For many years we have worked together for justice for former President Chen Shui-bian (CSB). I will not belabor the obvious extent of physical and mental damage CSB has suffered under the brutal treatment he was subjected to by Chinese Nationalist Ma. This is well documented in the media and Congressional records. It was you who first suggested that a medical team from the U.S. could help clear up whether or not CSB was physically and mentally ill due to years of torture during incarceration in prison. I took up your suggestion and the rest is history. Your initiative in this mission must be gratefully acknowledged. I’ve visited CSB four times during incarceration and another 4 times after his release on medical parole in Kaohsiung and I am convinced that he has not fully recovered and has probably suffered permanent physical and mental damage. Medical professionals have confirmed this. The after effects of the torture remain despite his release on medical parole. For at least four years before his release on a number of occasions, I had pleaded for intercession with the DPP leadership including now President Tsai, Presidential Office Secretary General Joseph Wu and other leaders to push for medical parole and to the extent these leaders had advocated for his release in their own way, I and other advocates for CSB’s human rights are grateful.
Several months ago, frustrated by the lack of initiative on the part of the Tsai Administration in expediting or granting total pardon of CSB, some of our local friends and I decided that Congressman Chabot who has an outspoken public record of advocating for CSB should be the one we should continue to support and to ask for his intercession in this vital mission. Also knowing that Congress is extremely busy with all the issues of reform and/or repeal of Obama Care and now tax reform, I decided not to have Chabot visit us as offered by his Cincinnati campaign office but instead, to conduct our mini events and individually generate financial support for Chabot’s primary and general elections next year. Through our local initiatives which cost no more that about $300 of hard expenses, we were able to raise $12,650 from mostly small donations from dozens of supporters and from as far away as southern California and the east coast. Our local leaders with our objective in mind, rallied our community through private dinners and speeches to support Chabot. Our plan was to ask him if he could do two things: One, to contact the State Department and ask that CSB be invited to the U.S. for medical rehabilitation and treatment and second, to either call or write President Tsai to grant CSB full pardon so that he may have the freedom so vital to his recovery. Upon my request, Chabot call me and we discussed how he may further help with this human rights issue. He was very forthcoming and receptive to the two ideas and that he will instruct his foreign policy staffer to contact me and we can work together on the drafts. I was told by staff that it will take just a few days for the drafts to be completed and that my input will be appreciated. I also received updates on the status. However, it has now been several weeks and my follow up messages to D.C. staff have been unanswered.
It has now been confirmed that FAPA HQ which has absolutely nothing to do with this local initiative had intervened or more accurately, interfered and put a stop to what Chabot and I had agreed to do. If HQ determined that our local effort in any way is detrimental to U.S. national security interest or inconsistent with the U.S. One China policy, the proper thing to do is to at least contact me to discuss this issue. To interfere with a grassroots effort for a human rights issue is improper at the least and perhaps illegal from the standpoint of FAPA. This is truly unfortunate that a grass roots group of Taiwanese Americans concerned with human rights for CSB has been stopped from achieving what is their legal right to do.
I submit that the FAPA Board include the above issue in their upcoming meeting in December. The legality of the interference needs to be addressed and if a remedy, legal or otherwise, is called for, it will need to be decided. Did FAPA violate its own charter or is it legally allowed to interfere with grassroots initiatives unrelated to FAPA?