Taipei Times: The Congressional Taiwan Caucus is just over one year old. How do you assess the accomplishments of the caucus so far?
\nSherrod Brown: The accomplishments are several. One is we have 118 members; that's more than one fourth of the House. It's bipartisan, about half and half. They have coalesced around the WHO [World Health Organization] bill, which we've passed without opposition. They have been active in speaking out on democracy issues and Taiwanese issues. And, the fact that there are four founders, two of each party, allows us to do a lot of things in a versatile way
\nTT: What would you say is the biggest success so far?
\nBrown: The biggest success is that this caucus has grown faster than any one I've known of on the hill. This was formed only a year ago and has that many members. A caucus like the India Caucus, which was fairly influential, took several years to get to that size. I think that's reason for optimism.
\nTT: Overall, as you look at Congress as a whole, how would you rate Congress' commitment to supporting Taiwan in its fight for greater recognition internationally and in the US?
\nBrown: I think that the Congress is supportive to a point. Few Republicans are willing to stand up to President [George W.] Bush, to push him harder on support of Taiwan. Too many members of Congress are cowed by the Chinese government and the Chinese presence. You know, it's a country of a billion plus people, for sure. But it's also a nation that can't hold a candle to the democracy of Taiwan. I'm disappointed that more members of Congress don't stand up to China on human rights. But I also think a lot of members of Congress celebrate the miracle of Taiwan, the democracy of Taiwan and the growing prosperity in Taiwan.
\nTT: Do you think the caucus stands a chance of turning some of these congressmen around?
\nBrown: The caucus does matter. In particular, the four founders are the most active. There are other active members, too. But the four of us are speaking for Taiwan and calling on each other when we need assistance on something, and I think the caucus does, over time, really begin to move people into more support for Taiwan. There are more "dear colleague letters" going out, there's more information out there, there's more recognition of Taiwan, there's more attention paid to Taiwan.
\nTT: You've been the leading congressmen in support of Taiwan's observer status in the World Health Assembly, but you've also been critical of the administration's efforts in the past to push that. How do you think the administration did this year?
\nBrown: I think the administration did better this year. Every year, through [former president Bill] Clinton and Bush, we've seen a baby step, and this year is no exception. I was hoping, because of SARS, that we would see something more than that. And while I was pleased with what [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Tommy] Thompson did, and I don't want to understate that, I would hope in the future we could see a few giant steps and not just baby steps in terms of assisting Taiwan.
\nTT: In a statement signing the bill this year, the president seemed annoyed at Congress' demand for a report on the administration's actions, saying he would not disclose certain information. How do you assess that?
\nBrown: This is an administration that trades in secrecy. It rarely tells the American people or Congress [what] it doesn't want to tell us, what happened Sept. 11; it doesn't much want to tell us what happens in its trade negotiations, and it doesn't really want to report to Congress the moves toward democracy in China, if there are any, and especially doesn't want to share with us its efforts or what it's doing on Taiwan. I don't think it's doing enough. While I applaud Secretary Thompson's efforts, I think the Bush administration itself, the White House itself, is dragging its feet.
\nTT: Do you think that's because of pressure from China?
\nBrown: I think it's because of pressure from China and corporate America, which are joined at the hip.
\nTT: On the World Trade Organization, I understand the caucus is preparing a letter or thinking of preparing a letter to Director-General Supachai [Panitchpakdi], complaining about his campaign to lower Taiwan's status in the organization. Did you send that letter, or do you expect it to be sent, or have you heard any indication that he might step back?
\nBrown: We haven't heard. I don't know.
\nTT: And the letter has not been sent yet?
\nBrown: It has not been sent yet.
\nTT: The Senate has shown itself less committed to Taiwan than the House in the past, having overridden House legislation to increase military cooperation with Taiwan and pass the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. Do you have any indication that this might be changing, perhaps because of the work of the Taiwan Caucus in the House? Perhaps including the creation of a Senate version of the caucus?
\nBrown: I have no way of knowing about a Senate version of the caucus, but I do think the Senate is slowly paying attention to Taiwan. The Senate never responds to the public as quickly as the House does. And I think this is another example. There is a significant number of Taiwanese-Americans living in most congressional districts. And we've heard from our constituents. And the House members tune in to that public interest more quickly than do Senate members, and I think that's probably the lag time there.
\nTT: This week, House Majority Leader Tom Delay mounted what seemed to be a strong attack on the "one-China" policy in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, a day after the president reiterated the policy in his meeting with Hu Jintao (
PHOTO: COURTESY OF SHERROD BROWN
DELUSIONAL: The male patient said he did not know that the woman had mental problems, but the court said that her being restrained in isolation should have given him pause The Taiwan High Court has ordered the Jhudong branch of the Taiwan National University Hospital and a male patient to jointly pay a former female patient’s family NT$400,000 in compensation after the man had sex with the woman, who has mental problems, while hospitalized. The 26-year-old woman has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, a symptom of which is that she obsessively seeks to have sex, her mother said. The mother filed a formal complaint and sought damages from the hospital and the male patient surnamed Chen (陳) after finding out that her daughter had sex with the man while
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) should not use the government’s disease-prevention policy as an excuse to block people’s access to the Taipei Railway Station’s main hall, the Taiwan International Workers’ Association said yesterday. The association held a protest at the station after what organizers said were about 400 people staged a sit-in on Saturday to demonstrate against the TRA’s proposal to ban sitting on the floor of the main hall. In accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s disease-prevention measures, large gatherings have been banned in the hall since the end of February. After protesters yesterday expressed their grievances at the southern
SEEKING OPTIONS: A Sinyi Realty corporate realty official attributed the spike to proposed legal changes in the territory and the ongoing pro-democracy protests More Hong Kongers purchased real estate in Taiwan last year than other foreigners, Ministry of the Interior statistics showed. The ministry attributed the spike to a proposed extradition law that the Hong Kong government submitted last year, which would have allowed suspects to be sent to China and other nations, which sparked mass protests that are continuing. The rate of purchases last year by Hong Kong natural and juridical persons stood at 40 and 60 percent respectively, with building area purchased by both standing at 47.41 percent and 52.59 percent respectively, ministry data showed. Department of Land Administration statistics showed that Hong Kongers
NEW RECRUITS: Nearly 9 million students are to graduate from university next month, and Beijing plans to use incentives to convince them to join the military, an analyst said Rising unemployment in China due to the COVID-19 pandemic could benefit the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by allowing it to attract new, better educated recruits, a Taiwanese security researcher said on Friday. Chen Ying-hsuan (陳穎萱), a policy analyst at the Division of Chinese Politics and Military Affairs at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a government-funded think tank, made the remarks in an article published in the Defense Security Biweekly magazine. About 8.74 million university students are expected to graduate in China next month, while Chinese companies’ demand for fresh graduates fell 16.77 percent annually in the