The “Level” of Freedom

The political transformation of Taiwan from an authoritarian regime into a democracy is one of the great political sagas of the 20th century.  (chinabooks.com)

The political transformation of Taiwan from an authoritarian regime into a democracy is one of the great political sagas of the 20th century. (chinabooks.com)

The sense of independence and democracy bleeds within every heart of all pro-Taiwan independence supporters.  We have accomplished so much to this date and are still making history.  We are changing civil life and liberty as we know it with each passing day in news.  Feeling patriotic?  How Green are you?

China fails to improve human rights in 2008.

The Freedom House analysts affirmed Taiwan's status as one of Asia's "free …Group: China fails to improve human rights in 2008.

To view any country’s Freedom Report via Freedom House, visit through this site and click on your country in the map (applies only between 2002 – 2008).

In the (U.S.-based International Human Rights organization) Freedom House survey, they use a scale ranging from 1 (highest degree of freedom) to 7 (least amount of freedom) to measure the freedom ratings of 193 countries and 16 territories total, all in the categories ranging from political rights to civil liberties.  The range of ratings are to determine whether a country or territory is regarded as “free,” “partly free,” or “not free.”

Ever eager to hear some good news on the step toward independence and international recognition, at least the Freedom House’s rating of Taiwan marks an incredible score of “2” in political rights, and the highest score of “1” in the civil liberties category – holding the same rank as the previous year.  As the world of political freedom seems to be more and more on a decline, it’s good to know that we are still on top.

The organization states that Taiwan was chosen as the host for this year’s release because the country holds a strategic position in Asia, not only geographically and economically, but also as one of its most vibrant democracies.

“Although the past 30 years have seen significant gains for political freedom around the world, the number of Free countries has remained largely unchanged since the high point in 1998. Our assessment points to a freedom stagnation that has developed in the last decade,” said Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director of Freedom House, “and should lead to renewed policy attention to addressing the obstacles that are preventing further progress.”

“Although the past 30 years have seen significant gains for political freedom around the world, the number of Free countries has remained largely unchanged since the high point in 1998. Our assessment points to a freedom stagnation that has developed in the last decade,” said Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director of Freedom House, “and should lead to renewed policy attention to addressing the obstacles that are preventing further progress.”

Explaintion as to the drop in rating from the freedomhouse.org:

“Taiwan’s political rating declined from 1 to 2 due to concerns about corruption, particularly links among politicians, businesses, and organized crime…”

‘The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a resounding defeat in the December 2005 local elections, which reflected growing public frustration with the political gridlock in Taiwan. Following revelations that members of his family and close political aides were being investigated in a series of corruption cases, President Chen Shui-bian was forced to delegate some of his powers to Prime Minister Su Tseng-Chang. Despite large-scale, ongoing demonstrations demanding his resignation and approval ratings in the single digits, Chen remained firmly committed to staying on until the end of his term in May 2008.”

China, however, is classified in the “Not Free” category with the lowest score of them all, at “7” in political rights and a devastating “6” in civil liberties.

Can we celebrate and go praise our “National Father” (國父), Sun Yat-Sen?  May I remind you that most of the education in Taiwan from primary to University levels, are all taught by KMT rule.  Political parties are all guilty of corruption, it’s just the fact of wether they were caught with it or not.  D.P.P. is more passive and non-violent though have been shamed from former president Chen Shui-Bian’s money laundering.  The K.M.T. have a record of using extortion, violence and bribes.  Some traids are known to be associated with the Pan-Blue (KMT) party. Quoted from allacademic.com shares an example:

One was that the KMT could use the legal system to punish its clientele elites if they tried to go against it.  The other was that the judiciary could protect clientelist elites’ corruption, which can be separated into two parts.  One is to protect vote-buying during elections.  The KMT clientelism and local factions almost mobilized voters with vote-buying.  Vote-buying is an essential part of the KMT clientelistic campaign machine.  Without vote-buying, the KMT clientelist political machine can not function well.  The other political use for the KMT clientelism is to protect clientelist elites’ corruption.

The Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (Co-Founder (January 1924) and Father of KMT political party), located in Nanjing, China.

The Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (Co-Founder (January 1924) and Father of KMT political party), located in Nanjing, China.

Also, follow through here to viewThe New Relationship between the KMT of Taiwan and the CCP of China” by Yu Hsiao-Yun Assistant Professor Department of Public Administration and Management Chinese Culture University in Taipei, prepared for delivery at the ISA 49th Annual Convention: BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES San Francisco, CA, USA, March 26-29, 2008.

I’m sure all are aware of this, and in saying so, read the following quote taken from chinesehumanrightsreader.org on the subject of Human Rights in China:

“The people did not have any democratic rights to speak of in semi-feudal, semi-colonial China. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great forerunner of bourgeois-democratic revolution, overthrew the feudal Qing Dynasty and gave rise to the Republic of China.”

Sun’s mission and reasoning?  To establish a Western-style democratic system in China, hence the desire to “unify” as much of the world to their rule, the Westernize pin-yin to the simplified characters, and the push to “aid” other countries to build credit and power-recognition.  Does all this sound familiar?

