Tue, Jun 16, 2009 - Page 3 News List

DPP accuses Ma of reshuffling TFD to please China

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said that the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy's (TFD) financial support for Tibetan and Chinese democracy activists met the organization's objectives, and that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should not change things to please China.

“The foundation was established with the aim of promoting human rights and democracy around the world. Ma cannot reshuffle the organization and change its objectives because of the China factor,” DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) told a press conference.

He said that if Ma were to do so, he would jeopardize Taiwan's reputation, telling the world that Taiwan is a country that supports authoritarian China.

He added that it was just another example of Ma ingratiating himself with China.

Cheng made the remarks in response to a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News on Sunday that Ma was planning a personnel reshuffle at the foundation because he was unhappy with it providing financial support to Tibetan and Chinese democracy activists.

The story quoted an unnamed senior government official as saying that Ma was unhappy with some of the foundation's activities and was especially displeased with a number of the organization's executive directors.

The official said leading policymakers in the government were nervous about providing financial support to Chinese democracy activists, Tibetan independence organizations and Cuban democracy activists.

The official also accused the TFD of asking the US-based human rights watchdog group Freedom House to criticize the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.

Taiwan's ranking on press freedom dropped 11 places in a Freedom House report released earlier this year.

Cheng said that as Freedom House is one of the most credible watchdogs on human rights and democracy, how could the foundation ask such an organization to criticize the government?

Several international organizations have expressed concern about Taiwan's democracy and freedom because the Ma government has restricted the public's right to protest and free speech, not just Freedom House, he said.

Cheng said Ma should review his policies, not accuse the foundation and its international critics.

The foundation was founded in 2003 under the then-Democratic Progressive Party administration with the aim of promoting human rights and democracy around the world.

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