I got an e-mail from Linda Arrigo:
[quote=“Linda Arrigo”]The Director of the Vice Pres’s Human Rights Committee just called me yesterday to say that they will hold a seminar on July 24, Thursday, 9 am - 12 noon on the issue of freedom of speech of foreigners in Taiwan, in particular concerning my report on police intimidation of foreigners following protest demonstrations against the US invasion of Iraq.
I hope you will all attend; but preparation has to be done to gain admittance to the Presidential Office. E.g. identification information. So please send an e-mail to
E-mail address: hjchen1 at mail dot oop dot gov dot tw
or telephone 2388-7627.
The police also wrote a letter back to the office of Legislator Bikhim Hsiao; basically they repeated the regulations against foreigners demonstrating, and denied visiting the Chinese Language Center or participants in the demos. The usual. But it is time to demand basic human rights – freedom of speech, freedom from arbitrary or selective persecution.[/quote]
Linda’s contact details are on her web site.
Preliminary Report on Taiwan Police Intimidating Foreigners Protesting Against the US Attack on Iraq
Linda Gail Arrigo
(contact details deleted by Juba)
April 15, 2003
The following is a brief report of scattered information I have collected that indicates the Foreign Affairs Police are using explicit or implied threat of deportation to dissuade foreigners in Taiwan from exercising their right to freedom of speech, in this case specifically on the issue of recent U.S. action against Iraq.
This matter involves also the freedom of speech and knowledge for citizens of Taiwan (Republic of China), and the protection of human rights in general. It involves the customary and habitual behavior of the police and their own understanding of the upholding of legitimate and enforceable laws - i.e., vague, intimidating, secretive, and selective enforcement is not the proper behavior for a modern police force operating under a rule of law with protection of civil and human rights, but it is still occasionally reported in their dealing with foreign residents in recent years.
On February 15 the first major demonstration was held next to AIT (American Institute on Taiwan) to protest US intentions to attack Iraq, with or without UN participation. About 20 non-locals participated in this peaceful event.
On March 10 myself and 13 other foreigners long resident on Taiwan signed an open letter to Pres. Chen Shui-bian, urging Taiwan to stay neutral in this conflict; it was published in the Taipei Times.
On March 15 over 100 non-locals and a few dozen locals gathered in Ta-An Park in the afternoon for an anti-war rally with drums and performances, and then planned to march to a distance of about 50 meters from the front of AIT, a safe limit requested by police protection. Sean (surname deleted by Juba), the main organizer, was very careful to communicate with the police in advance (the activity did not have a demonstration permit) and create an activity that expresses a political opinion with no threat of violence, even on a small scale. The rally was attended by a policeman in plainclothes, who issued about twenty or thirty copies of a document to the participants, with the title “Immigration Law”, main contents as follows:
Aliens who are visiting or residing in the State may not engage in activities or employment that are different from the purposes of their visits or residence.
Aliens may be forcibly deported if they:
(4) Have violated paragraph 2 of Article 19 by leaving an overnight lodging without permission; or
(5) Have violated Article 27 by engaging in employment or activities that are different from the purposes of their visits, or residence; or
(6) Have violated the Article 28 by failing to observe the set restrictions on domiciles and activities, or the rules that have to be followed; …
The police issuance of this document upset and worried many of the participants, but I gave a short speech that I have had long experience with these things, and that the police could not possibly enforce such an Immigration Law that was so obviously a product of the martial law period, especially under the Chen Shui-bian government that had proclaimed itself dedicated to human rights. No one was seen to leave, despite worry.
The document is obviously left over from a time when any activities could be arbitrarily defined by the police as “different from the purposes of their visits or residence” for the application of political censure. Notably, the document does not state that foreigners have no right to express political views. But, moreover, the sheets handed out had number (5) highlighted in yellow marker pen, such that the police were making a not-so-veiled threat that the protesters could be hounded and subjected to selective enforcement of “laws” that are in actuality almost never invoked, as can be seen in that foreigners teach English all over Taiwan in formal and informal schools, even in the public schools, both full and part-time, without any concern for such an unnecessary and arbitrary law, which is intrusive on freedom of education and commercial exchange.
The March 15 protest concluded without incident, after Sean and one other person[color=red]*[/color] delivered their protest statement to the door of AIT, while the other hundred-some persons waited at the prescribed distance.
