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THE MURDER OF HENRY LIU
THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 1985
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC. The committee met in open markup session at 11:07 a.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Don Bonker, presiding.
Mr. BONKER. The Foreign Affairs Committee is meeting today to consider markup of the Export Administration Act, H.R. 28, that has been reported out favorably by the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade. Our purpose this morning is to consider the pending bill, to take up technical amendments, and to hopefully report out a clean bill.
(Whereupon the committee proceeded in consideration of other business. ]
Mr. BONKER. The committee will now take up House Concurrent Resolution 49 expressing the sense of Congress that the Taiwan authorities should cooperate fully in the case of Henry Liu by delivering to the United States for trial those citizens of Taiwan charged by authorities of the United States in connection with the murder of Henry Liu.
The Chair will now call upon Hon. Stephen Solarz, who is chairman of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, to explain his bill.
Mr. SOLARZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be very brief.
Mr. BONKER. If the gentleman will suspend. Those who are departing, if you would do so quietly and refrain from talking until after you are out of the committee room, it would help expedite action on this legislation.
Mr. SOLARZ. I will be very brief, Mr. Chairman. On October 15 of last year, Henry Liu, an American citizen living in California, was murdered by two Taiwanese citizens who have in effect already confessed to their participation in the murder. They have been indicted by the local law enforcement officials in the jurisdiction within which the murder took place.
This resolution expresses the sense of the Congress that the authorities on Taiwan should deliver these two individuals to the United States, so that they can be tried by the appropriate courts in our own country. It is designed to reinforce the efforts which the administration has already undertaken to persuade the authorities on Taiwan to extradite these two individuals to the United States.
My subcommittee held a hearing on the assassination of Henry Lui, and I call it an assassination because it is quite clear that he was murdered for political reasons. This was not your average run of the mill murder. This was not your average run of the mill robbery or mugging that inadvertently escalated into an act of homicide.
U.S. authorities have in their possession a tape which was made by one of the assassins who described at some length the motivation behind the killing. And so it is quite clear that this was a politically inspired murder. And that is one of the reasons that we think that it is important for these people to be returned to the United States, so that they can be tried in the courts of our own country.
Now during the course of the hearing that we held, it emerged that we do not have an extradition treaty with Taiwan, and that is unfortunate. And consequently, the resolution includes a paragraph expressing the sense of the Congress that the American Institute in Taiwan and the Coordinating Council for North American Affairs of Taiwan here in the United States should take steps to conclude an extradition agreement which would meet the interests of both sides.
Let me say that based on an analysis of Taiwanese extradition law which was conducted at the request of the subcommittee by the Library of Congress, it appears as if the President on Taiwan does have the authority and discretion even in the absence of an extradition treaty to direct that these individuals be sent here if he chooses to do so.
So this is essentially a political question much more than a legal question. It would be desirable to have an extradition agreement. And the resolution calls upon the CCNAA and the AIT to conclude such an agreement. But even in the absence of one, the matter can be resolved if there is a political will on the part of the authorities on Taiwan to do so.
I just want to make one final point here. We have on this committee and in the country obvious differences of opinion over the nature of the political system on Taiwan, and whether it is too oppressive or whether what they have is appropriate for them. There are differences of opinion as to the wisdom and the propriety of our speaking out with respect to the nature of the political system on Taiwan. Everybody recognizes that Taiwan and the people of Taiwan are friends of the United States.
But I think that everybody agrees on both sides of the aisle, liberal as well as conservative, that we simply cannot accept with equanimity the assassination of American citizens for any reason whatsoever; particularly on American territory. And I think that it is important to make every effort that we reasonably can to persuade the authorities on Taiwan to return these people, so that justice can be done and so that they can be tried in the courts of our own country.
