"Let Freedom Flourish"

President Chen says let freedom and democracy flourish on island,
Let’s look at all this freedom he is talking about.
300,000 plus, endentured servants
100,000 plus, slave prostitutes
Unknown numbers of imprisoned people convicted and sentenced because of confessions obtained through torture.
Was he talking about Taiwan?

Looking up “Taiwan” in the sex slavery link provided in the previous post, I was taken aback by such sweeping descriptions as (quote) “going to prostitutes is common among Taiwanese men.” Huh? :shock: Besides statistically under-supported, this statement simply sounds grossly untrue to these ears. I mean, how common is “common” here? If my experience as a thirty-something, middle-class, Taiwan born-and-raised man serves as any indication of the norm, I would say it is far from being common, except among merchants who used to hire courtesans in their business gatherings as a bit of fun (think of strip dancers at American party scenes). Personally, I have never visited prostitutes of any kind nor have I heard such talks among my male relatives even in conversations among themselves.

To this reader, this seems to be a case of unsubstantiated allegation that is out of place, if not guilty of racial stereotyping, in a report published online and viewable worldwide. Worse, it is this kind of convenient, “broad brush to paint 'em all black” generalizations that tend to stay with the average reader the longest, long after all the specifics are forgotten. So it does not quite have the same widespread negativity as the recent media slam on Taiwan product quality issued by the “Johnnie Walker” label, but still, coming from a human rights group, any exaggeration tarnishes Taiwan’s already lacklustre image undeservedly and doing so distracts from their stance and credibility as a neutral source of information.


EOD, that’s the dumbest post I’ve seen in a while. Biased, inflammatory and inaccurate. Your link to “endentured servants” gives statistics on migrant workers. Your slave prostitute link contains merely unsubstantiated allegations and subjective opinions. While Taiwan may not provide all of its inhabitants with perfect freedom and justice, it’s making remarkable progress. Give it time. So what is the point that really wish to make? And what country do you come from whose government is so perfect?

I have a hard time imagining most of my Taiwanese male coworkers visiting prostitutes.

If you have some fact or report that shows these numbers to be wrong, I would love to see it. Most of the other reports I found had much larger numbers. As for the migrant workers not being indentured servants you are right. Many of them work without pay, have no freedom or rights and are abused regularly – so slavery is a better term.

If you don’t like the facts I present before you, do something about it.

“Human rights” and “democracy” can describe the commitments to certain perspectives and goals that countries have. While every country has got it’s blindspots with respect to human rights, it does seem to me that politicians in Taiwan seem more keen to sloganise on these topics than to highlight areas where changes in a positive direction are urgently needed.

Of course there has been astounding progress but for the sake of Taiwan there is still a lot to do. But sometimes it seems as if A Bian and the others think that if they say “Taiwan is a country with democracy and respect for human rights” often enough there is nothing else to do. I’d rather see a bit more reform and education and a bit less self-satisfaction on human rights questions.

In particular those who do not have citizenship here can find it very difficult to vindicate their human rights through the legal system.

[quote=“EOD”]If you have some fact or report that shows these numbers to be wrong, I would love to see it. Most of the other reports I found had much larger numbers. As for the migrant workers not being indentured servants you are right. Many of them work without pay, have no freedom or rights and are abused regularly – so slavery is a better term.
My question to EOD: in your knowledge, how many migrant workers in this “slavery” do “work without pay, have no freedom or rights and are abused regularly”? If you say this is about as common as it is among Taiwanese men to visit prostitutes regularly, I would suggest some fact-checking against documentation from a reliable source is in order. Really, how reports of individual workers being victimized by criminal or demented employers lead to wholesale condemnation of socio-economical institutions as evil as far as I am concerned. Really, actual/alleged cases of child molestation commited by individual priests do not quite make the Catholic Church of America Sodom and Gomorrha of our times, or do they?

I do see MANY foreign workers outing on buses and in streets of Taipei every Sunday, to attend religious service and to shop, and my impression is that there are more of them each passing year. If you ask me, I would say that I have a hard time associating these people’s activity with the condition of slavery. Nowadays media in Taiwan are so plagued by sensationalism and exaggeration I should hope not to see the same vices reenacted here.


Try talking to the migrant workers you see on the street. Most of them speak very good English. Ask them how many hours a day they work and how much money they have actually been paid, since they got here.
I realize this suggestion may seem below most of the readers on this board, but contrary to the popular belief here in Taiwan, migrant workers are just as human as anybody else. They have rights and deserve freedom and equality. Instead the local population subjugates them as subhuman, deprives them of their basic human rights and treats them like slaves.
I would also like to add to this little rant, that it is a truly ignorant thing to do. In the very near future it will be nearly every elderly Chinese person who will be taken care of by these same people.
Another fact that cannot be denied, is that as Taiwan sinks further into recession and it’s wealth dissipates, both Thailand’s and the Philippine’s are growing, at a phenomenal rate. It very well may be your children who are their nanny’s and slaves in the near future. How do you want them treated?

