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 UN Campaign 2003

For Immediate Release                     June 16, 2003

TAIWANESE AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS PROTEST UN PRESS CENSORSHIP

Taiwanese American organizations have joined together to express their anger over an incident of press censorship that occurred at the United Nations headquarters last month. On May 23rd, United Nations officials barred Andrew Hsia, TECO Director General in New York, from attending a press conference on Taiwan's response to the SARS crisis, sponsored by the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA). This resulted in a vigorous protest from members of the UNCA, especially their president Tony Jenkins, who organized "a small protest" outside UN headquarters the very next day.

Since then, Jenkins has written letters to both Annan and the Chinese ambassador to the UN, Wang Wingfan, sharply criticizing their lack of respect for freedom of the press. Jenkins has organized a UNCA-sponsored panel on Taiwan, and invited Ambassador Wang to participate. Although Wang declined, the discussion is now scheduled for Wednesday, June 18th in New York City. Speakers: Dr. Lung-chu Chen, Nancy Soderberg, and the Ambassador of Nicaragua to the UN.

Today, various Taiwanese American organizations issued a joint letter of support for Tony Jenkins, in appreciation for both his ongoing efforts in fighting for freedom of the press and his involvement in organizing an open discussion on Taiwan.

The letter reads: "We are grateful that the UNCA has tried its best to give the Taiwanese people a voice in the ongoing SARS crisis, and that it has fought for the right of the island's political leaders to disseminate and receive the information they so desperately need to combat the disease."

It continues: "The members of our various organizations are especially excited about the upcoming UNCA panel discussion on the future of Taiwan and its legal status. We feel that such a discussion is long overdue, and will hopefully serve to dispel the various myths surrounding Taiwan's place in the international community."

FAPA President, Ming-chi Wu Ph.D., states: "The United Nations must hold itself accountable to the ideals it stands for. Article 19 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of the press. This guarantee cannot be subject to narrow political considerations or to pressure from the PRC government."

(The full text of Jenkins' letter to Chinese Ambassador Wang can be found on the FAPA website at http://www.fapa.org/uncampaign/UNCA060503.html)

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Tony Jenkins                            June 13, 2003
US Bureau Chief, Expresso
President, UN Correspondents Association
United Nations Room S-360
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Jenkins:                      
As representatives of the Taiwanese American community, we wish to express our appreciation for your courageous actions in regards to the UN's termination of the SARS press conference two weeks ago ??first for inviting Andrew Hsia to speak at the UNCA Club, and second, for standing up for freedom of the press, in defiance of both Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Chinese government. We are grateful that the UNCA has tried its best to give the Taiwanese people a voice in the ongoing SARS crisis, and that it has fought for the right of the island's political leaders to disseminate and receive the information they so desperately need to combat the disease.

In addition, the members of our various organizations are especially excited about the upcoming UNCA panel discussion on the future of Taiwan and its legal status. We feel that such a discussion is long overdue, and will hopefully serve to dispel the various myths surrounding Taiwan's place in the international community. We also want to thank you for inviting Dr. Chen Lung-chu to speak on the panel. He is a great friend of Taiwan, and we have confidence that he will represent our views well.

It goes without saying that the members of our various organizations do not accept China's unrealistic claim over Taiwan. The reality is that today, Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with a thriving multiparty democracy and strong capitalist economy, in stark contrast to China's authoritarian and illiberal regime. If it were not for the clout China wields over the majority of countries, including the United States, the international community would have long ago accepted this reality.

Based on the provisions of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, which formally ended World War II and which is the legal basis for the right of self-determination for the people of Taiwan, China never received sovereignty over Taiwan. Never since its founding has the People's Republic of China ruled Taiwan. Despite the incessant threats from Chinese quarters, Taiwan is nevertheless gradually moving from de facto to de jure independence.

Again, we would like to thank the UNCA for taking the initiative to organize this panel discussion. If there is any support or expertise that our organizations can offer, please know that we will endeavor to assist you in any way possible.

If you need additional information, please contact Mr. Coen Blaauw, executive director for the Formosan Association for Public Relations, at 202-547-3686.

Sincerely,

Formosan Association for Public Affairs
North America Taiwanese Women's Association
Formosa Foundation
North America Taiwanese Engineers' Association
North America Taiwanese Medical Association
Taiwanese Association of Northwest Los Angeles
Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation
Rutgers Taiwan Study Association
Taiwanese American Aeronautics and Space Association

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