Sun, Jun 11, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan in need of new asylumlegislation

By Ruan Ming 阮銘

Taiwan is a free and democratic country that respects human rights, while China is a country practising a system akin to slavery and trampling on human rights.

Because there is no chance of China transforming into a democracy practicing rule of law any time soon, spontaneous incidents of citizens protecting their rights and the Chinese government's suppression of these incidents will continue for a long time to come. Thus, I cannot but wonder what Taiwan, as the light of freedom and democracy shining closest to China, can do to improve China's human rights conditions.

First, the Taiwanese should seek to expose the Chinese government's human rights abuses to the international community and to all the people of China and urge them to take heed of the issue.

Cases of Chinese people protesting to protect their own rights occur all the time, although the Chinese government can easily crush these spontaneous and disorganized protests. It has become common for government officials, police and criminal gangs to collude with each other to suppress such protests.

Once the international community becomes aware of this type of action, Beijing simply "solves" the issue by removing a few low-ranking officials. The rest of the world's lack of understanding of this makes it easy for China to spin a web of deception.

On a recent trip to China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was accompanied by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) throughout her visit and was allowed to meet Chen Guidi (陳桂棣) and Wu Chuntao (吳春桃), the authors of A Survey of Chinese Peasants (中國農民調查), to discuss human rights conditions in rural areas. This gave her the impression that the problem with human rights in China is that government policy does not reach rural areas.

It is vital that Taiwan drafts a political asylum law so that those persecuted by Beijing for participating in rights protection protests can be given sanctuary in Taiwan, this beacon of liberty.

China is the most tyrannical country in the world, while neighboring Taiwan is an emerging democracy. As such, Taiwan should grant asylum to those attempting to escape persecution in China for having participated in rights protection protests. Taiwan, however, has no political asylum law, so there is no legal foundation for offering these people political asylum.

I urge the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to draft a political asylum law and submit it to the legislature as a way to display to the international community that Taiwan is paying close attention to China's human rights abuses.

Taiwan should ally itself with other free countries to end China's abuse of freedom and human rights.

The Chinese government's human rights abuses are serious. International capitalists, however, turn a blind eye to these violations to profit from China's cheap labor, and even help the Chinese government seize farmers' land and leak information to Beijing, resulting in the arrest of rights protection activists.

China has been made a member of the new UN Human Rights Council, which shows further tolerance and even encouragement of China's strengthened clampdown on human rights. As a democracy, Taiwan should hold firm on its stance and call on the international community to acknowledge the risk that China might expand its human rights clampdown to neighboring countries and maybe even the whole world, and how important it is to international security that China is not allowed to do so.

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