Skip to main content

“All the World’s a Stage”: Taiwan’s Human Rights Performance and Playing to International Norms

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Taiwan and International Human Rights

Part of the book series: Economics, Law, and Institutions in Asia Pacific ((ELIAP))

Abstract

Taiwan’s engagement with the international regime for human rights has been exceptional for reasons related to Taiwan’s unusual status in the world. Taiwan’s precarious status has provided distinctive reasons to emphasize international human rights norms, including some of their more formal manifestations. In the 1980s and 1990s, the remarkable improvement in Taiwan’s human rights record was vital to maintaining U.S. support. In the late 1990s and 2000s, Taiwan’s commitment to human rights norms and values was an essential element in Taiwan’s efforts to preserve security and international stature. More recently, Taiwan has deepened its engagement with the UN-centered human rights regime, stressing compliance with that regime as if it were a member state, adopting domestic legislation to mirror the principal human rights covenants, and undertaking reports that parallel the requirements for States Parties to the major human rights conventions. While this approach has benefited Taiwan internationally and the lives of Taiwan’s citizens, Taiwan’s human rights engagement strategy faces new and difficult challenges: internationally, the benefits of a relatively strong human rights record may be waning; domestically, discourse about human rights is turning to more intractable or controversial problems, including issues that resonate with economic, social and cultural dimensions of human rights, and issues of transitional justice.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 149.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Notes

  1. 1.

    G.A. Res. 217 (III) A, Universal declaration of human rights, UN Doc. A/810, at 71 (10 Dec 1948) [hereinafter UDHR]; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 Dec 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171 [hereinafter ICCPR]; United Nations Human Rights Committee: Introduction: Monitoring civil and political rights. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CCPR/Pages/CCPRIntro.aspx. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 Dec 1966, 993 U.N.T.S. 3 [hereinafter ICESCR]; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Introduction: Monitoring the economic, social and cultural rights. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CESCR/Pages/CESCRIntro.aspx. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Gaer and Broecker (2013).

  2. 2.

    Chang (2001), pp. 206–213, UN GAOR, 3rd Sess., 183rd plen. mtg. at. 119, UN Doc. A/PV. 183 (10 Dec 1948) (ROC affirmative vote on UDHR); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. United Nations Treaty Collection. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV-3&chapter=4&clang=_en. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. United Nations Treaty Collection. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&clang=_en. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (listing signatories to the two covenants).

  3. 3.

    G.A. Res. 2758 (XXVI), Restoration of the lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations (25 Oct 1971). For the ROC’s final words to the General Assembly, see Garver (1997), p. 259.

  4. 4.

    See Joint statement following discussions with leaders of the People’s Republic of China, PUB. PAPERS 376 (27 Feb 1972). http://heinonline.org/HOL/Permalink?a=dXBlbm4uZWR1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fheinonline.org%2FHOL%2FPage%3Fhandle%3Dhein.presidents%2Fppp072000z%26size%3D2%26collection%3Dpresidents%26id%3D430. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Suri (2015), pp. 111–112.

  5. 5.

    Bush (2004), pp. 40–84; Howe (1986), p. A12; Exiles from Taiwan opposition, N.Y. TIMES, 25 Sept 1986, p. A4.

  6. 6.

    Liu v. Republic of China, 642 F. Supp. 297 (N.D. Cal. 1986), rev’d, 892 F.2d 1419 (9th Cir. 1989); The plot to kill Henry Liu -- Slayers confess details, L.A. TIMES, 3 Mar 1985, at 1; Kaplan (1992).

  7. 7.

    Jacobs (2016), Bush (2004), pp. 76–82, 188–218.

  8. 8.

    Renouard (2015), pp. 146–148, Jimmy Carter, President’s news conference of 30 June, 2 PUB. PAPERS 1200 (30 June 1997). http://heinonline.org/HOL/Permalink?a=dXBlbm4uZWR1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fheinonline.org%2FHOL%2FPage%3Fmen_tab%3Dsrchresults%26handle%3Dhein.presidents%2Fppp077002%26size%3D2%26collection%3Dpresidents%26set_as_cursor%3D%26id%3D50. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  9. 9.

    Taiwan Relations Act, 22 U.S.C. §§ 3301–3316 (1979).

  10. 10.

    Nathan and Ho (1993), pp. 31–61, Tucker (2011), p. 95.

  11. 11.

    See generally Huntington (1993), Fukuyama (2006), Baker (1991) America and the collapse of the Soviet Empire: What has to be done. Address at Princeton University, 12 Dec 1991. http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/dsptch3&div=266&g_sent=1&collection=journals. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; End of the Soviet Union; Text of Bush’s address to nation on Gorbachev’s resignation, N.Y. TIMES, 25 Dec 1991; Clinton WJ (1995) Remarks at a Freedom House breakfast, 6 Oct 1995. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=50612. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  12. 12.

