Objective: This Taiwan Human Rights Special Award is established by Formosan Association for Human Rights (FAHR) to recognize those who have made tremendous contributions in supporting human rights in Taiwan or those who are subject to atrocious human rights violations, whereas their sufferings have far-reaching effects on Taiwan’s struggle for its sovereignty and democracy. By establishing this Award, FAHR also wishes to draw attention to current human rights violations in Taiwan, to awaken Taiwanese to support human rights proactively, and to reverse the rapid erosion of human rights in Taiwan since the Chinese Nationalist Party government took power in 2008. This Special Award is not a regular annual human rights award given by FAHR. The recipient of this Award is solely nominated and voted by the Board of FAHR on an ad hoc basis each year. The award recipient will receive an Award Plaque and the recipient is limited to one or left vacant each year.
Inauguration Recipient: Former President of Taiwan Chen Shui Bian.
Background: The modern Taiwanese history is a series of human rights violations events and the struggles to overcome them. The first major human rights violation in the modern history of Taiwan was the 228-massacre in 1947, the political persecution soon after, the white terror era during the thirty-five years of martial laws imposed by the Chinese Nationalist government, which was established in Taiwan after Chiang Kai-Shek fled to Taiwan. An entire generation of Taiwanese elites, such as writers, lawyers, doctors, artists, and local politicians, were murdered and the massacre had infested fear deep in Taiwanese to deter them from participating in politics. This fear was only partially lifted in the mid 70s and early 80s when the democratic movement started to gain momentum. The second major human rights violation occurred when the Chinese Nationalist government decided to suppress the budding democratic movement by orchestrating riots in a peaceful rally organized by a political dissident group on December 10, 1979. This dissident group was known for publishing the magazine, Formosa, to promote democracy in Taiwan. By accusing the dissidents of treason by committing organized violence against police officers and anti-riot forces to overthrow the government, the Chinese Nationalist government started large-scale arrests of the dissidents. During the trials of the detained dissidents, the mother and twin daughters of one prominent dissident, Lin Yi-Hsiung, were murdered in an execution style in his house during the day while his house was under 24-hour police surveillance. Several political murders, such as those of Cheng Nan-Ron, Chen Wen-Cheng, and Wang Kong-Lu, followed throughout the 80s. However, the jailing and killing tactics by the Chinese Nationalist government did not stop the Taiwan democratization movements. Eventually, after the death of Chiang Ching-Kuo in 1988, Taiwan had turned into a full fledge democracy under the leadership of two democratically elected Presidents Lee Teng-Hui and Chen Shui Bian in the following 20 years. In particular, when first elected in 2000, President Chen established human rights and freedom of speech as the corner stones of his administration, a first in modern Taiwan history. However, the Chinese Nationalist party, teamed up with some opportunistic Taiwanese politicians, started a non-stop smear campaign, under the protection of freedom of speech, to attack Chen’s character. Toward the end of the second term of Chen, the Chinese Nationalist Party orchestrated a near coup with a group of Red Shirt Guards with slogans of “anti-corruption”, which severely weakened Chen’s presidency. A few months after Chen stepped down as the President of Taiwan, his successor, Ma Yin-Jeou, also the chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party, immediately started the prosecution of Chen on bogus corruption charges. The Chinese Nationalist government has been behind numerous judicial abuses against Chen, such as jailing Chen without bail before filing any charges, intimidating witnesses, replacing a legally assigned judge, fabricating testimonies, and finally handing down illegal guilty verdicts. Chen has been in jail since November 11, 2008 when he was first detained without charges and is currently serving a 19-year sentence in Taipei Prison, handed down by the Taiwan High Court, which reached the guilt verdict unilaterally, breaking established judicial protocols in Taiwan. Usually, the High Court returns the case back to a lower court for retrial if it does not agree with the verdict of the lower court, which acquitted Chen. Even though only Chen is imprisoned, the effect of his persecution and the blatant way his human rights were violated have such a far-reaching effect that it should be denoted as the third major human rights violation in Taiwan’s modern history. By punishing Chen, the Chinese Nationalist party successfully re-infested fear in Taiwanese, weakened the main opposition party (Democratic Progress Party) by labeling them as corrupted, and intimidated former comrades of Chen to sever ties with Chen. As a result, Chinese Nationalist Party, with help from Chinese Communist Party, won the presidential elections in 2008 and 2012 handily. They also control the Taiwan Congress