Comic Sketch

Comic Sketch

Does the U.S. not “aid” other countries even without the ask for help?  Does the U.S. claim the Phillipines and PuertoRico as their territories?  How different in system, culture, race and language is Hawaii and Alaska – yet are unable to mark themselves as independent, apart from the United States?  How many countries world-wide is in financial debt to the American government?

Many countries recognize United States as their financial leader, economic leader and/or even personal democratic ideal.

Is this bringing democracy to “the people” on an interntional level or really helping them at all?  Depends on what side you’re talking to and what government rule of the country you’re talking about.  The U.S. is a democratic country and China is a very big question mark.  Globally recognized as a communist government, the country has moved onto Socialism, yet they call themselves as being on a stepping-stone to their democratic future.  The idea is good, but how it influence them into their actions may be bad.  The idea of Marxism (Communism) was a great idea of peace, solitude and equality…  On paper.  Need I go on any futher?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks at a symposium organized by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in Taipei April 24, 2007. He shared his experiences of working with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. (CNA)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks at a symposium organized by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in Taipei April 24, 2007. He shared his experiences of working with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. (CNA)

In a press conference, hosted by the Taiwan Foundation of Democracy, the occassion was joined by Freedom House Director of Studies Christopher Walker, Academic Advisor and Johns Hopkins University Professor Bridget Welsh, and Cook as well as several local scholars in January 13, 2009.

The organization is noted to be paying mindful attention to the nation’s freedom of assembly and judiciary independence in the upcoming year will overview the past occurences of police and protesters during the top Chinese envoy’s visit in November 2008, as well as the speculative case trial of former president Chen Shui-bian.

A public investigation of the violence—which involved both sides—will send a critical message that the new government of President Ma Ying-jeou is interested in upholding the democratic values of transparency and accountability,” commented Jennifer Windsor, executive director of the Freedom House. “The inquiry should examine evidence on both sides and recommend any needed reforms to police practices and the legal framework governing demonstrations.

Taiwan’s government should conduct an investigation into the clashes between police and protesters, and further examine controversial passages in Taiwan’s Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), according to Asia Researcher of the Freedom House Sarah Cook.

Cook continues in mention tht the organization is taking in time to continue in monitoring the future development of the two cases in 2009 through conducting an investigation with the people involved in either incidents.  As the Assembly and Parade Law is in the progress of being reviewed, it holds as a setback in Taiwan’s rating.

It’s ironic that on Freedom House’s main page, it says that it is “a non-profit, nonpartisan organization, is a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world.”

Former Taiwans president Chen Shui-bian (C) raises his hand with handcuffs at the proscutors office in Taipei on November 11, 2008. Taiwans former president Chen Shui-bian was arrested as prosecutors sought formal approval to detain him in connection with a corruption probe, officials said.

Former Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian raises his hand with handcuffs at the proscutor's office in Taipei on November 11, 2008. Taiwan's former president Chen Shui-bian was arrested as prosecutors sought formal approval to detain him in connection with a corruption probe, officials said. (www.daylife.com)

Note that while the article focuses on Chen in detail, it never mentions Ma’s own indictment and the far greater corruption of the KMT:

“In two major speeches in January 2006, Chen risked Beijing’s ire by signaling a return to his pro-independence roots.  He called for a referendum on a new constitution by 2008, with no subjects barred from consideration; advocated applying to join the United Nations under the name “Taiwan;” and announced tightened rules on investment in mainland China.  Despite intense public and private pressure from the United States not to take further measures that would threaten the status quo, Chen in February abolished the National Unification Council, a largely symbolic act demonstrating that reunification with the mainland was no longer a policy goal of Taiwan’s government…”

“In contrast to the bellicose rhetoric with which it had previously responded to such moves, the PRC has recently adopted a far more nuanced approach to Taiwanese politics.  Beijing was apparently confident that Chen’s pro-independence initiatives had little chance of passing in the KMT-controlled legislature, and that front-runner Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT would soon replace Chen in the 2008 presidential election.”

Anyone wishing to contact the Freedom House based on the results in political freedom and civil liberties, there is a link.  Browse through here for contact information.  It is important to let our voice be heard.  (Again, as a reminder for those who are upset of the drop in number, they are currently in process of investigating past political affairs.)

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~ by Lan on 2008 WedUTC2009-01-14T12:59:25+00:00. 15.

5 Responses to “The “Level” of Freedom”

  1. I really enjoyed the reports on “Chinese Democracy” (even though I haven’t heard the new Guns and Roses CD yet).

    When I visited Taiwan in the early 70’s, I was very impressed with a young woman I had met. I applied through the American Consulate to get a marriage visa for her. When they wrote me back, they referred to her as a “Nationalist”. That was a bit confusing to me until I read these articles.

  2. […] of Freedom, the Reflection In an article I blogged yesterday: January 14, 2009 titled, The “Level” of Freedom, I’ve discussed how the Freedom House have came to […]

  3. I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

  4. I am amazed with it. It is a good thing for my research. Thanks

  5. I think you are thinking like sukrat, but I think you should cover the other side of the topic in the post too…

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