Now they are to be sure being tried in Taiwan. And the authorities on Taiwan have cooperated with us to the extent of providing the FBI with access to these people to interview them and the like. But given the extent to which higher ups have been implicated in this affair, given the extent to which allegations have been made
that the individuals who performed the assassination were recruited for that purpose and directed to do so by highly placed individuals in the Bureau of Military Intelligence in Taiwan, I think that it is quite clear on the face of it that we have a much better chance of determining the truth of this matter if these people are tried here in the United States than just on Taiwan.
Ultimately, this is a decision that the Taiwanese authorities will make. But I think that it is important for them to know that it is not just the administration but the Congress as well which believes that it would be appropriate for these individuals to be delivered here, so that they can be tried in the courts of our own country.
And let me say that I would be fully prepared to support a similar resolution if anybody is subsequently assassinated in the United States by agents of the PRC, by the agents or individuals recruited by any other government friend or foe. I just think that there is an important principle here.
And we may not ultimately be able to secure their extradition. but I think that we owe it to ourselves for the cause of justice to make the effort.
Finally, let me say for those that think that our interests would be served by having an extradition agreement with Taiwan, that this resolution I think would help to facilitate the negotiation of such an agreement.
Mr. BONKER. Is there any discussion on the resolution?
Mr. LEACH. Mr. Chairman, I have a statement that I would like to submit for the record.
Mr. BONKER. Without objection, Mr. Leach's statement will be included. [Mr. Leach’s prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE JIM LEACH Mr. Chairman, as a co-sponsor of H. Con. Res. 49 and Ranking Minority Member of the Asia Subcommittee, I would like to express my strong support for this resolution. How the Taiwan authorities handle the Henry Liu case has serious implications for the future of U.S-Taiwan relations.
Not long ago, in July 1981, the Asia Subcommittee held hearings on the death of Dr. Chen Wen-cheng, and assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who, during a home visit to Taiwan was interrogated by Taiwan government officials about his activities in the U.S. and later found dead. At the time, many of us hoped that the Congressional hearings, efforts by the FBI and State Department, and the subsequent enactment of legislation providing sanctions against any government which engages in a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individuals in the U.S. would effectively deter any future such conduct either on the part of Taiwan or any other government.
Sadly, the murder of Henry Liu-a Taiwanese American citizen-on U.S. soil by agents who may have been acting at the behest of high ranking Taiwan intelligence officials indicates otherwise.
Although the U.S. may have an interest in maintaining warm relations with Taiwan and certain other governments which do not protect as assiduously as we do the civil liberties of their citizens, we must make it clear that such relations are not an invitation to such governments to abridge the rights guaranteed by our Constitution to all who reside within our borders.
The apparent effort by the Taiwan government to extend its control over free expression and free speech into the United States by silencing one of its outspoken critics here is an outrage. We do not tolerate such behavior by the Libyans, the
Chileans, or any other government which has tried to murder on U.S. soil individuals who dare to speak their minds. We will not tolerate it from Taiwan.
The resolution before us today is supportive of the efforts which have been made by the State Department to obtain the return of those individuals in Taiwan who have been charged by California authorities with the murder of Henry Liu. The trial of two of the Bamboo Gang members began yesterday but to date, no indictment has been made against the intelligence officers who were relieved of their duties or arrested in January upon allegations of involvement in Liu's murder.
Thus far, the Taiwan government has not agreed to U.S. government requests to have those charged in Liu's murder returned to the U.S. for trial. In our Subcommittee hearings on this matter in February, I suggested that depending on the level of cooperation we got from Taiwan authorities in this case, we ought to consider some kind of U.S. response, such as cutting back the large number of CCNAA offices in this country. In addition, the U.S. government should consider requesting the withdrawal of all Taiwanese government personnel who may be part of the intelligence services implicated in the ordering of the murder of this U.S. citizen. The conduct alleged in the case before us-of government sanctioned murder-is not the conduct we expect of friends. Actions-not words—will be the response Congress will be looking for.
