretary to fulfill the commitment made in the 1994
Taiwan Policy Review to more actively support Taiwan's participation
in international organizations."
since HR 1794 does not specifically name any "international
organizations," U.S. officials have allowed China's
rebuffs to Taiwan’s participation in such groups to stand
without serious objection. A January State Department report,
mandated by HR 1794, simply states that "The People's
Republic of China has been actively and adamantly opposed
to many of Taiwan's attempts at membership or participation
[in international organizations]."
the report says that any attempt by a Taiwanese non-governmental
organization to have relations with the WHO is also blocked:
"The PRC would assert---and others would accept---that
only it has the right to consent to the participation of
a Taiwan non-governmental organization."
ludicrousness of this assertion mirrors Beijing's demand
in September of last year that any earthquake aid to Taiwan
by an international organization must first receive permission
and the Taiwanese American community should continue to
demand that the Administration take a pro-active position,
not roll over and play dead because of what the PRC thinks.
Taiwan is not, and has never been, under PRC control. The
22 million people of democratic Taiwan deserve to participate
in the WHO and all international organizations.
and HR 4004 proponents are trying to pass the resolution,
with a change of date, for use for the next WHO summit.
Please let your Senators and Representatives know your concerns
about this question.
Sitting Like a Loaded Gun on Senator Lott’s Desk
we go to press, the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act still
sits on Senator Trent Lott’s desk like a loaded gun, ready
to be pulled and used if China makes any untoward moves
noted in our March-April 2000 newsletter, the TSEA received
a strong boost of support when Democratic Senator Russ Feingold
(D-WI) and moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-ME),
along with ten other Senators, sent a letter asking Majority
Leader Senator Trent Lott to bring the bill before the Senate.
"We believe that we must bring greater clarity to our
relations with Taiwan and China by passing this legislation
in the Senate," they declared.
FAPA chapter in Wisconsin did great work with Senator Feingold,
making sure that FAPA members talked with the Senator personally
at meetings held in both Milwaukee and Madison. Thanks and
applause to all the Wisconsin folks for this important addition
of another Democratic Senator as a TSEA supporter!
also to the hardworking Connecticut chapter for their efforts
to get Senator Joseph Lieberman to support the TSEA. Hats
off to Robert Tsai and his fellow FAPA members for their
efforts! Senator Lieberman is clearly leaning to support
the bill and we continue to be in contact with his office
on this issue.
and praise are due to other FAPA chapters around the country
for their efforts. California FAPA members have worked on
Senator Barbara Boxer to garner her support for the legislation.
Boxer’s staff has told us that she is listening carefully
and still debating her position. North Carolina FAPA members
and Louisiana folks have been diligent in their pursuit
of Senators John Edwards, John Breaux and Mary Landrieu.
nothing like the power of local constituents to get the
attention of Senators and Representatives. Keep up the great
work wherever you are, and let us know what happens with
your meetings and contacts with Members and their staffers.
Senator Lott plans to bring the bill directly to the floor
and not return it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
for consideration, Senate rules require sixty votes to override
any "holds" put it by individual Senators. Senator
Max Baucus (D-MT) has placed such a hold on the bill. At
this point, staffers are trying to get an accurate head
count of support. Best guesses put the number of votes short
of the sixty needed, so the bill will stay on Lott’s desk
with a vested interest in seeing the U.S.-China WTO deal
completed by a positive vote on Permanent Normal Trade Relations
with China have led the charge to block a vote on the TSEA
lest China be "provoked" by the legislation. The
question remains whether or not the Senate will be willing
to deal with TSEA after the smoke clears on the China WTO
tuned and keep letting your Senators know where we stand
send them letters. Lots and lots of letters.
inauguration of President Chen Shui-bian and his new Administration
offers a great opportunity to tell the story of democratic
Taiwan. Use this golden moment well. Here are a few of the
letters Taiwanese Americans and friends have had published.
Let FAPA headquarters know if you need help with your drafts
or ideas , want to write longer opinion pieces, etc. We’re
here to serve.
Raleigh News & Observer 3/31/00
to Susanna Rodell for her perceptive, informative March
24 column on Taiwan, "A future for China and Taiwan."
