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Thursday, November 13, 2008


Open letter on erosion of justice in Taiwan

Add your signature

The "Open letter on erosion of justice in Taiwan" is online in petition form, and you can add your signature to it by clicking the preceding link. Here's the text of the letter [I've edited stray code and formatting, but unless otherwise noted, the text is identical to the original]:
Open letter on erosion of justice in Taiwan

The undersigned, scholars and writers from the US, Europe and Australia, wish to express their deep concern about the recent series of detentions in Taiwan of present and former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government officials. To date there have been at least seven such cases. [Maddog note: The detention of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) without an indictment brings that number to (at least) eight.]

It is obvious that there have been cases of corruption in Taiwan, but these have occurred in both political camps. The political neutrality of the judicial system is an essential element in a democracy. It is also essential that any accused are considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.

We also believe that the procedures followed by the prosecutor's offices are severely flawed: while one or two of the accused have been formally charged, the majority is being held incommunicado without being charged. This is a severe contravention of the writ of habeas corpus and a basic violation of due process, justice and the rule of law.

In the meantime, the prosecutor's offices evidently leak detrimental information to the press. This kind of "trial by press" is a violation of the basic standards of judicial procedures. It also gives the distinct impression that the Kuomintang (KMT) authorities are using the judicial system to get even with members of the former DPP government.

In addition, the people who are being held incommunicado are of course unable to defend themselves against the misreporting and the leaks in the news media.

We do firmly believe that any alleged wrongdoings must be dealt with in a fair and open manner in an impartial court. Justice through the rule of law is essential to Taiwan's efforts to consolidate democracy and protect fundamental human rights.

We do not want to see Taiwan's hard-earned democracy jeopardized in this manner. Taiwan can justifiably be proud of its transition to democracy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It would be sad for Taiwan and detrimental to its international image if the progress which was made during the past 20 years would be erased. Taiwan needs to move forward, not backwards to the unfair and unjust procedures as practiced during the dark days of Martial Law (1947-1987).


Julian Baum
Former Far Eastern Economic Review bureau chief

Nat Bellocchi
Former American Institute in Taiwan chairman

Coen Blaauw
Formosan Association for Public Affairs, Washington

David Prager Branner
Director at large (East Asia),
American Oriental Society

Gordon G. Chang
Author of
The Coming Collapse of China

PROF. June Teufel Dreyer
University of Miami

PROF. Edward Friedman
University of Wisconsin

PROF. Bruce Jacobs
Monash University

Richard C. Kagan
Professor emeritus,
Hamline University

Jerome Keating
Author and former associate professor, National Taipei University

ASSOC. PROF. Daniel Lynch
School of International Relations, University of Southern California

PROF. Victor H. Mair
University of Pennsylvania

ASSOC. PROF. Donald Rodgers
Austin College

PROF. Terence Russell
University of Manitoba

PROF. Scott Simon
University of Ottawa

John J. Tkacik Jr
Senior research fellow,
The Heritage Foundation

Gerrit van der Wees
Editor, Taiwan Communique

PROF. Arthur Waldron
University of Pennsylvania

PROF. Vincent Wei-cheng Wang
University of Richmond

Stephen Yates
President of DC Asia Advisory and former deputy assistant to the vice president for national security affairs.
Go add your name right this minute -- while you still can.

Reasons to sign: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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