Sun, Sep 18, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office defends president's human-rights prize


The Presidential Office yesterday rebutted allegations by the opposition that the government had used public-relation strategies to earn President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) a human-rights award, which is to be conferred upon him during his transit visit to the US this week.

Chen will be presented with the award from the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Miami on Tuesday, en route to diplomatic allies in Central America and the Caribbean.


Several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) held a press conference yesterday to say they are against the award being given to Chen, as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government under Chen has done many things in violation of basic human rights.

"We might write a letter to the US Congress, telling them how the ruling DPP government oppressed the freedom of the press and oppressed the human rights of migrant laborers. We might also launch a protest against the presentation of the award," said Su Chi (蘇起), a KMT legislator.

Su said his first accusation against the DPP government referred to the controversial shutting down of some TV stations last month, and the second to the riot by Thai migrant laborers who were inhumanly treated by the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation.

Public relations?

"I suspect that conferring the award [on Chen] was a result of lobbying by a public-relations company. The DPP government spends US$1.5 million every year on public relations. The DPP intends to hide its oppression of human rights behind such efforts," Su said.

In response, Presidential Office spokesman Chen Wen-tsung (陳文宗) yesterday said that the award is given not only to the president, but to the Taiwanese people as a whole. "The fact is that President Chen will accept the award on behalf of all the people in Taiwan."


"The US Congressional Human Rights Caucus is giving the award to President Chen partly in approval of his contribution to defending democracy and human rights and partly for showing their admiration for Taiwanese people's achievements [in upholding] these values," the spokesman said.

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