A firm U.S. response is also necessary to ensure that Taiwanese Americans do not have to be afraid to exercise their Constitutional rights. Dr. Chen's death and now Henry Liu's death represent frightening examples of the fate of Taiwan's critics and the U.S. must make clear it will not tolerate such actions in the future. Finally, Mr. Chairman,
the Administration told us at the hearing that they had no objection to H. Con. Res. 49 inasmuch as it is consistent with what they are doing already, and since then, we have also received written comments from the Department regarding an amendment adopted by the Subcommittee, stating that it has no objection in principle to the notion of an extradition agreement between CCNAA and AIT although it is complex to conclude such an agreement and all the factors would have to be given serious consideration.
Mr. LEACH. Briefly, I would just like to say that I am a cosponsor of this resolution and think that it is a positive step. How this case is resolved will have profound implications for United StatesTaiwan relations. Mr. Solarz is entirely correct that this is a legal issue as well as a political issue, but both are certainly intertwined because what really symbolizes our system is the way we approach the rule of law. In this case, it is somewhat in doubt in what has happened in an instance between the Government of Taiwan and our own society.
I would like to stress, as the ranking Republican on the subcommittee of jurisdiction, that the administration informed us at the hearing that it has no objection to this resolution and that it is consistent with what the administration is attempting to do. They have also, in written comments to the subcommittee, indicated that they have no objection to the principle of the amendment which was added in subcommittee relating to the negotiation of an extradition agreement, although they do note that it is a complex effort to conclude such an agreement, and all of the factors will have to be given serious consideration.
I urge adoption of the resolution.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment in the nature of a substitute. I wonder if copies could be distributed, so that members could be looking at it while I am talking?
I do not object to the thrust of this resolution or the purpose of it. I join anybody in their shock at the killing that occurred of an American citizen in our country. And quite probably I say because the trial is not complete by Taiwanese. It would appear that there
is implication of people who are in the Taiwanese military or in the government, two or three of them.
It is an outrage, and I do not think that extradition is an improper request. But I do not think that it is quite that simple. I think that it is important if we are interested in the rule of law, if we are interested in due process, to consider some of the implications of the phraseology of the amendment or the resolution that will be offered by Mr. Solarz.
The resolution says that it recognizes that we have no extradition treaty, it recognizes that we have no extradition agreement, which is only possible now because we could not have a treaty as
lo not recognize the Republic of China. I will say Taiwan because it is only one word rather than Republic of China which are three.
So I think that the law is clear. We could negotiate with them an extradition agreement. It is important to note that Taiwan has been asking for that for a long time without any success. I think that it is important to note that Taiwan about 6 years ago requested the extradition of a citizen of Taiwan charged with fraud, and has received no answer.
Mr. SOLARZ. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SOLARZ. I have taken a look at the gentleman's substitute. And essentially, I think that it expresses what we intended to express.
Mr. HYDE. With a little more deference to the rule of law.
Mr. SOLARZ. I have no problem with the gentleman's substitute except for one thing, which if he would be willing to accept a slight alteration that we could accept. And that is instead of the phrase “the Republic of China” where it appears in this text to simply put in “Taiwan.” We do not officially recognize the Republic of China as a formal entity. We have dealings with Taiwan. I think that that would avoid any gratuitous diplomatic complications that we might have with the PRC.
Mr. HYDE. If the gentleman would vield. I have no objection to that. My staff put Taiwan in, and I felt that we ought to say Republic of China. But I felt that attempting to be appropriate, not to be political. So if Taiwan is the appropriate term from your perspective and if you accept the amendment, then I would ask the staff at the appropriate time to substitute Taiwan for Republic of China or the Government of Taiwan.
Mr. BONKER. Is there any objection to substituting Taiwan for the Republic of China in the substitute resolution that has been offered by the gentleman from Illinois?
Mr. HYDE. Or the Government of Taiwan, or where appropriate for language purposes.
Mr. SOLARZ. Now I have one other--
Mr. SOLARZ. Well, I think that we are making progress here. One other suggestion I would hope would be acceptable in the interests of bipartisan harmony here. And that is we do have at the beginning of the resolution three “whereases.”
Mr. HYDE. Two on mine.