Sat, Dec 03, 2011 - Page 1 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: US Congress to watch elections ‘closely’

ON GUARD:Senior US politicians said in Washington they would help protect Taiwan’s democracy against any interference, especially from ‘the red dragon across the Strait’

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio called Taiwan a “marvel of maturing democracy,” but also said there were concerns about fairness in the election.

He said the US would work with whoever was elected and he would continue to push for Taiwan’s full membership in the WHO and the UN.

Carolyn Bartholomew of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said the presence of members of Congress and of Congressional staff at the conference was a sure sign of the importance placed on Taiwan.

“Taiwan sets the stage and tone for democracy in Asia,” Bartholomew said.

A former Taiwanese representative to the US, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), said that Taiwan’s democracy was “young and fragile” and that it still contained signs of past authoritarianism, particularly in the way the government handled the media and judiciary.

Over the past three years, he said, there had been some retreating of democracy and it was now vital for the US to do everything in its power to ensure free and fair elections in the country.

According to Wu, an international committee including former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), former presidential adviser Peng Ming-min (彭明敏) and other heavyweights from the US, Japan and other countries would officially be established on Dec. 15 to keep a close eye on the presidential and legislative elections next month.

It would also observe the four-month transition period after the elections to ensure a smooth transfer of power he said.

Additional reporting by Nadia Tsao

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