Monday, March 24, 2014

Urgent Action Request to Amnesty

Letter to Amnesty Urgent Action <>, (cc Alex Neve)

Subject: Riot Police Use Force to Evict Protesters in Taipei, Taiwan 

Dear Marilyn McKim, 

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada is concerned about the ongoing protests in Taiwan that have escalated over the past 48 hours, particularly regarding the excessive use of force used to evict protesters. Please see the summary below, and consider making this issue an urgent action. 


Austin Yan
Vice President, Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada


Ongoing protests that started on March 17 in Taipei escalated Sunday, March 23, as protesters occupied Taiwan's Executive Yuan (Premier's offices) provoking a rapid and violet police response resulting in 137  njured as of 7:00 am, March 24, local time. The protest stems from widespread opposition to the Cross-strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA), a controversial agreement opening Taiwan's services industry to Chinese businesses, potentially compromising Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty due to increased Chinese economic and political pressure. The trade pact was initially negotiated behind closed doors in June 2013. Public opposition resulted in a government promise to review the draft agreement, clause-by-clause. Yet, on March 17 last week, the chair of the Legislature Internal Administrative Committee, Chang Ching-chung, declared the review to have passed though no review was ever held. Public outrage resulted in the student-led protests including the student occupation of the legislature that evening. Since then, over ten thousand have joined in the streets surrounding Taiwan's Legislative buildings.

Tensions are high in Taiwan with the protesters demanding that the trade pact be retracted and that a law on oversight of Taiwan-China negotiations be passed, to ensure transparency in future contacts. A press release from Amnesty International on March 19 stated that "the situation is clearly tense and security forces must show restraint... authorities must ensure the rights of all those protesting are upheld and respected". The use of force, including water cannons, pepper spray, and beatings, to violently evict a group of protesters yesterday demonstrates a lack of restraint by riot police and the government, raising serious concerns for the safety and rights of non-violent protesters.

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada asks that you express your concern for democracy in Taiwan and urge restraint on all parties, especially the government which gives orders to the police. We hope that a peaceful resolution can be achieved leading to a resumption of clause –by-clause review of this bill, and that efforts to improve transparency and accountability in the government will preserve and maintain democracy and human rights for the people of Taiwan.

Please send appeals to:

President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
Ma Ying-jeou
No. 122, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd., Zhongzheng District
Taipei City 10048, Taiwan (ROC) 
Tel: +886-2-2311-3731


Amnesty Press release: Taiwan: Restraint Urged in Protests Over China Trade Deal 

Focus Taiwan News: 137 sent to hospitals during week-long protest: bureau

The Diplomat: Riot Police Crack Down on Taiwanese Protesters

Wall Street Journal: Taiwan Police Evict Protesters From Cabinet Building

Sunday, February 23, 2014

THRAC President visits Chen Shui-bian

Chen Shui-bian thanks THRAC for cards and concern

 THRAC President Michael Stainton spent an hour visiting with Chen Shui-bian 陳水扁at the Taichung Prison on January 24, accompanied by former legislator Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) and Kaohsiung Legislator Qiu Zhiwei (邱志偉) . Chen's situation was not as bad as expected. He looked good, though he has some trembling of his hands and an occasional slight stutter. He was using a wheel-chair because his balance is bad. Seven prisoners work on shifts as his caregivers. Chen spoke for most of the hour discussing DPP chances in the upcoming year-end election. So though his brain has some shrinkage, which is the source of his other physical problems, he is still very much engaged in Taiwan's political life.

 Michael gave him a new book on George Leslie Mackay, and they all prayed together. The visit took place around a big table in a pleasant living room in his small house with an official from the prison sitting at the other end taking occasional notes, but not interfering in the visit. There was no time limit imposed on the visit by the prison.

Chen remembered and expressed thanks for the concern THRAC has shown for him. He said he has received the cards we have mailed him.

Monday, October 21, 2013

We Condemn President Ma's Traitorous Speech

On Thursday, representatives of the Association of Taiwanese Organizations in Toronto (ATOT) presented the attached statement - We Condemn Ma's Traitorous Speech - to TECO Toronto, and issued it to the media. THRAC is a member of ATOT.  Michael Stainton helped edit the statement and translated it into English, shown below:


THRAC received a request from FAPA USA to help file a complaint against air Canada for refusing two Taiwanese people, with ROC (Taiwan) passports  boarding on a flight from Washington to Toronto - because they were citizens of "China" and so needed a visa to visit Canada. Austin Yan is working on this case. 

This past weekend, the Federation for a Democratic China held a major international conference in Markham, on democratizing China. THRAC members Albert Lin and Michael Stainton spoke at the conference.