Open letter on erosion of justice in Taiwan
Thursday, Nov 06, 2008, Page 8
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.
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 （前《遠東經濟評論》社長）
Nat Bellocchi 白樂崎, Former American Institute in Taiwan chairman（前美國在台協會理事主席）
Coen Blaauw, Formosan Association for Public Affairs, Washington（台灣人公共事務協會）
David Prager Branner, Director at large (East Asia), American Oriental Society（美國東方學會）
Gordon G. Chang, Author of “The Coming Collapse of China“（《中國即將崩潰》作者）
PROF. June Teufel Dreyer, University of Miami（邁阿密大學外交政策研究中心教授）
PROF. Edward Friedman, University of Wisconsin（威斯康辛大學麥迪遜分校政治系教授）
PROF. Bruce Jacobs, Monash University（澳洲莫那許大學中國研究學程教授）
Richard C. Kagan, Professor emeritus, Hamline University（美國亨萊大學歷史系教授）
Jerome Keating 祈夫潤, Author and former associate professor, National Taipei University（前台北大學副教授，台灣2008年：佇足於十字路口的亞洲民主–祈夫潤博士（Jerome F. Keating）演講會影音）
ASSOC. PROF. Daniel Lynch, School of International Relations, University of Southern California（南加大國際關係學院教授）
PROF. Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania（賓州大學中國語文學教授）
ASSOC. PROF. Donald Rodgers, Austin College（奧斯汀學院教授）
PROF. Terence Russell, University of Manitoba（加拿大曼尼托巴大學教授）
PROF. Scott Simon, University of Ottawa（加拿大渥太華大學教授）
John J. Tkacik Jr 譚慎格, Senior research fellow, The Heritage Foundation （美國傳統基金會資深研究員）
Gerrit van der Wees, Editor, Taiwan Communique（《台灣公報》編輯）
PROF. Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania（賓州大學教授）
PROF. Vincent Wei-cheng Wang 王維正, University of Richmond（美國李奇蒙大學政治系主任）
Stephen Yates 葉望輝, President of DC Asia Advisory and former deputy assistant to the vice president for national security affairs. （華府首席亞洲顧問＆前美國副總統國安事務副助理國務卿）