I, and I would hope the majority of people in these forums, would agree that migrant workers have such rights. (After all, most people on this forum are migrant workers!) I won’t deny that there are some dissenters from this viewpoint - I’ve been involved with a few arguments myself - but I think they are in the minority.

Certainly, I have encountered several cases of such abuse - that is undeniable. However, I have no good feeling for the scale of the problem and I would be interested to see some material on this. Do you have access to any?

I agree wholeheartedly.

However, EOD, to prove your point, I think you are going to have to show more than the fact that people work hard for low wages. The wages may be higher than they can get “at home.”

I would be interested to see any material you may have on coercion of immigrant workers and, as I said, the scale of the problem. Perhaps someone (a lawyer or someone at an embassy) could provide some insight.

Here are a few appetizers, I will give you the main course tomorrow.
columban.org.au/TFE/BrianGor … sept_2.htm
migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/archive … -16mn.html


Thanks. I note that one of the links contained some comments I would not agree with - concerning the macroeconomic affects of migrant workers. However, I thought this one:

columban.org.au/TFE/BrianGor … sept_2.htm

was very informative about some of the abuses that migrant workers face and gave a little more of a feeling of the scale of the problem.

I look forward to the main course.

Sorry it took so long, I couldn’t find the new website.
The following is a petition for the protection and enforcement of Migrant workers’ human rights. If you support human rights for all foreign workers in Taiwan. Download the form and fill it out. Send it to the email address at the bottom of the form.



You have four proposals for legislation in your petition. Do you have any specific Chinese-language LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS for these issues?

If not, how are you proposing to implement them? Are you hoping that the Legislators will pray to their Heavenly Father for guidance?

If you are intimately involved in these matters, then it is a sure bet that you know more about the problems which you speak of, than do 98% of the Taiwanese legislators.

Hence, I believe it is up to you and your team to draft the necessary LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS. I would suspect that the easiest route would be to propose the necessary AMENDMENTS TO EXISTING LEGISLATION.

I am sure that all the overseas contract workers (migrant workers, etc.) in Taiwan hope that you are not just talking to the wind.

Perhaps the esteemed Mr. Hartzell, would be so kind as to assist in these matters.

You have listed your cooperation with the following organizations in your petition:
Taiwan International Workers’ Association
Stella Maris International Service Center
Hope Workers’ Center
Migrant Workers Concerns Desk
Hsinchu Migrants’ Concerns Desk
Rerum Novarum Center
Taipei Mosque Community
Taichung Pastoral Center for Filipino Migrants
St. Christopher’s Church Pastoral Council
St. Paul Pastoral Council

So, here is my best offer. You give me one Chinese secretary who can come to Nei Hu, Taipei, a minimum of three times a week, eight hours per day, for one month, and I will see what I can teach her, and how much she can accomplish to get your agenda rolling. Requirements: Excellent Chinese typing, essay-writing, and letter writing skills. Ability to read and understand legal Chinese. Above average English language skills. Pleasant personality.

As I currently have one female secretary who works in the office (often alone) I could only consider a female for this position.

Are you talking about the philipino and Indo nannies who work in Taiwan and earn 6 times the wage from back home so that their 3 yrs here = 18 yrs of work back home?? I know some of them and they love their life here. Earn alot of money, easy job watching tv and munching on snacks all day, chatting with their friends on the telephone during the day. Sunday they go out and have alot of fun with all the other contract workers going to discos during the day, shopping, eating native country food…etc. How is this slavery? All the ones I know seem to be very happy here and their only problems seem to be how to overstay their visa and continue working here earning the big money when their 3 yr term is up.

panda: All the ones you know are the ones who are allowed outside, right ?
There are others who are not allowed contact with anyone and are treated like slaves, Those are the ones we are worried about.
But it’s nice to know there are more that are treated well and we can’t tar all employers with the same brush

Most of the nannies I know working for Foreigners and a few locals, fall into the happy Nanny catagory. Most of the nannies I know working for locals, don’t see any pay for the first year, are forced to be nannies, painters, constructuon workers, car washers and any thing else their owner feels like making them do in the four to six hours they aren’t sleeping.

I am not an economist but it seems to me that the fact that these people are working here in labour intensive factories and such, instead of back in their home country, may actually be undermining their own country’s potential, economic development.

It seems that the subject of Bush’s Inaugural Speech on January 20, 2005 was “Let Freedom Flourish” …

Of course those of us in Taiwan are not sure how the Taiwanese are supposed to accomplish this … since, under the One China Policy, the USA is continually pressing Taiwan to enter “unification” talks with the PRC …

… but maybe someone will come up with the answer in 2005 !!!