The Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) on Tuesday accused President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration of forcing Taiwan in the direction of political union with China and making deliberate attempts to prevent Taiwanese to choose their future.
Responding to Ma’s comments in an Associated Press interview published on Oct. 19, FAPA president Bob Yang (楊英育) said the interview “clearly reflect[ed] the prevailing view in the Ma administration that it wants to move in the direction of political union with China.”
“Yet polls consistently show that the great majority of the people of Taiwan do not desire absorption by China,” Yang said in a press release. “Ma is paying lip service to democracy in Taiwan, but in the meantime moving Taiwan in China’s direction at the expense of human rights and democracy in Taiwan.”
“During the past two years we have seen ample evidence that the Ma administration has a disregard for human rights and democracy: It has abused the judiciary to go after members of the former DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] government, it has abridged press freedom and [it has] moved ahead with the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement [ECFA] with China with little transparency or checks and balances,” he said.
Yang said he hoped Taiwanese would see through “the deliberate attempts by the Ma administration to prevent the people of the island nation to make a free and democratic decision on their future,” adding that freedom and democracy would only prevail if Taiwanese supported candidates and parties that really identify with the country and its “unique history and vibrant, multifaceted culture.”
During the 2008 election campaign, Ma gave the appearance of being “Taiwanese” and in favor of a free and democratic Taiwan, Yang said.
“However, after his inauguration, Ma has left no stone unturned in emphasizing his ‘Chinese’ heritage and identity, and has worked ceaselessly to tighten Taiwan’s links with China,” he said.
Yang concluded by raising concerns about Taipei’s “continued to drift in China’s direction” at a time when “all other democratic nations in the region were aligning themselves more closely with the United States on issues such as the South China Sea and the tension surrounding the Korean Peninsula.”
A Red Cross Society rescuer on Friday recalled the scene of a train crash in Hualien County, saying he could not believe what he saw: scattered body parts and the sounds of people crying in a crumpled train carriage. “It was a living hell,” said Lin Chi-feng (林啟豐), who led an 11-member rescue team that was among the first to arrive at the scene at 11:03am on Friday, carrying rescue and demolition gear. The fatal incident occurred at 9:28am when Taroko Express No. 408 crashed inside the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) after slamming into a crane truck near the tunnel’s entrance. The truck had
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