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human rights throughout the world.
The murder of Henry Liu,
a citizen of the United States, constitutes a matter of grave
concern to all those committed to the defense of human
rights. Should the murder have been a consequence of conscious government policy on the part of the officials of the ROC,
U.S. sanctions would seem to be justified.
Since there is no
probative evidence that the murder was an expression of ROC
government policy, any suggestion that sanctions be imposed
seems premature and inappropriate at best, and counterproductive
All the best evidence indicates that the ROC has
systematically enhanced fundamental, civil and political human rights over the longterm. 1
Department of State reports
confirm that "the past quarter century has brought significant
the "outlook for continued improvement of human rights appears
There has been no suggestion of "killings for
political reasons" for some considerable time.
The fact is that the human rights record of the Republic
of China on Taiwan is considerably better than that of most
4 East Asian nations. It is demonstrably better than that of
the People's Republic of China with whom the United States
is developing more and more intimate diplomatic relations.
In that regard, the most recent report of Amnesty International
cites grave infractions of human rights on the part of the
authorities in Beijing, ranging from restrictions on the
mobility of their own citizens, systematic pressure to compel
women to submit to abortion, as well as the suppression of
The infractions of basic civil and
political rights on the part of the authorities in Beijing
cover a range of concerns, more inclusive and more fundamental,
relations, the rights of the citizens of the People's Republic
of China are in more immediate jeopardy than those of the
Republic of China on Taiwan.
Amnesty International has indicated that the rights of
the citizens of the PRC have been systematically undermined
by the "anti-crime" campaign currently being pursued on the
mainland of China.
More than a hundred thousand citizens of
the PRC have been incarcerated under the current campaign against crime, and perhaps as many as ten thousand have been
executed in procedures that hardly satisfy the minimum
judicial requirements for a fair hearing.
The authorities in
Beijing have modified their own criminal procedure code in
order to increase the number of crimes subject to capital
6 sanction. If the Congress of the United States wishes to
defend the civil and political rights of citizens in East
Asia, their concern might well be directed toward the plight
of the citizens of the PRC.
It is not only the case that there is prima facie
evidence that the rights of the citizens of the PRC are being
violated within the territorial confines of mainland China.
There is some compelling evidence
that the authorities of
the PRC have sought to obstruct the efforts by their citizens
to seek political asylum in the United States.
The most recent
cases of gross interference with the activities of Chinese in
the United States involve two individuals, Zhang Zhenggao and
It is not clear to what extent the representatives
of the PRC were involved in the unfortunate circumstances
that saw Mr. Zhang Zhenggao disappear in July 1984 after having
sought political asylum from U.S. Immigration authorities
in April, and Mr. Zhang Xin commit suicide in the PRC's New
York Consulate only three days after he asked for political
asylum in the United States.
But it is eminently clear that
any concern with human rights would engage U.S. Congressional
interest in the service of Messrs. Zhang and Zhang no less
than in the service of Mr. Henry Liu,
Unless that interest is so engaged, the present sub
committee hearings on the case of Henry Liu give every
appearance of an appeal to a double standard.
There is no
doubt that Mr. Liu's case deserves the attention of American
is to be made into the murder of Henry Liu, no less should
be undertaken with respect to the tragic events that have
affected the life circumstance of Messrs. Zhang Zhenggao and
surrounding the one to the exclusion of the others suggests
an indifference to the human rights of the citizens of the
PRC and a possible dual standard.
At the moment, the United States government is contemplating
the sale of lethal military equipment to the People's Republic
No one has suggested that those sales be denied
as a consequence of putative human rights violations by the
government in Beijing.
There are critical security, economic
and diplomatic issues involved in such sales and those issues
seem to enjoy priority.
No less can be said about U.S.
relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan.
The foreign policy interests of the United States touch
upon an entire range of concerns.
In East Asia it is evident
that the U.S. has trade, investment, diplomatic and security
preoccupations of significant magnitude.
The Taiwan Relations
Act (Public Law 96-8, April 10, 1979), which now governs
our relations with the ROC, affirms the major preoccupation
of the U.S. with the security, integrity and economic viability of Taiwan.
Not only is Taiwan the sixth largest trading partner of
the United States--exchanging about $15 billion annually in
bilateral trade--and an investment outlet of considerable
importance, the island and associated territories are of
manifest importance in maintaining the security structure of
the West Pacific region.
Section 26.2 of the Taiwan Relations
Act affirms that "peace and stability" in the Taiwan Strait
region "are in the political, security, and economic interests
of the United States," and are, moreover, "matters of inter
Military sales to the authorities in
Taipei thus serve the interests of the United States and the
international community in order to maintain the military
balance in the region--a balance that deters any adventure by
the authorities in Beijing, or any military initiatives by
The military balance in the Taiwan Strait, at best, is