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