GOING TO THE TOP
A White House official said the US president would give every consideration to a letter appealing for support for the pro-democracy organization
By William Lowther
STAFF REPORTER , WASHINGTON
Monday, Jun 22, 2009, Page 3
A congressman has asked US President Barack Obama to become directly involved in the growing controversy over the future of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). (TFD 為台灣民主基金會)
Robert Andrews, a Democrat from New Jersey, said in a letter to the White House that the TFD’s existence and present general policy directions were very much in line with the “fundamental values of democracy and human rights which Taiwan shares with the US.”
It goes on to ask Obama to “urge” President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his administration to “let the TFD do its useful work the way it had done over the past six years.”
信中要求歐巴馬敦促馬英九政府讓台灣民主基金會能夠一如過去六年做它該做(有用)的事. 註: TFD是2003年成立的
A number of other Congressmen are expected to publicly support Andrews’ letter later this week.
The White House could not confirm last night that Obama had actually read the letter, but an official said: “It’s an important and significant subject and I am sure he will give it every consideration.”
In the letter to Obama, Andrews said that he was writing “to bring an issue to your attention that is of great concern.”
He added: “Recently, news reports from Taiwan have come to our attention that the administration of Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou is planning to curtail the activities of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, reversing the Foundation’s policies of supporting democratic movements in other countries on grounds that this may offend the autocratic government of the People’s Republic of China and replacing the TFD’s personnel with people sympathetic to this accommodationalist philosophy.”
(近來的台灣新聞報導讓我們注意到馬政府打算阻擋台灣民主基金會的活動, 修改基金會支持其他國家民主活動的政策以免惹惱中國政府, 並撤換基金會人員)
The TFD was founded in 2003 and modeled on the US’ National Endowment for Democracy with the aim of promoting democracy and human rights in Asia.
“The TFD liaised with Tibetan and Chinese dissident groups as well as organizations from the Czech Republic, former East Germany, Hungary and Poland, inviting speakers to Taiwan to discuss such issues as transitional justice and human rights,” the letter said.
“In January of this year, it also invited Freedom House to Taiwan to present its annual report of freedom in the world. It also supports democracy activists in Cuba,” it said.
Andrews added that he was concerned the Ma administration was seeking accommodation with China “at the expense of freedom and democracy, not only in Taiwan itself, but also in China and Tibet.”
“This would constitute another blow to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” he said.
延伸閱讀: Bad rap on rights is Ma's making Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009, Page 8
The political storm brewing over an approaching personnel reshuffle at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy was anything but inevitable.
Not long after news emerged that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) intended to make changes to the foundation’s board of directors, various organizations in Taiwan and the US began accusing Ma of interfering in the affairs of this reputable organization. One US congressman has gone so far as to call on US President Barack Obama to get involved.