On March 21 noon Lynn Miles burned his American passport at the side of AIT, accompanied by a number of friends and fellow protesters, including several resident in Taiwan for 20 years or more. Lynn Miles is an American who has been working for human rights in Taiwan since his deportation from Taiwan in 1972 due to his friendship with Lee Ao. In 1975 he founded the Committee for the Protection of Political Prisoners in Taiwan, from his residence in Osaka; he was central in providing an outside link and concern for the Taiwan democratic movement of 1978-79, and active for Taiwan’s human rights and self-determination through the 1980s. In the mid-1990s he worked for DPP Foreign Affairs for about three years. Currently he is organizing his archives that he has donated to the Wu San-Lien Foundation. He is also one of the central organizers of current protests in Taiwan against the US attack against Iraq.
On March 22, Douglas Paal, head of the American Institute on Taiwan, was quoted by the Taipei Times:
Since the outbreak of the war, several anti-war groups have staged protests in front of the institute’s office in Taipei. Paal said that he was grateful that the protests were peaceful and the police were helpful in “making sure that the activities were within the law.”
“All wars are accompanied by dissatisfaction and a free society has different people and the right to protest, we respect that,” he said. On the other hand, the anti-war sentiment in Taiwan surprised him, he said, because in comparison “there have been so few protests in the US,” he added.
It was also reported in the United Daily News of March 24 that Paal had requested of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan that it pass a resolution in support of the US action against Iraq, without success.
There were also further large demonstrations on March 22, of both local and foreign residents; Sean (surname deleted by Juba) was again one of the organizers of a peaceful action to deliver flowers showing concern to AIT.
Over a week later I received two reports that the Foreign Affairs Police has visited, at the least, the Chinese Language Institute on Yenping N. Road, which is where Sean (surname deleted by Juba) is registered as a student. On Monday, March 31 I spoke by telephone with the head of the Institute, who said that the Foreign Affairs Police were very polite when they came on about March 24 or 25, and they came with Sean’s name and passport number, and inquired about his attendance. She said they mentioned that AIT had requested the names of participants in the demonstrations. According to indirect information from a student at the Chinese Language Institute, police had shown videos of the demonstration to the staff to ask them to identify the participants and provide names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc., and the staff complied. This caused some concern to the students.
Also on about 3/31 or 4/1, Sean visited the Foreign Affairs Police office to renew his visa, and he was told that the week before one of their superiors had intended to deport him, but they were going to let him by for now. They said they had contacted him because his residence and telephone number were not current and correct.
Also late in March or perhaps early April, at least two foreign scholars at Academia Sinica were visited by the Foreign Affairs Police, who politely said they were watching out for foreigners considering the threat of terrorism. One of these scholars had attended the Feb. 15 demonstration and signed my March 10 letter; the other had attended the March 22 demonstration, where he had seen the police taking pictures of the demonstrators.
On April 9 I heard from a knowledgeable professor at the Institute for International Relations that AIT had requested a list of protestors, and that the Taiwan police had turned it over, listing both local and foreign individuals and organizations.
On April 12 another large demonstration was held in front of AIT, organized by the TAISO Labor Rights groups related to the Xiachao organization. Sean (surname deleted by Juba) and only one or two other foreigners were there. The police told Sean that he would be in big trouble if he got up to speak there. He did speak, at my urging that it is time we made an issue of this infringement on freedom of speech.[color=red]*[/color]
Since then his visa has been renewed on April 15 without further threat, but this does not mean that some sneak action may not be taken against him as has often happened in the past. The police give no advance notice with a legal rationale for denying residence in Taiwan, but then when the foreigner returns to CKS Airport from a vacation in Thailand or home visit to the US, (s)he suddenly finds that he is denied entrance. He is stranded and forcibly separated from home, personal belongings, job, and loved ones, often even wife or husband and children. Of course in that position the foreigner has no way to resist or even make contact with those who would challenge the police action – for which a plausible reason is usually still not given --, and he is also in immediate financial and personal crisis.
It is due to my knowledge of such past incidents, as well as the fear that has currently been spread by the recent police implied threat, that I strongly urge human rights organizations in Taiwan to take a stand at this time, and in fact bring a legal case against the Foreign Affairs Police to force revision of the law and change in their habits. The rights of foreigners to speak are also the rights of local residents to know: such can be seen when Ms. Tu returned to Taiwan to speak out about the Lafayette scandal in November 2001, and was threatened with just this limitation on non-citizen’s right to speak publicly, which intimidated her into silence.
This is a matter of principle which is a suitable test of the Chen administration’s stated resolve to make Taiwan a human rights exemplar.[/quote]
[color=red]*[/color]The person who accompanied Sean to deliver the letter to the AIT on 15 March was Tang Shu of the Labour Rights Association. He is now being prosecuted in connection with the 12 April demonstration, and also in connection with a protest that took place last August. Source: Taiwan Migrants’ Forum
See also the “What happened to these people?” thread - the first part, before it goes off topic, and the thread about anti-war protests.