A Letter To Senator Cardin

Jack Healey, the Founder of the Human Rights Action Center


Senator Ben Cardin
509 Hart Senator Office
Building Washington, D.C., 20510

Dear Honorable Senator Cardin,

First, thank you for being a leading voice in support of human rights over the years. I would like to bring to your attention one human rights case I have been involved in personally and it is high time that this case is resolved once and for all.

I am referring to the case of the former President of Taiwan, Chen Shui-Bian. Through the recent presidential election in Taiwan on January 13, 2024, Taiwanese people defied the threats by Xi of People Republic of China again to elect Lai Ching-Te, a pro-Taiwan sovereignty candidate of DPP into power for a third term in a row. However, DPP has not resolved the human rights violations against its former leader, President of Taiwan from 2000 to 2008, after the last eight years in power.

As you know, within six months after he stepped down from his two-term presidency, President Chen was immediately taken into custody without fair trials, and was punished in a tiny cell without a running toilet for nearly six years by his rival successor, President Ma of KMT, a.k.a, Chinese Nationalist Party, until his health had failed. He was finally released on medical parole. I worked with several Taiwanese activists for five years to help his release.

In 2016 when President Tsai Ing-Wen of DPP was elected, we had high hope that she would wipe clean this miscarriage of human rights and pardon President Chen. However, after eight years, President Chen is still in the same legal limbo, having to apply for an extension of medical parole every three months.

Why is President Tsai so reluctant to face this human rights case? Compared with the votes President Tsai received in 2020, DPP has lost nearly 3 million votes, mainly due to the alleged corruptions and abuse of power by President Tsai's administration. President-elect Lai will have a daunting task to push through his agenda without a DPP majority in the new congress due to this massive loss of votes.

We believe that President-elect Lai should fulfill his campaign promise to pardon President Chen without delay. This is a righteous step to heal a nation which has been hurt by many human rights atrocities, started with the 228 massacres in 1947. After this proactive step, President-elect Lai should also investigate the causes of losing nearly 3 million votes, particularly those related to human rights. After all, the best defense of Taiwan against China's territory threat is democracy and human rights.

DPP started out as a dissident party against the totalitarian rule by KMT. However, there have been several alleged censorships against free speech and weaponization of the judicial system against President Tsai's critics in the last eight years.

I believe a powerful voice of yours can help harden the resolve of President-elect Lai to right the wrongs and heal the nation for Taiwanese people. Please send a letter to President-elect Lai to congratulate him for his win and to urge him to initiate the national healing by pardoning President Chen.


Jack Healey
Human Rights Action Center
451 First Street, SE
Washington, D.C., 20003



首先,感謝您多年來作為人權的主要代言人。 我想提請您注意我個人參與的一個人權案件,現在是徹底解決該案件的時候了。

我指的是台灣前總統陳水扁的案件。 透過最近2024年1月13日的台灣總統選舉,台灣人民再次不顧中華人民共和國習近平的威脅,選護台主權候選人賴清德, 讓民進黨連任總統三屆。 然而,在執政八年後,民進黨仍未解決2000年至2008年台灣總統的人權問題。

陳總統在卸任兩屆總統後不到六個月,就未經公正審判立即被拘留,並被他的繼任國民黨(又稱中國國民黨)對手馬總統關在沒有沖水馬桶的小牢房裡近六年, 直到他的健康狀況惡化。 他最後被保外就醫。 我與幾位台灣人士一起工作了五年,以幫助他獲釋。

016年民進黨總統蔡英文當選時,我們曾寄予厚望,希望她能洗刷這種對人權的踐踏,並赦免陳總統。 然而,八年過去了,陳總統仍然處於同樣的法律困境,每三個月就必須申請延期保外就醫。

為何蔡總統如此不願面對這起人權案件? 與蔡總統2020年獲得的選票相比,民進黨損失了近300萬張選票,主要原因是蔡總統政府涉嫌貪腐和濫用權力。 由於選票大幅流失, 民進黨在新國會中沒有獲得多數席位,賴當選總統將面臨艱鉅的任務來推動其議程。

我們認為,賴當選總統應該兌現競選承諾,立即赦免陳總統。 這是正義一步來治癒一個自1947 年228大屠殺以來遭受許多人權暴行傷害的國家。在採取這一積極措施後,當選總統賴清德還應該調查失去近300 萬張選票的原因,特別是那些與人權有關事件。 畢竟,台灣抵禦中國領土威脅的最佳防禦是民主和人權。

民進黨最初是反對國民黨極權統治的異議政黨。 然而,在過去八年裡,已經發生了幾起針對言論自由的審查和司法系統針對蔡總統的批評者武器化的事件。我相信您有力的聲音可以堅定當選總統賴清德糾正錯誤、為台灣人民治癒國家的決心。 請致函賴當選總統,祝賀他獲勝,並敦促他透過赦免陳總統來啟動國家療癒。