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Rep. Rohrabacher: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back in Taiwan

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Today, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R), praised Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou for his courageous decision to continue New Tang Dynasty broadcasts to Communist China on the satellite operated by the Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), a corporation in which the Taiwan government is the largest shareholder.

"It is heartening to see the government and people of Taiwan are not going to buckle under pressure from Communist China," said Rohrabacher. "Cutting off NTD broadcasts would be a sign of approval of Communist repression."

Earlier in the year, CHT announced it was dropping NTD due to inadequate bandwidth capacity on its new ST-2 communications satellite. Protests from both the international community and from domestic opposition groups concerned with media freedom eventually persuaded the Ma administration to intervene. The government prevailed upon CHT to make room on its satellite for NTD programming aimed at breaking the censorship and media control exercised by the Beijing regime.

"The Communist dictatorship will not last forever," said Rep. Rohrabacher. "When it is thrown out, those who were on the right side of history, standing together for freedom will be honored as heroes."

"Unfortunately, while there are steps forward in Taiwan, there are also steps backward," noted Rep. Rohrabacher referring to charges of embezzlement brought against former President Lee Teng-Hui. Lee was the island's first elected president, serving from 1988-2000; and the first president born in Taiwan. A member of the Kuomintang party (KMT), Lee was a reformer who brought the country into the democratic era after decades of KMT dictatorship under leaders who fled the mainland. In an attempt to intimidate the people of Taiwan not to vote for Lee in 1996, Beijing threatened to attack the island, but the Taiwanese did not cower.

After leaving office, Lee was expelled from the KMT for his role in founding the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU). The TSU and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the Green coalition in opposition to the KMT-led Blue coalition that elected Ma. Former President Chen Shui-bian, who followed Lee into office as the first elected DPP leader (winning two terms) is currently serving a 17-year jail sentence after being convicted on corruption charges also brought under the current government.

"The attempt by the KMT to criminalize the political debate over relations with Communist China is very troubling." said Rep. Rohrabacher. "Lee not only fostered democracy, he also helped create a Taiwanese identity based on the success of the island's people in building a prosperous and free society.

"He is one of the heroes of the 20th century in the fight for human liberty. Lee brought his nation through some tough times, but there are more tough times ahead as Communist China continues to pressure the democratic island into surrendering."

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