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Confined by various commitments, the authorities
in Washington have restricted arms sales to Taipei.
consequence has been an increasing imbalance in military
potential between the ROC and the PRC in the Taiwan Strait.
Should any Congressional initiative, under whatever pretext,
further impair Taipei's access to arms purchase in the United
States, the consequences might be incalculable.
Any suggestion that sanctions be imposed on the Republic
of China on Taiwan as a consequence of the tragedy that befell
Henry Liu in October 1984 is, at the very best, premature.
No probative evidence has been forthcoming that the government
of the ROC was in any way involved in the murder.
the authorities in Taipei have been more than forthcoming in
assisting U.S. investigation of the homicide, allowing
American officials to conduct their investigations in Taiwan
in the pursuit of evidence.
Whatever the case, however, the imposition of sanctions
on the ROC that might affect the ability of the ROC military
command to maintain its self-defense capabilities would
seriously impair U.S. interests in the region.
Congress is urged to be very circumspect in imposing sanctions
that might undermine the viability of the ROC.
impairment would threaten the human rights of 19 million
Chinese who would then find themselves exposed to military and political threat emanating from the People's Republic of
China. Any threat to the future of the ROC would constitute
i a threat to U.S. interests, which are served by the continued
success of the open market economy of Taiwan. The economic success of the ROC offers Asian nations an alternative to the
hierarchical command economy model explicit and implicit in
the extant system on the mainland of China.
The U.S. has
every interest in seeing the acceptance of an open-market,
rather than a command, economy in East Asia.
Any threat to the survival of the ROC would be a threat
to the security interests of the United States.
Relations Act specifically identifies the ROC as a security
asset and its position on the critical waterways to Japan
and the Republic of Korea makes its importance evident.
It is common knowledge that the ROC is one of the major
economic partners of the U.s, in the Pacific Basin.
is not only a major source of commodity imports into the
United States, Taiwan is also a major agricultural commodities
market for U.S. products.
None of this should be threatened for anything less than
compelling reasons. Systematic human rights violations--a
persistent and certifiable pattern of such violations as
evidence of government policy--might well constitute just such
a reason. All the evidence indicates, however, that the
authorities in Taipei have made concerted efforts, over the
At best, any action by the United States government as
a consequence of the unfortunate Liu case, in terms of
sanctions against the authorities in Taipei would be premature.
Whatever its failures in the past, the government of the
Republic of China on Taiwan has been sensitive to U.S. concerns
with respect to fundamental, civil and political human rights.
As we have seen, in the judgment of the U.S. Department of
States, the "outlook for continued improvement in human rights
[on Taiwan] appears favorable."
Any actions on the part of
the government of the United States which would obstruct that
improvement, by increasing the measure of threat under which
the government in Taipei must operate, would be counterproductive.
Any imposition of sanctions would contribute to the measure
of threat--and should be abjured.
They would do nothing to
increase the availability of human rights on Taiwan, and could
very well threaten very fundamental U.S. and Chinese interests.
Notes to the Henry Liu Murder Case
1. See the discussion in A. James Gregor and Maria Hsia
Chang, The Republic of China and U.S. Policy: A Study in Human Rights (Washington, D.C. : Ethics and Public Policy, 1983).
2. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1979 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 1980), p. 526.
3. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1983
(Washington, D.C.: Department of State, 1984), p. 756.
4. See the testimony of A. James Gregor, before this
subcommittee in Martial Law on Taiwan and United States Foreign
Policy Interests (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982), pp. 7-46.
5. See the comprehensive discussion in Raymond D. Gastil (editor), Freedom in the World: Political Rights and Civil
Liberties 1983-1984 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984).
6. In this regard, see the discussion in Hungdah Chiu, Chinese Law and Justice: Trends Over Three Decades (Baltimore: University of Maryland School of Law, 1982) and Socialist
Legalism: Reform and continuity in Post-Mao People's Republic
of China (Baltimore: University of Maryland School of Law);
Tao-tai Hsia, "Legal Development in the People's Republic of
China, 1949-1981," in Hungdah Chiu and Shao-chuan Leng (eds.),
China: Seventy Years After the 1911 Hsin-hai Revolution
(Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1984).
7. For a discussion of the importance of the Roc to
American interests, see A. James Gregor and Maria Hsia
Chang, The Iron Triangle: A U.S. Security Policy for North
east Asia (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1984).
8. Martin L. Lasater, Taiwan: Facing Mounting Threats (Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation, 1984), and A. James Gregor, "U.S. Interests in Northeast Asia and the Security of
Taiwan," Strategic Review, Winter 1985.