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"Better Health for the People of Taiwan"
 Speech Rep. Sherrod Brown - San Diego and Los Angeles
July 31, 1999

Tonight, I look at America and am proud to see the melting pot that distinguishes it from any other country in the world.  I am happy to see the assimilation that Taiwanese youth, young professionals, and adults have undergone.

 If they could see you here tonight, our founding fathers would be awestruck at the success and strength of our democracy, just as I am overwhelmed by the enormous changes that have overtaken every day life in Taiwan as it has evolved into a healthy, prosperous nation governed by the rule of law.  The people of Taiwan have proved to the whole world freedom
and democracy are not American ideals, they are universal principles that apply to every individual, that apply to every community, that apply to every state.

 The people of Taiwan -- your friends, your relatives, and your neighbors -- are the heirs to the legacy of our founding fathers.  It your countrymen, your flesh and blood, that have chosen Thomas Jefferson over Mao Tse Tung, the Statue of Liberty over the tyranny of Chang Kai Shek.

 That is why I believe July 9 will one day be as important to the Taiwanese people as July 4 is to the people of the United States.  In fact, I forecast that President Lee Teng Hui's call for "state-to-state" relations with the People's Republic of China will eclipse Double 10 (October 10) as Taiwan's most important holiday, if not one day abolish it altogether.

 No longer will we be forced to observe the arrival of the Nationalists as Taiwan's day of joy -- July 9 will be forever etched in the minds of the Taiwanese people as the day it's government finally decided to acknowledge reality and at long last mirror the feelings of its people. Because we believe so strongly in self determination, in freedom for all people, all of us here tonight and our representatives in Washington must immediately acknowledge the importance of July 9 for the future of Taiwan. All of us, the residents of the world's oldest democracy, must immediately abandon our misguided "One China Policy."

 We owe it to our sister democracy, to those who have chosen Jefferson over Mao, to those who have chosen liberty over tyranny, to substitute the "One China Policy" for a "One China, One Taiwan policy."  We owe it to our allies in the struggle against oppression to support a policy that reflects reality and a policy that supports the right of all people to determine their own political future.

 For that purpose I -- and a half dozen of other Members of the House of Representatives -- introduced a resolution earlier this week which does exactly that:   My resolution, H. Con. Res 166, simply states that "the United States should recognize Taiwan's independence if the people of Taiwan opt for such status through a democratic mechanism, including a plebiscite," a right that is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.  The resolution concludes that "in the interim, the United States should immediately adopt a "One China, One Taiwan Policy" which reflects the present day reality that Taiwan and China are two separate nations."  [applause]

 I thought you would like that.

 The fact is that the People's Republic of China has used the "one China policy" as a way to squeeze Taiwan out of international organizations, especially ones that require statehood for membership, such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

 What's more, the "one China policy" has been used to block Taiwan from establishing relations with countries with which China maintains diplomatic relations, including the world's oldest democracy and Taiwan's only insurance against annihilation: the United States.

 Our bonds are there for all to see.  When the Chinese dictatorship was busy ordering its citizens to ransack our embassy in Beijing last May, the Taiwanese government paid scant attention to the handful of right wing, pro-unification protesters in front of our embassy in Taipei.

 The bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade was a horrible accident, but the truth of the matter was that it was an accident.

 NATO was rightly fighting to uphold the fundamental human rights of some of the world's poorest people, rights that the Chinese government denies its own citizens.

 In fact, the 1998 State Department report on human rights uses nearly identical language to describe Serbia's genocide in Kosovo as China's genocide in Tibet and in China's heavily Muslim province of Shinkiang or East Turkestan as it is known in the West.

 Of course, China's response to President Lee's announcement is the harshest it has used since the 1996 elections, when it was busy shooting missiles at its democratic neighbor.

 The simple fact is that all of us here tonight know that Taiwan has always been an independent state, and that it has never been a part of the People's Republic of China.  Again, I applaud President Lee's remarks, and hope that this is a major step towards Taiwan's independence.

 Secondly, this move will not only give the people of Taiwan the recognition they deserve, but should influence Taiwan's bid to join international organizations, especially the World Health Organization.

 As you all know, last May I traveled to Geneva to observe the annual WHO summit, and was stunned to see our government completely ignore Taiwan's plight.
 I was shocked to see our representative sit silently while China and Burma, the world's two worst regimes, denounced Taiwan's membership in the WHO as a threat to East Asian stability.

 "A threat to East Asian security" I said to myself?  The WHO is the world's foremost organization working to eradicate and control disease and to improve the health every single person in the world.  How can that undermine China's security?  How can saving the lives of Taiwanese children, children that the Chinese communists claim to be their very own, be a threat to the security and stability of the region?

 The sole purpose of the World Health Organization is to institute immunization programs to let hundreds of millions of children  live better, longer, and healthier lives.  Isn't it in China's interests that babies on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have the chance to grow into healthy adults?

 Of course they should.  The denial of Taiwanese participation in the WHO is an unjustifiable violation of its people's fundamental human rights. Good health is a basic right of every citizen of the world, and Taiwan's admission into this organization would help foster that right for every single citizen of Taiwan.

 To right this wrong, to end this injustice, we must continue to fight for the rights of the Taiwanese people.  Just this week I met with the head of the American Public Health Association, Dr. Mohammad Akhter, who I had previously met in Geneva in discussed the plight of the Taiwanese people in gaining admission to the WHO.

 In addition to his duties as the head of the APHA, Dr. Akhter sits on the Executive Board of the World Federation of Public Health Associations, an organization similar to the WHO but composed of national public health associations.  All of you will be pleased to know, correction,
all of you will be thrilled to know that during the course of our meeting Dr. Akhter formally requested that Dr. Deng Cha Fang and the Medical Professional Association of Taiwan immediately apply for membership in the WFPHA.

 With Dr. Akhter's encouragement and support, we will fight to see MPAT join this organization, we fill fight to see MPAT gain the same recognition as the China Preventive Medical Association, fight to see that MPAT and every medical professional in Taiwan can contribute to building a healthier world.

 In addition to this success, after the summer recess, the House of Representatives will vote on my bill that would require our State Department to either support Taiwan's participation in the WHO or to explain, in an official report, exactly why our government will fight a war for human rights in Europe but ignore them in Taiwan.

 I have been fighting to get our State Department to support Taiwan's membership in the WHO for the last three years, and believe the imminent passage of my bill, H.R. 1794, will be a huge victory for every single Taiwanese and every American that cares about human rights.

 As I wrote in the Washington Post last year: "We must act immediately to right a very serious wrong. We owe it to the children of Taiwan."

 The time has come for all of us to show our support for Taiwan's statehood  The State Department must start acknowledging reality and substitute its "One China Policy" for a "One China, One Taiwan policy" - a policy that reflects reality!

 Nobody but the people of Taiwan has the right to determine the future of Taiwan!
 

 
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