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THE MURDER OF HENRY LIU
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1985
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
Washington, DC. The subcommittee met at 1:40 p.m., in room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Stephen J. Solarz (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. SOLARZ. The subcommittee will come to order.
I would appreciate it if people in the hearing room could find seats so that we can get underway.
This constitutes the first hearing in the 99th session of Congress of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and I want to take this opportunity, first of all, to welcome the new members of the subcommittee who have joined us this year, particularly Mr. Roth from Wisconsin, who served with great distinction on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the past, but who joins us as a member of the subcommittee this year for the first time.
I am pleased that my good friend and colleague from upstate New York, Mr. Solomon, is back for another 2 years on the subcommittee. I am especially delighted that Mr. Leach, the gentleman from Iowa, is joining the subcommittee as its ranking minority member. He follows in the footsteps of one of the truly outstanding Members of the Congress, Joel Pritchard from the State of Washington, who retired after 6 very distinguished years in the House. I am very much looking forward to the same kind of very close and cooperative bipartisan relationship with Mr. Leach that I was privileged to enjoy with Mr. Pritchard.
I am also pleased to take note of the presence today of an alumnus of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, but who remains a colleague on the full Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Lantos from California. He will not be serving as a member of the subcommittee this year, but who has a very special interest in the matter which brings us here today, and at whose suggestion this hearing was convened.
And so let me now, if I might, get to the business at hand. Henry Liu was an American citizen of Chinese ancestry. He was a journalist who wrote on the politics of Taiwan, where he lived for almost 20 years after 1949. In his work, he married the principles of American investigative reporting to a characteristically Chinese focus on the morality of public officials.
One might quarrel with what Henry Liu had to say, but no one can dispute the fact that his right to write as he wished was pro
tected by the American Constitution. Apparently his freedom of speech was not protected enough, for Henry Liu was found shot to death on the morning of October 15, in his garage in Daly City, CA.
The subsequent investigation revealed that the crime itself was planned and carried out by members of a Taiwan criminal association-known as the Bamboo Gang. Two of the gang members have been charged with murder by the State of California. Even more startling was the January 15 announcement by the Taiwan Government that three officials in its Military Intelligence Bureau were involved in the killing and apparently responsible for recruiting the assassins for this reprehensible assignment.
How exactly the officials of the military bureau were involved is not yet publicly clear, but it was sufficiently grave to lead to Taipei's announcement and to the arrest of the three officials.
I cannot exaggerate the sense of outrage which the reported involvement of officials of the Taiwan Government in the murder of an American citizen on American soil provokes in me. The genius of the American system of government is that it offers broad opportunities for people politically to think, speak, and act as they wish. It should not offer any opportunity whatsoever to foreign governments to punish critics of their regimes who happen to reside in the United States.
I know that there may be some disagreement among members of the committee and in the Congress over whether the United States should put pressure on repressive regimes abroad to respect the human rights of people in their own territory. But I am sure we all agree that the territory of the United States should not be allowed to become a hunting ground for foreign governments wishing to stifle dissent.
Part of my outrage stems from the knowledge that this is not the first time that Taiwan has abused the freedoms of individuals in the United States. In the past, there have been numerous credible charges of surveillance, intimidation, and harassment in the United States by agents of Taiwan's intelligence services, particularly with respect to Taiwanese students in our country.
Three and a half years ago, Prof. Chen Wen-cheng, a Taiwanese permanent resident on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University, was detained, interrogated, and killed while in Taiwan. Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee will remember that hearings of this subcommittee revealed that Professor Chen was targeted for this treatment because he had been spied upon at public meetings in the United States. As a result of the Chen case, Congressman Leach and I secured passage of an amendment to the Arms Export Control Act which forbids the sale of arms to countries which the President determines have engaged in a consistent pattern of acts of intimidation or harassment against individuals in the United States.
This most recent episode raises a number of serious questions for the Congress and the American people.
First of all, have the relevant agencies of the executive branch, from whom we will be hearing later, acted properly in trying to secure justice for Henry Liu, by mounting a vigorous investigation and taking appropriate diplomatic steps?