An open letter
Dear Judge Hung Ying-hua (洪英花):
We the undersigned express our appreciation for the courageous efforts you have made in support of justice and the rule of law in Taiwan.
We applaud your willingness to challenge the legality of the conviction of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). That you did so as a member of Taiwan’s judicial establishment, acting as early as 2009, called for an abiding sense of duty and exceptional fortitude. For this we salute you.
Recently, you enumerated the violations of the UN and domestic guarantees of human rights in the substandard medical treatment given to Chen in prison and called upon the Ministry of Justice to grant him medical parole according to law.
We are concerned that Chen’s health has deteriorated since his incarceration.
In a Nov. 22, 2010, article in the Liberty Times [the Taipei Times’ sister paper], you advocated due process and judicial independence and lamented their absence in Chen’s trial.
We have also been troubled by these aspects of Taiwan’s legal system.
We were alarmed that you were removed from the positions of court director and chief judge in the Shilin District Court after the publication of the mentioned article.
We admire your perseverance and pledge our full support for your commitments past, present and future to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice in Taiwan.
Michael Danielsen, Peter Chow, Reverend Michael Stainton, June Teufel Dreyer, Arthur Waldron, Wen-yen Chen, David Kilgour, John Tkacik, Mark Kao, Gerrit van der Wees, Richard Kagan, Clive Ansley, Terri Giles, Jerome Keating, Brock Freeman, Coen Blaauw, Christian Schafferer, Michael Richardson, Gordon Chang, Bill Hipwell, Peter Tague, Ross Terrill, The Very Rev. Bruce McLeod, Michael Yahuda, Daniel Lynch, Michael Rand Hoare, et al, Rev. Milo Thornberry and Mr. Brian Benedictus.
Solutions to ‘one China’
An editorial discussed Representative to the US King Pu-tsung’s (金溥聰) strategic policy preference towards China as “strategic ambiguity” (Editorial, Feb. 8, page 8).
This policy enables China and Taiwan to interpret “China” respectively, notwithstanding China’s efforts to maintain the so-called “1992 consensus.” In this way, “strategic ambiguity” provides a bulwark against Chinese claims over the nation and shields Taiwanese from China’s rigid policy.
However, the author concludes that ambiguity is unpalatable to the nation, because the international status of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is uncertain and so is Taiwan’s maritime claim over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), its constitution, tax infrastructure and valuation of human rights.
The optimal policy for the nation is one that secures its identity and embodies a confident sense of certainty.
In an arresting monograph, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former national security adviser to former US president Jimmy Carter, offers a strategic view to consider in Taiwan’s geopolitical strategy: “one China, several systems,” instead of the “one China” framework. This does not imply that the nation will be absorbed into China, but gives a practical solution in the event of an amalgamation.
It acknowledges past ambiguous interactions and “agreements,” while securing a certain future for the nation.
Brzezinski highlights the unique framework of a “one China” with respective social, government and military arrangements. Taiwan would remain democratic in its values and could maintain its commitment to consolidating its military.
He points to the case of Hong Kong retaining many of its democratic values, though it could be that Taiwan would be its own case for amiable conflict resolution.
The suggestion broached is not without much contention and is in need of elaboration, yet it is perhaps a viable option to consider.
The author of the Feb. 8 editorial cited Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Although the foregoing labels the party in opposition an “oppressor,” a point of view contingent on the reader, “strategic ambiguity” or the quality of vagueness as it pertains to statehood and policy is manifestly unfavorable to Taiwan’s future.
Brzezinski’s notion of “one China, several systems” is one possible solution to a major flashpoints in the Trans-Pacific region, one that could finally safeguard a concerned Taiwan and ameliorate China’s nationalistic impetus, remedying cross-strait relations.