I deeply appreciate her clear description of the "reality"
that there is one China, and then there's Taiwan. By turning
the Kuomingtang out of power, the people of Taiwan have
moved to face the future and sloughed off all links to the
power struggle between the KMT and the Chinese Communist
a Taiwanese, I would like to add a note. My ancestors, and
those of the majority of the people on the island, came
to Taiwan from China several centuries ago. Our history-
from the many years as a frontier outpost, through 50 years
of Japanese occupation and our rebellions against it, to
40 years of martial law under the KMT and our fight for
our democratic rights- has forged in us a distinct Taiwanese
us, the victory of Chen Shui-bian means the people of Taiwan
have "stood up" and are ready to take their place
in the community of nations.
an American, I hope the United States fully accepts this
emergence of democratic Taiwan and the reality of one China
and one Taiwan. In today's interdependent world, we can
and should all be good friends.
editor: a.k.a. Hwei-ling Chen)
Jose Mercury News, 5/24/00
the recent failed political coup in Paraguay and another
in Fiji still taking place, bloody unrest on-going in Sierra
Leone and armed conflict escalating in again between Palestinians
and Israelis, I am happy to hear some good news from at
least one corner of the world.
is pertinent that we Americans, who claim to value peace,
freedom, and democracy, recognize the tremendous achievement
of democracy in Taiwan as the Taiwanese celebrated the beginning
of a new era with the inauguration of their new president
Chen Shui-bian (Page 1A, May 20), marking Taiwan's first-ever
peaceful transfer of power. Chen is only the second freely
elected president of Taiwan, and the first from the Democratic
Progressive Party, the opposition party that sprung up two
decades ago as a social movement for democracy.
is regrettable that the culmination of Taiwan's democratic
changes took place amid threats of war from mainland China,
which claims that Taiwan is part of China. Despite monstrous
political turmoil in many parts of the world, Taiwan's nascent
but vibrant democracy should be the shining example of the
freedom, peace and prosperity that is possible in the 21st
editor: fiancée of Rosie Hseuh)
American Heritage Week 2000
Across the Country
President Bill Clinton, Taiwan's President-elect Chen Shui-bian,
and a host of Senators and Representatives issued statements
commending Taiwanese Americans nationwide in their celebration
of their annual Taiwanese American Heritage Week.
President Clinton, "Our ancestors came from
every corner of the world, bringing the myriad cultures,
experiences, and beliefs that shape our nation today. A
vibrant part of that legacy, the people and culture of Taiwan
have made invaluable contributions to every sector of our
Chen Shui-bian sent these greetings, "We also highly
regard your efforts to uphold and guard Taiwan-U.S. relations
for the Taiwanese people. The United States is an extremely
important ally to Taiwan. The stability of the Taiwan-U.S.
relations is essential for Taiwan's survival and development.
It is because of your efforts over the years to seek U.S.
guarantees of support for Taiwan and for peace in the Taiwan
Strait that full democratic reform and a peaceful transfer
of power could take place in Taiwan."
David Wu (D-OR), the first Taiwanese American Congressperson,
added this personal note, "As we witnessed in the March
18th, 2000 Taiwanese Presidential election, the
people of Taiwan and the United States share a bond in their
adherence to the principles of freedom, democracy, and human
rights. That bond is made stronger each day by the Taiwanese
American community here in the United States. Today, as
the first member of the U.S. House of Representatives born
in Taiwan, I am proud to pay tribute to Taiwanese Americans."
Russ Feingold (D-WI) noted, "Without the contributions
of Taiwanese Americans, we would lack the important AIDS
research of Dr. David Ho. We would be denied the work of
Nobel Laureate chemist Dr. Lee Yuan-Tse and that of the
many American scientists he inspired. We would not be able
to search for information on the Internet by using Yahoo,
co-founded by Jerry Yang. Thousands of Taiwanese Americans
throughout the country have made important achievements
in a wide range of sectors, including doctors, teachers,
lawyers, and computer technology experts. They have improved
the lives of their fellow American citizens, and they will
play an integral role in our future."
to the efforts of FAPA members in Tennessee, Senators Bill
Frist and Fred Thompson as well as Rep. John Duncan issued
statements for Taiwanese American Heritage week. Nice going!]
Fred Thompson (R-TN): "[O]ur two countries are
bound by the cultural, traditional and familial ties that
span many generations. Taiwan-American communities across
America bring richness and diversity to our country. And
the achievements of Taiwanese Americans -culturally, academically,
politically, and economically- are too numerous to list.
It goes without saying that Taiwanese Americans have contributed
enormously to Tennessee’s, and our nation’s, success, and
by doing so have deeply honored their heritage and ancestry."
Nita Lowey (D-NY):
more than half million Taiwanese-Americans across the United
States have made priceless contributions to our country,
and organizations like the Formosan Association for Public
Affairs have helped further these outstanding accomplishments."
Bob Schaffer (R-CO):
"Colorado and the rest of American is lucky to be home
to more than a half-million Taiwanese Americans. Every one
of these proud citizens helps to make ours a stronger, more
diverse, and more enlightened nation. This is particularly
important week to recognize the important contributions
of Taiwanese Americans everywhere."
See the FAPA web site for the full text of these and
other statements: www.fapa.org