Taiwan President Chen Shui-pien is awarded the "Prize for Freedom"

  Recognising his personal merits in the democratisation of Taiwan, the worldwide union of liberal parties, the "Liberal International", decided to award Taiwan's President Chen Shui-pien the "Prize for Freedom" for the year 2001.
  At the same time, this prize honours the peaceful struggle of the Taiwanese for democracy and a self-determined future.
  Former prize-winners include Corazon Aquino (1987), Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1988), Vaclav Havel (1990), Mary Robinson (1993), Sadako Ogata (1994), Aung San Suu Kyi (1995) and Martin Lee (1996) among others.
  President Chen was supposed to receive the prize personally during the annual congress of the Liberal International to be held in Copenhagen in November 2001. Due to the Chinese policy of international isolation of Taiwan, that has been embraced by the EU, it was planned that President Chen would travel to Copenhagen in his own private capacity.
  However, the motion brought forward in Parliament by the Danish member party of the Liberal International, to grant President Chen a visa for this purpose, was rejected.
  As an alternative the European Parliament in Strasbourg extended an invitation to hold the prize awarding ceremony there, but again also the French government denied President Chen a visa. This means a serious affront on the European Parliament, that has an exterritorial status and whose guests have so far always been granted a visa from the French authorities.
  Eventually, the President's wife Wu Shu-chen, who is confined to the wheelchair since an attempt on her life that occurred during the period of military dictatorship, was granted a visa for the period after November 8th, after Hu Jintao, the prospective successor of China's president Jiang Zemin, completed his visit to Europe. On November 14th, representing her husband and accompanied by a small delegation, she was finally able to receive the "Prize for Freedom" in the European Parliament but was obliged to leave Strasbourg the same day - in accordance with the conditions by which she had been granted the visa.
  Chen Shui-pien commented the course of events with the following words: "I have been awarded the Prize for Freedom, however, I am not granted the freedom to receive this prize."
  --> see Address by Chen Shui-pien for the Prize for Freedom Ceremony in the European Parliament

Statement by the Liberal International on awarding Taiwan's President Chen Shui-pien the Prize for Freedom


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