A US cable released by WikiLeaks yesterday shows that Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) told the US that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government was using the judiciary to persecute the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and that such behavior was a step backward for the country’s democracy.
“The KMT is degrading Taiwan’s democracy,” Chen, of the DPP, was quoted by the cable as saying during a meeting with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton on Nov. 25, 2009, in Kaohsiung.
Chen had a private talk with Stanton after the press left following an event co-hosted by the AIT and the then-Kaohsiung City Government to launch a counter-terrorism program at Kaohsiung Port, the cable, issued by the AIT, said.
The DPP wanted to keep relations with the US close because it believed Washington would help Taiwan protect its freedom and democracy, Chen said.
Chen acknowledged that the DPP’s 2008 presidential election defeat was the “people’s choice” and that alleged corruption charges involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family had contributed to the loss.
However, she said the KMT had been using the judiciary to suppress the DPP and expressed doubt that Chen Shui-bian would receive a fair hearing.
Criticizing Ma’s cross-strait policy as tilting too far toward China, Chen Chu said the DPP wanted to pursue a positive dialogue with China, but would not allow China to “destroy Taiwan,” the cable said.
China’s boycott of Kaohsiung by asking its citizens not to visit the city after a film festival hosted by the city earlier in 2009 showed a film about World Uyghur Congress leader Rebiya Kadeer, who lives in exile in the US, showed that China was treating Taiwan like a “little brother” and undermining its freedom of expression, she said.
China favored President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the KMT, but Ma still had an obligation to uphold Taiwan’s values and dignity, Chen Chu told Stanton.
She called on the US to continue to abide by its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and implored the US not to “give up” on a democratic Taiwan.
In related news, another recently released cable dated March 30, 2009, and issued by the US embassy in Beijing showed that a Chinese official, whose name was kept anonymous, told the US that Taiwan’s participation as an observer at World Health Assembly (WHA) meetings that year demonstrated what could be achieved based on the “one China, very broadly interpreted” concept.
Taiwan was invited to attend the WHA as an observer for the first time in 28 years since the Republic of China relinquished its UN seat in 1971.
The anonymous Chinese official also raised concerns over China’s “core interests” in Tibet and US arms sales to Taiwan, which he said could “derail” bilateral Sino-US cooperation.
China was concerned by reports of possible “very important” and “potent” arms sales to Taiwan, including 60 Blackhawk helicopters and F-16C/D aircraft, the official said.
“Such arms sales were a ‘very serious issue’ for China,” the official was quoted as saying in the cable.
The US official replied that there had been no change to the US’ “one China” policy based on the Three Joint Communiques and the TRA.
In accordance with the TRA, the US made available to Taiwan articles that allowed Taiwan to maintain a credible defense and the official urged China to take steps to reduce military deployments aimed at Taiwan, the cable showed.