with an absolute majority and re-assume the power they enjoyed when they were the one party government in Taiwan before 1988. They have a firm control on legislative, judicial, economical, and media systems. With such absolute power in hand, the Nationalist government started to abuse its power without checks and balances. Recent examples of abuses include forced land grab by the government through destroying rice fields ripe for harvesting, illegal tear-down of historically designated houses in name of economic development, wide spread censorship, collective corruption via public projects with bloated budgets, and political persecution against members of opposition party under the decal of judicial courts. In less than four years, Taiwan’s democracy has been seriously eroded; its economy is trapped deeply into the predatory economy system of China; stagflation is taking hold; there were cover-up of epidemics of bird and swine flu by the government to aid Ma’s bid for re-election; there are prevalent suicides of people in poverty by breathing in carbon monoxides generated from burning charcoals, prompting the government to restrict the sale of barbecue charcoals; applications of double standards and selective prosecution have become a norm in Taiwan; and, ultimately, Ma Yin-Jeou, though recently re-elected as President of Taiwan, unilaterally proposed to the Communist government of China to make Taiwan as a special district of China without the consent of Taiwanese, resulting in an immediate crisis of Taiwan’s sovereignty. From the above developments, it is clear that the political persecution of Chen Shui Bian has an effect as far-reaching as those of the 228-massacre and the Formosan dissidents jailing.
At this critical juncture, FAHR decided to establish this Taiwan Human Rights Special Award and selected President Chen Shui Bian as the inauguration recipient. Through this Special Award, FAHR aims at drawing attention to the blatant human rights violations against President Chen, re-awakening general public’s passion for social justice, and joining the rescuing efforts by several grass root groups to support President Chen’s basic human rights in life, medical treatment, and justice.
Justification: President Chen is selected as the recipient of this Special Award based on his life long endeavor to defend human rights and his own suffering of human rights violations. During the trials of Formosan dissidents in 1980, he, urged by his wife, Wu Shu-Cheng, joined the legal team to defend the wrongly accused dissidents. By doing so, he gave up his lucratively profitable law firm in business laws and became a prominent figure in defending human rights in Taiwan. However, he has to pay a terrible price for his courageous and noble act. His wife was permanently paralyzed from waist down after she was hit twice in a suspicious accident in 1985. In 1986, he also served ten months in prison for libel because he was on the editorial board of a magazine, which published an article to accuse a prominent Nationalist Party member of plagiarism. He was found guilty even though he did not write the article and the plagiarism was proven to be factual. During his one-year imprisonment, he wrote many appeals for other inmates on the jail floor as there were no desks in the jail cell. During his presidency from 2000 to 2008, citizen of Taiwan enjoyed absolute freedom of speech and many government programs were created to help disadvantaged and underprivileged people. For these accomplishments, he received the 35th International Human Rights Award from International League for Human Rights in New York in 2003, thus bring international recognition to Taiwan as a nation of human rights.
Ironically, after a life long endeavor to support human rights, President Chen is now subject to blatant human rights violations against him right before our eyes. Ma Yin-Jeou and his Chinese Nationalist government have purposely jailed Chen in a small and damp cell for near four years. Chen’s health has rapidly deteriorated due to this inhuman imprisonment condition, but the prison authority often discounted his unmistaken symptoms of heart and lung conditions and had delayed and shortened his checkups and treatments in hospitals. By continuing to imprison him in the same inhuman condition, the Ma administration is essentially condemning him to death. While the leaders of opposition parties have selfishly and cowardly turned their heads and make no real efforts to fight for his basic human rights, many grass root groups and individuals have courageously stood up to demand his release in spite of lacking resources to make a strong push.
With this Special Award, FAHR wants to acknowledge President Chen’s tremendous contributions toward human rights in Taiwan, to bring his current suffering of human rights violations to international attention, and to join the grass root effort to save his life. FAHR hopes that this grass root effort will grow into a mainstream movement in Taiwan to fight for Taiwan’s democracy and sovereignty. On a humanitarian level, FAHR wishes to end President Chen’s inhuman imprisonment so that he can unite with his eighty-five years old mother, loving wife, and his children. His mother is nearly blind due to excessive crying over his son’s inhuman imprisonment.
