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I, of course, understand that the United States and the Government of Taiwan have no treaty of extradition. The lack of such a treaty, however, should not prevent the Government in Taipei from voluntarily returning the perpetrators of this crime, as well as their accomplices, to the United States, so they can be tried in California where they committed the crime.
It is in the interests of the Governments of Taiwan and the United States to close the book on this tragic and horrible event as quickly and as completely as possible. This cannot be accomplished except through court proceedings in an American court of law. Even if these individuals are tried in Taiwan in a fair and open manner, the suspicion will inevitably linger that there might have been a coverup. It would be naive to suggest that this brutal murder has not cast a shadow upon the relations between the United States and Taiwan. It is important for both our countries to remove that shadow by acting as quickly and as expeditiously as possible to assure that the accused are returned to the United States to stand trial.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SOLARZ. I thank the gentleman for a very eloquent statement. The gentleman from New York, Mr. Solomon, has asked for an opportunity to make a few introductory remarks as well. Mr. Solomon.
Mr. SOLOMON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was not going to make an opening statement. I will have something further to say later on. But in light of some of the opening statements by you, Mr. Chairman, my good friend, and my good friend the ranking Republican, Mr. Leach, I feel I ought to make some sort of a statement.
I would like to say that I am certainly in sympathy with what both of you have said as far as Mrs. Liu is concerned, and I am in sympathy with both of your efforts to bring justice to the murderers of Henry Liu and the murderers of any American citizen.
However, I am not in sympathy with any undue criticism, and I think maybe I may have heard some, about the Republic of China. There has been some undue criticism of our allies in this subcommittee before. And whether it is Taiwan, whether it is South Korea, whether it is the Philippines or any of our many friends we are talking about, we as Americans should remember that we are free people, and we are not free just because we are a great country and because we fight great wars and we win them. We need assistance. We need help, and we need allies that can depend on us as allies.
I have heard no opening statement or comments criticizing the KGB and their continuing espionage and spy activities here in Washington, in my State of New York, in the United Nations, that spy-infested agency up there, and everywhere else throughout this country. I just want to say to try and change the tone here because it seems that Taiwan, the official Republic of China Government, was criticized as not being cooperative in some way.
I have spent a great deal of time, having been on this committee for a number of years, and especially since the murder of Henry Liu, in working with our FBĪ, with our State Department and other Federal agencies, and with the Taiwan Government itself. And I have found the Taiwan Government to be completely cooperative and going out of their way to help solve their case.
I just wanted to get that as a part of the record, because I think it is important to know that our friends and allies have been cooperative in this effort. If it ends up that perhaps some low-echelon member of the Republic of China Government may have been involved, certainly I am going to do everything I can, in conjunction with you gentlemen, to bring those people to justice. But I think we have to be very careful.
I probably will be offering an amendment somewhere along the line to say that we might want to encourage the United States to enter into an extradition treaty with Taiwan or some other legally enforced provision that meets American law.
The last thing we want to do is to pass some kind of a resolution that is in violation of American law. I guess we can discuss that when we get into, perhaps, our markup, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much for the time.
Mr. SOLARZ. I thank the gentleman for his observations. I am pleased to find out that he shares our determination to bring the murders of Henry Liu to justice here in the United States, and let me assure my friend that if at any point in the future agents of the KGB, or any other intelligence service from a friendly or hostile country, murders an American citizen on American territory, that I, as I assume every other member present here today, would be among those calling for a similar hearing into that outrage as well.
If any evidence can be provided that similar assassinations have been committed on American territory, we would certainly hope to find out about it from the administration witnesses later in the day. This is by no means an effort to single out Taiwan in relationship to other countries.
It is an effort to respond to the tragic fact that an American citizen was killed on American territory, apparently by people who were sent here for that purpose, not by low-level, but by high-level officials of the Government of Taiwan. In any case, we will explore these matters during the course of the hearing.
I now call upon our first witness, our very able and distinguished colleague from the State of California, Mr. Mineta. If you can possibly summarize your testimony in around 10 minutes, that would be helpful so we would have the maximum time for questions.
STATEMENT OF HON. NORMAN Y. MINETA, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA Mr. MINETA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to congratulate you and this subcommittee for your leadership and that exhibited by our fine colleague, Mr. Leach of Iowa, the ranking Republican on this subcommittee, in holding today's hearings on this very important matter. I am a cosponsor of your resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 49, along with Mr. Leach, Mr. Torricelli and Mr. Lantos. I particularly want to thank my fellow colleague from California, Mr. Lantos, for the important role that he has played in bringing this case to national attention. I share his concern that this tragic crime might indicate a violation of the Arms Control Export Act.
I am here this afternoon for several reasons. As an American of Asian ancestry, I am concerned about acts of violence against other Americans of Asian ancestry.
Most importantly, I am here today as a citizen of this country, and as a national legislator, who believes most strongly that our constitutional promises of life and liberty must always be paramount, and that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to protect those promises.
Henry Liu was a journalist whose writing did not always please the Government of Taiwan. And while I do not assume to know who is ultimately responsible in a legal sense for his murder, I am confident he was killed because of his work.
Let me put this as bluntly as I can. Henry Liu was a U.S. citizen, just like you and me. Yet I am forced to believe that if Henry Liu was white, then this case would be handled differently by our Government and other groups.
Imagine, if you will, the murder of an American journalist of Polish ancestry here in this country by agents of the Polish Government because he wrote about the repression in the country from which he emigrated. Or imagine, if you will, an experienced American reporter of Iranian ancestry murdered by Iranian terrorists because he had the courage to write about the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Led by an appropriately outraged press there would be an outcry to demand justice. The national outcry would be enormous. Does anyone doubt that the President would take to the airwaves to denounce such an act? Does anyone question that issues would be raised at the highest levels of the Department of State, the Department of Justice, or the White House? Would not this story be frontpage news?
Yet an American of Asian ancestry is killed and this has not happened.
Mr. Chairman, I wrote to the Attorney General on January 11 asking for a strong response from the administration, and so farnow, nearly a month later-all I have gotten back is a two-sentence form letter. With your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, I would like to read a portion of my letter to Attorney General Smith and ask to have it and the reply included as part of this hearing record.
Mr. SOLARZ. Without objection, the text both of Congressman Mineta's letter and the response he received will be included in the record at this point.
[Mr. Mineta's letter to Attorney General Smith and the reply from Attorney General Smith follow:]
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC, January 11, 1985. Hon. WILLIAM FRENCH SMITH, Attorney General, Department of Justice, Washington, DC.
DEAR ATTORNEY GENERAL SMTH: I am writing to express my deep concern and puzzlement over the apparent lack of interest and activity by the Justice Department in pursuing the killers of Henry Liu.
Mr. Liu, a journalist of Chinese ancestry, was apparently murdered by four Taiwanese individuals who have been positively identified by the FBI and the Daly City Police Department. This murder appears to have been an act of political assassination, motivated by Mr. Liu's writings about human rights violations on Taiwan.
The four alleged murderers have fled to Taiwan, and it appears that your Department is not vigorously seeking their return for trial.
Given this Administration's vociferous claim to be serious about stamping out terrorism, your silence is inexplicable. I am sorry to report that there is a growing feeling among Americans of Asian ancestry that this Administration is not seriously concerned with the most basic rights of minority citizens. It took several months of sustained public pressure before the Justice Department acted in the murder of Vincent Chin in Detroit. Please do not make us go through that painful process again.
The people of this nation are entitled to expect and receive protection from their government against foreign terrorism. Sincerely yours,
NORMAN Y. MINETA,
Member of Congress.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, DC, January 15, 1985.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN MINETA: This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of January 11, 1985, to the Attorney General, received by the Department on January 15, 1985, concerning the death of Henry Liu. A further response will be forthcoming as soon as possible. Sincerely,
PHILLIP D. BRADY,
(for Acting Assistant Attorney General). Mr. SOLARZ. Please proceed.
Mr. MINETA. Given this administration's vociferous claim to be serious about stamping out terrorism, your silence is inexplicable. I am sorry to report that there is a growing feeling among Americans of Asian ancestry that this administration is not seriously concerned with the most basic rights of minority citizens.
The letter continues: It took several months of sustained public pressure before the Justice Department acted in the murder of Vincent Chin in Detroit. Please do not make us go through that painful process again. The people of this Nation are entitled to expect and receive protection from their Government against foreign terrorism.
And as I said, Mr. Chairman, all I have gotten back is a form letter acknowledging receipt of my letter.
I would like to briefly recount, if I might, the Vincent Chin matter referred to in my letter. On June 19, 1982, a young American of Chinese ancestry was enjoying a last night out before his wedding, when two autoworkers in the bar with him blamed him for the troubles in the auto business.
Such scapegoating is not at all rare, but in this case the two men followed Mr. Chin for half an hour, later beating him to death with baseball bats. For this crime, the Michigan courts sentenced the two men to $3,000 fines and probation. Neither spent one night in jail.
As you can imagine, protests mounted, and it took 8 months of hard work to convince the Department of Justice to indict these two men on Federal civil rights charges. When the two men were finally prosecuted on Federal charges, one was convicted of violating Mr. Chin's civil rights.
The same sort of situation appears to be developing here. How many of these cases have to be endured before the rights of Americans of Asian ancestry are fully respected and protected by our Government? Americans of Asian ancestry are sick and tired of the failure of the Federal Government to vigorously enforce the civil liberties they possess as citizens of the United States.
I urge this subcommittee to send a signal that the time has come to put an end to the hypocrisy that condemns terrorism against U.S. citizens abroad, but turns a blind eye to it here at home when opposing such terrorism puts us at odds with our so-called friends. We cannot allow Taiwan to be a safe haven for those who murder U.S. citizens.
I understand that the Government of Taiwan has said it will try the two men most directly responsible for this murder. Three senior officials of the Taiwanese military intelligence, including its head, are also under investigation. Apparently FBI and Daly City Police were able to interview the two men who have already been charged, but either did not seek or were not allowed to interview the intelligence officials. I regret we have not aggressively sought to have these men returned to U.S. courts.
I have been told that Taiwanese law would not allow the return of these men—that perhaps, while they would want to return the two suspects in this case that they are restrained from doing so by their own laws. I say to my friends in Taiwan that U.S. law does not allow us to sell arms to a country when there is a systematic pattern of intimidation or harassment against U.S. citizens.
And I urge my colleagues in Congress to make clear to Taiwan, and others, that policy decisions involving foreign assistance by this country will not be constrained by technicalities when the safety of our citizens from terror is involved.
Perhaps even more importantly, I am saddened by the apparent unwillingness of this administration to tell Americans of Asian ancestry what they have a right to hear, that this Nation does value their rights and their lives just as highly-no more, no less—as all other citizens.
Today, Mr. Chairman, I have met with Vincent Chin's mother. Now I am here with Henry Liu's widow. I hope I do not have to make any similar appearances in the future.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, let me emphasize my deep concern with the apparent freedom with which agents of the Taiwanese Government have operated within our country. To put it more bluntly, I am sick and tired of seeing foreign agents come to this country, do their dirty work, and then run back to their home countries and claim protection of their nations and laws. Surely acts of violence against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil should be within the U.S. law. To kill an American and then claim the protection of a foreign nation's laws is behavior that dishonors that nation.
And, Mr. Chairman, these are supposedly our friends. We sold them $760 million in arms in 1985. So, Mr. Chairman, I think the time has come to tell the so-called friends of ours to take their intelligence operatives and recall them home, and I hope you will join with me, Mr. Chairman, in asking the new chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to begin an intensive investigation of this whole matter.