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    FAPA News (May, 2000)

FAPA NEWS

MAY 2000

Vol.2, Number 2

Taiwan Stands Up:

Toward the Dawn of a Rising Era

"We 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."

Excerpts from President Chen’s speech:

"On 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."

"The 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 together.

Taiwan stands up, demonstrating a firmness of purpose and faith in democracy.

Taiwan stands up, representing the self-confidence of the people and the dignity of the country.

Taiwan stands up, symbolizing the quest for hope and the realization of dreams.

Dear 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 realized by

going through many perils and dangers, and by

experiencing 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."

"Dear 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."

"Over 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.

Today, 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

sides to create an era of reconciliation together.

The people across the Taiwan Strait share the

same ancestral, cultural, and historical

background. While upholding the principles of

democracy 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.’"

"Today, 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 beautiful dreams.

The 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.

Dear 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.

Long live freedom and democracy!

Long live the people of Taiwan!

We pray for the prosperity of the Republic of China, and for the health and happiness of all compatriots and all honored guests!"

 

For full version of the speech, in both English and Taiwanese, please see our web site: www.fapa.org

Avoiding the ‘one China’ trap

5/30 Editorial from The Taipei Times

President 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.

If 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.

"Formosa," 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.

Chen 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.

Furthermore, 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 advisors.

Deeds 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 Taiwan.

China 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 low profile.

Beijing 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 China" formula.

But 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.

Chen 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?

FAPA President Named National Policy Advisor

Dr. Chen Wen-yen, FAPA President, has been named a National Policy Advisor by President Chen Shui-bian.

"Many 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 named advisor."

Dr. Chen also noted that the appointment would help with publicity. "Many more people will know FAPA in Taiwan," he said.

Official 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.

Dr. 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.

"I 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.

FAPA Standing Committee Inaugural Report

A 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 C.J. Cheng.

The 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.

The meetings were cordial, substantive and most fruitful. The delegation believes that the relationships established will be most helpful in future FAPA work.

Members 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.

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Introducing FAPA Interns

 

Theresa 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.

Theresa’s 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 writing.

Amy 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.

Amy grew up in Taiwan and plans to return home in the future to work in the fields of government or education reform.

WHO Update: Taiwan’s Observer Status

Taiwan’s 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 item.

Rep. 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.

Unfortunately, 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 a plan."

HR 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."

However, 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]."

 

Furthermore, 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."

The 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 from Beijing.

Congress 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.

FAPA 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.

TSEA: Sitting Like a Loaded Gun on Senator Lott’s Desk

As 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 against Taiwan.

As 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.

The 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!

Thanks 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.

Applause 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.

There’s 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.

Because 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 for now.

Senators 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 issue.

Stay tuned and keep letting your Senators know where we stand on TSEA.

 

Letters, send them letters. Lots and lots of letters.

 

The 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.

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The Raleigh News & Observer 3/31/00

Taiwan's identity

Thanks 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 Party.

 

As 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 identity.

 

For 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.

 

As 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.

 

Aki Twu

Cary, N.C.

(FAPA editor: a.k.a. Hwei-ling Chen)

 

San Jose Mercury News, 5/24/00

Taiwan success story

With 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.

It 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.

It 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 century.

 

Robert Romano

San Jose, CA

(FAPA editor: fiancée of Rosie Hseuh)

Taiwanese American Heritage Week 2000

Celebrated Across the Country

 

U.S. 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.

Proclaimed 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 society."

President-elect 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."

Rep. 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."

Sen. 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."

[Thanks 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!]

Senator 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."

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY):

"The 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."

Rep. 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

 

 

 

 

Any question? Please email: home@fapa.org or Call: (202)547-3686