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Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada

Statement by Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada on the Constitutional Crisis in Taiwan September 17, 2013
Since September 6 Taiwan has been going through a political crisisi. The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada is concerned by human rights violations and constitutional illegalities committed by the Ma Ying-jeou administration which have precipitated this crisis: (1) Illegal and questionable actions of the Special Investigation Division (SID)ii. On September 6 the SID announced that, in late June, a wiretap on a senior DPP legislator, Ker Chien-ming, had captured the Speaker of the Legislative Yuan Wang Jin-pyng, Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu and High Prosecutors Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang doing influence peddling on behalf of Legislator Ker. On August 31 Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming reported the wiretap privately to President Ma because of its massive political ramifications. By reporting to the President, then publishing the transcript in a press conference (without any charges being laid) the SID grossly violated laws requiring nondisclosure of their investigations and has confirmed suspicions that it is a political tool. As well there are numerous questions about the legality and propriety of the wiretap itself. THRAC commends the senior legal scholars and Law Times for initiating a lawsuit against the illegal actions of the SID, and calls on the Legislature to abolish this tainted inquisitorial office altogether. (2) Unconstitutional actions of ROC President/ KMT Chairman Maiii Not only did President Ma receive improper disclosure from the SIU, but on September 8 held a press conference in which he condemned Wang Jin-pyng, pronouncing If this was not influence peddling, then what is?". These actions by President Ma constitute (to use his words) "influence peddling at the highest level" , abuse of the office of President and violation of the separation of powers fundamental to a democracy. Ma then proceeded to act in his capacity of Chair of the KMT Party, to have Wangs party membership suspended, and thus remove him as a legislatoriv. This confusion of Mas two roles of President and Party Chairman looks like a return to practices of the old KMT "Party/ State" . (3) Contempt of the Legislature: By using an internal KMT party process to remove its Speaker, Chairman Ma has seriously violated the rights of the Legislature. The Speaker of the Legislature is elected by its members. The Legislature oversees the President. Now President Ma has used his power as Party chair to become the overseer of the legislature. This has serious implications for KMT proportional vote legislators who must worry about a Party Chairman who can remove them so easily.

(4) Conclusion The amalgam of questionable, illegal and unconstitutional actions in this crisis involves human rights violations, violations of the constitution and of legal process. THRAC strongly condemns the actions of the Special Investigation Division and of President/Chairman Ma Ying-jeou in this matter. They threaten to bring the very legitimacy of his Presidency into question. If the political system cannot address such abuse of power, then the people of Taiwan need to affirm their sovereignty and defend their rights through the peaceful exercise of direct democracy.

Notes
In this statement we are unable to present all the details and complex legalities of this crisis. We list here links to reports giving these details, and shall put these on the THRAC website (thracanada.blogspot.ca). For a brief introduction see Jonathan Manthorpes Political Upheaval Looms in Taiwan. http://www.factsandopinions.com/galleries/opinion-columns/jonathan-manthorp-internationalaffairs/political-upheaval-looms-in-taiwan/
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ii

Minister accused of influence peddling steps down http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2013/09/07/2003571538 SID sued over probe into Wang http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2013/09/10/2003571792 Prosecutor-general defends SIDs actions http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2013/09/10/2003571793 Taipei Times EDITORIAL: Making Chinas judiciary look good http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2013/09/13/2003571997

iii

President condemns influence peddling by legislative speaker (update) http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aall/201309080013.aspx EDITORIAL: Political purging is also a disgrace http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2013/09/11/2003571851

http://newtalk.tw/news/2013/09/10/40029.html Lobbying is not wrong as long as it is from Ma? By Tim Hsu / http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2013/09/11/2003571843

This is possible because Wang is a legislator on the proportional vote KMT Party list, and Taiwans election rules allow such a legislators party to ask the Central Election Commission to remove them, though this has never happened before.

iv

http://www.cna.com.tw/News/FirstNews/201309110023-1.aspx

Legislative speaker takes legal action in bid to retain post http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201309110031.aspx

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