( Note：It was thanks to Prof. Jay Tu to tranlate this article into English. - Taiwan eNews)
宗旨: 全美台灣人權協會創設此項「特別獎」，目的在於肯定對台灣人權之維護或救援受難有特殊貢獻及深遠影響的當代人士。本會期待藉由此獎，彰顯目前台灣人權的迫切議題，重新喚起台灣人權意識，扭轉自2008年馬政權與國民黨復辟後，台灣人權正義面臨毀於一旦的危機。本特別獎不屬於本會年度常設的人權獎，每年得獎人由理事會視需要提名，討論並投票選出，每年以從缺或一名為限，得獎人獲頒「人權特別獎 」一座。
首屆得獎人 : 前台灣民選總統陳水扁先生.
緣由 : 從人權史觀，台灣近代史是台灣人權受難與救援的悲壯見証。第一次台灣人權大受難是 1947年228大屠殺及之後的「清鄉」、「綏靖」、「戒嚴」及「白色恐佈」。台灣人菁英被誅殺殆盡，台灣人因而驚悚怕談政治。直到 1970 及80年代初期的黨外運動，台灣人被禁錮的心靈才逐漸解開。第二次台灣人權大受難是1980年代，中國國民黨為了摧毀發芽的人權種子，泡製美麗島事件，大肆逮捕政治犯，犯下滔天的林宅祖孫血案、及鄭南榕、陳文成、王康陸等政治命案。中國國民黨的黑牢與鎮壓終究抵擋不住台灣人的民主意識。台灣終於在李登輝與陳水扁兩位民選總統任期內，轉化為自由民主國家。特別是陳總統以人權立國，建立台灣史無前例、具有百分之百的言論自由以及人權無價的現代文明國家。然而中國國民黨權貴連結台奸，濫用台灣民主先輩以生命爭取來的言論自由，對陳總統進行日以繼夜的人格謀殺，進而發動紅衫軍政變，再以司法羅織貪污罪名。在他卸任後，立即未審先禁，押人取供，任換法官，串作偽証，違法判處重刑。陳總統在黑牢煉獄中受難已近四年，雖然只是陳總統個人受囚禁，其影響之深遠，可稱為台灣人權第三次大受難。藉由赤裸裸構陷陳水扁總統，中國國民黨政權成功的在台灣人心靈重新佈下恐懼，並藉貪腐標簽貼死民進黨，造成短視同志切割自保；中國國民黨則結合中國共產黨，兩次取得台灣總統大位，繼而全面掌控立法、司法、經濟與媒體。從此肆無忌憚，濫用公權，摧殘結穗良田，拆佔合法民宅，收買堵塞媒體批評，共犯結構集体貪污，戴著民主司法假面具，恢復過去迫害人權的威權統治。短短4年，台灣民主大倒退，經濟被中國鎖住，漲價、瘟疫、輕生悲劇頻傳，雙重標準成為社會常態，司法不公，辦綠不辦藍更成慣例；民選總統自廢為特首區長，造成台灣國家主權岌岌可危。由此可見陳水扁被政治迫害對台灣未來的影響絕不亞於 228 大屠殺與美麗島事件的大逮捕。
理由 : 無論從人權之維護或救援受難層面來看，陳總統是首屆人權特別獎的當然人選。美麗島事件大逮捕時期，他在夫人吳淑珍女士敦促下，放棄優渥的海事法律師事業，參與辯護律師團，從此成為台灣人權救援的指標人士。他也因此付出受難的代價：夫人吳女士受政治車禍終生殘癈，他也被以妨害名譽罪名入獄一年。入獄期間，他終日蹲地替犯人撰寫訴狀。在2000年當選總統後，他倡導人權立國， 照顧弱勢，主張百分之百言論自由，任內八年是台灣史上最民主自由平等的時期。 2003年，他在 New York 獲頒國際人權聯盟 (International League for Human Rights) 的第 35 屆國際人權獎，讓台灣人權的進步躍上國際舞台。
意義 : 藉此特別獎, 本會嚴正表達下列立場: