Expatriates see growing backslide in democracy

Sat, Nov 09, 2013 - Page 8

The undersigned overseas Taiwanese organizations hereby express our deep concern about recent developments in Taiwan.

First, we wish to emphasize our roots in Taiwan, the land of our birth. We do live in the US, Canada and Europe, but we feel strongly about our homeland. Many of us worked hard to help Taiwan make the transition to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s.

Especially since Taiwan has made such major progress toward a fully democratic system during the past 25 years, it is regrettable that the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has eroded Taiwan’s democracy and freedoms with his pro-China policies.On the surface, these policies may appear to bring about a reduction of tension, but in reality they are setting Taiwan up for a larger conflict when China’s repressive designs for “unification” collide with the reality of Taiwan’s democracy.

While this backsliding of freedom, democracy and human rights has been going on since the beginning of the Ma administration, we are particularly incensed about recent moves by the Ma government that show a distinct lack of respect for democracy, and a fundamental breach of the basic principles of separation of powers and checks and balances in a democracy.

These basic principles are enshrined in the Republic of China Constitution. While we strongly believe that the Constitution needs to be amended to reflect the new reality that Taiwan is now a free, democratic and independent country, it is essential that the government abides by the Constitution that is presently in force. The actions of President Ma and his administration in attempting to remove Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) clearly violated those principles.

In addition, the extensive abuse of power and the rampant wiretapping by the Special Investigation Division (SID) also constitute a violation of the Constitution, in particular Article 12, which guarantees the individual’s freedom of privacy of correspondence.

It is time for the Ma government to listen to the Taiwanese, and to move toward policies and decisions that reflect the views of ordinary people, the men and women in the street. In particular this means:

One, an end to the extraordinary powers vested in the SID. The Legislative Yuan should immediately pass legislation abolishing the division.

Two, Taiwan needs judicial reform, completely removing political influence from the judiciary. The judicial branch needs to be completely independent from both the executive and legislative branch of government, so that Taiwan can enjoy clear separation of powers.

Three, Taiwan needs legislative reform so that legislators can truly represent their constituencies and the legislature becomes an effective and efficient part of the system of governance. The legislative process needs to become a true give-and-take of political negotiations in which all political opinions are shown respect and decisions are made on the basis of rational discussion.

As overseas Taiwanese, we also fully endorse the statement issued by the 29 international academics and writers who expressed their concerns in a statement titled “Human rights, democracy threatened,” published in the Taipei Times on Oct. 14 and in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Oct. 16.

Signatories:
United States
1. Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA)

2. Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation (CWCMF)

3. Formosan Association for Human Rights (FAHR)

4. Friends of Taiwan – Los Angeles, California

5. Institute for Taiwanese Studies (ITS) – Cerritos, California

6. North American Taiwanese Engineering and Science Association (NATEA)

7. North American Taiwanese Professors’ Association

8. North American Taiwanese Women’s Association

9. Southern California Taiwanese Club – Los Angeles, California

10. Taiwanese American Center of Northern California

11. Taiwanese Association of America (TAA)

12. Taiwanese Association of America, Chicago Chapter

13. Taiwanese Association of America, Cincinnati Chapter

14. Taiwanese Association of America, Columbus Chapter

15. Taiwanese Association of America, Greater Baltimore Chapter

16. Taiwanese Association of America, Greater Washington Chapter

17. Taiwanese Association of America, Northern New Jersey Chapter

18. Taiwanese Alliance of Interculture (TAI) – San Jose, California

19. Taiwanese Americans Perspectives (TAP) – Los Angeles, California

20. Taiwan Christian Church Council in North America (TCCCNA)

21. Taiwan Center – New York

22. Taiwan Culture Center – Greater Washington

23. Taiwan Hakka Association For Public Affairs In North America

24. World United Formosans for Independence United States

25. World Taiwanese Congress

Canada

26. Formosan Association for Public Affairs Canada

27. Greater Vancouver Taiwanese Senior Association

28. Society of Taiwanese Canadian History in British Columbia

29. Taiwanese Canadian Association

30. Taiwanese Canadian Association – Greater Vancouver Chapter

31. Taiwanese Canadian Association –Toronto Chapter

32. Taiwanese Canadian Church Association of Toronto

33. Taiwanese Canadian Heritage Association

34. Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada (THRAC)

35. Taiwanese Senior Association of Toronto

36. Taiwanese Women’s Association of Toronto

37. World Federation of Taiwanese Associations (WFTA)

38. World United Formosans for Independence Canada

Latin America

39. Taiwanese Association of Ecuador

Europe

40. European Federation of Taiwanese Associations -- London, United Kingdom

41. European Federation of Taiwanese Women Associations, Hamburg, Germany

42. Formosan Association for Public Affairs United Kingdom

43. Taiwanese Association in the United Kingdom

44. Taiwanese Student Association in the United Kingdom

45. World United Formosans for Independence Europe

Japan

46. Japan Taiwanese Medical Union

47. Taiwanese Association in Japan

48. Taiwanese Women’s Association in Japan

49. World United Formosans for Independence Japan