Sat, May 18, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Rights before cross-strait politics

By Lai Chung-chiang 賴中強

We propose that an employment impact assessment be conducted, demanding that before any trade agreements are signed between Taiwan and China, before a free economic zone is established and before any of the related laws are amended, the government should first assess the impact such changes would have on employment in different industries and regions, on men and women, and on different occupations. We also demand that the government draft response measures and that the assessment process include the participation of concerned industries and workers, and that the assessment reports be submitted to the legislature for review.

We also advocate using the human rights charter to break the monopoly that the KMT, the CCP and political organizations and business corporations on both sides of the Taiwan Strait hold over cross-strait relations. Furthermore, we propose a review of cross-strait agreements that have already been signed or are about to signed. The charter can also ensure that cross-strait trade does not compromise human rights standards or pay for that trade with the environment and the rights and interests of injured workers, farmers and disadvantaged groups and individuals. These are the ideas that we stand for, and yet we have been accused of protecting “free markets, free trade and free competition.”

A cross-strait human rights charter may be a distant dream, but it may also be closer than we think. We are willing to continue to listen to criticism and hope that others are willing to listen to us and to participate in what we are doing.

Lai Chung-chiang is deputy president of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and one of the drafters of the “Declaration of Free Men.”

Translated by Drew Cameron

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