by the Liberal International on awarding
Taiwan's President Chen Shui-pien the Prize for Freedom
Mr Chen Shui-bian the President of Taiwan is awarded with the LI Prize for Freedom for the year 2001 in recognition of the Taiwanese struggle for Freedom and Democracy and their free choice concerning Taiwan's institutional future. President Chen has a solid record as a human rights activist and was the political leader of the first democratic party of Taiwan the Progressive Democratic Party (DPP). After being elected President in April 2000 he resigned as leader of the DPP.
In February 1980 Mr Chen was invited to join the team of defense attorneys for the arrested activists in the 'Kaohsiung incident'. The Kaohsiung incident of December 1979 galvanized the Taiwanese on the island and overseas into political action. The opposition started to question the Kuomintang's claim to represent all of China and that Taiwan is a part of China and they began to work towards ending the 40 year old martial law. This mass demonstration resulted in the arrest of many activist. During the military trials defending Mr. Huang Hsin-chie Mr. Chen began to dedicate himself to politics.
With is advocacy for freedom, human rights and democracy for the people of Taiwan he became more involved with the opposition. In 1984 he became an executive member of the newly established Taiwan Association for Human rights. In 1990 he joined 26 other legislators in challenging the constitution, which led to comprehensive elections of all parliamentary bodies. In December 1994 he became the first elected Taipei mayor. In march 2000 he was elected as the President of Taiwan. President Chen stated that both sides of the Taiwan Strait should uphold the principles of "Goodwill, Reconciliation, Active Cooperation and Permanent Peace" thereby striving for the normalisation of the relationship between mainland China and Taiwan. Chen has put the dialogue with mainland China high on his political agenda without compromising Taiwan's democratic achievements in a search for a new framework for lasting peace and political integration.
At the annual European Liberal Democratic and Reform (ELDR) Party Congress convening from September 26-28th 2001 in Ljubljana, Slovenia a resolution was adopted that calls on the European Union and its Member States to adopt the rule that without exception Taiwanese officials travelling in their private capacity will not be denied visa for the fact that they have been democratically elected or appointed according to the constitution of their country.
Statement from the Government of Taiwan
Liberal International Human Rights Project
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