    Transcript of the remarks by President W. J. Clinton to the People of Detroit. North Atlantic Treaty Website. http://www.nato.int/docu/speech/1996/s961022a.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Bush GW (2001) Address at Warsaw University, 15 June 2001. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=45973. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Remarks by President Obama, President Niinistö of Finland, and Prime Minister Solberg of Norway at the Nordic Leaders’ Summit Arrival Ceremony (2016). The White House. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/05/13/remarks-president-obama-president-niinist%C3%B6-finland-and-prime-minister. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Risse-Kappen (1995), Santiso (2001), Brown (2015).

  13. 13.

    Presidency conclusions: Copenhagen European Council - 21-22 June 1993, SN 180/93. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/enlargement_new/europeancouncil/pdf/cop_en.pdf. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. For a supportive U.S. position, see Powell CL (2003) Remarks at Reception Hosted by the Ambassador of Greece to Celebrate the Signing of the European Union Accession Treaty by Ten New Member States, 16 Apr 2003. https://2001-2009.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2003/19713.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  14. 14.

    UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities at its forty-first session, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1990/2 (13 Nov 1989). http://repository.un.org/handle/11176/181657. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Maher and Weissbrodt (1990). In the U.S., the President criticized the Chinese government’s behavior and Congress almost succeeded in stripping China of its favorable trading status. Efforts at hard line on China thwarted. CQ Almanac (1990). http://library.cqpress.com/cqalmanac/cqal90-1118657. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Bush GHW (1989) Statement on the Chinese government’s suppression of student demonstrations—3 June, 1 PUB. PAPERS 669 (3 June 1989). http://heinonline.org/HOL/Permalink?a=dXBlbm4uZWR1&u=http%3A%2F%2F0-heinonline.org.lola.law.upenn.edu%2FHOL%2FPage%3Fmen_tab%3Dsrchresults%26handle%3Dhein.presidents%2Fppp089001%26size%3D2%26collection%3Dpresidents%26id%3D691. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  15. 15.

    See generally deLisle (2014).

  16. 16.

    See, for example, Freedom House (2017) Freedom in the world 2017: Taiwan. https://freedomouse.org/report/freedom-world/2017/taiwan. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (giving Taiwan its highest ranking—“free”—and a score of 89 of 100 on a general index, and of 1 on a 7-point scale—where 1 is best—on civil and political liberties); Economist Intelligence Unit (2017) Democracy index 2016: Revenge of the deplorables. https://www.eiu.com/Handlers/WhitepaperHandler.ashx?fi=Democracy-Index-2016.pdf&mode=wp&campaignid=DemocracyIndex2016. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (ranking Taiwan 33rd in the world, with a score of 7.79, which puts Taiwan at the upper end of the “flawed democracy” category—the second highest of four categories).

  17. 17.

    Taiwan 2016/2017 (2017). Amnesty International. https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/taiwan/report-taiwan/. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Taiwan. Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/asia/taiwan. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Country reports on human rights practices for 2016: Taiwan. U.S. State Department. http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2016&dlid=265374. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  18. 18.

    Franck (1992), Marks (2011), UDHR, supra note 1, art. 21 (“Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives” and “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures”); ICCPR, supra note 1, preamble, arts. 14, 21–22 (recognizing the “ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom” and its dependence on conditions of all enjoying human rights; restrictions on public trials, freedom of assembly and association limited to those necessary “in a democratic society” in the interests of national security, public safety, etc.); compare UDHR, supra note 1, art. 29.

  19. 19.

    ICCPR, supra note 1, art. 1; ICESCR, supra note 1, art. 1 (right of all peoples to self-determination); Reference Re: Secession of Quebec, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217 (Can.) (self-determination rights of the people of Quebec adequately protected by accommodation within the state of Canada), van der Vyver (2000), McCorquodale (1994).

  20. 20.

    Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan, Republic of China (1991) Guidelines for National Unification. https://law.wustl.edu/Chinalaw/twguide.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  21. 21.

    Lee T (1995) Always in my heart. Olin Lecture at Cornell University. http://taiwantoday.tw/news.php?unit=4,29,31,45&post=3961. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  22. 22.

    Lee T (1996) Presidential inaugural address. http://newcongress.yam.org.tw/Taiwan_sino/leespeec.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  23. 23.

    President Chen’s inaugural address (2000). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/2643. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. [hereinafter Chen 2000 Inaugural Address.]

  24. 24.

    President Chen’s inaugural address “Paving the way for a sustainable Taiwan” (2004). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/1726. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. [hereinafter Chen 2004 Inaugural Address.]

  25. 25.

    Recognizing President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan upon his reception of the International Human Rights Award, 149(158) CONG. REC. E2215-E2216 (4 Nov 2003) (speech by Chen). https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2003-11-04/html/CREC-2003-11-04-pt1-PgE2215-2.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2004.

  26. 26.

    President Ma’s inaugural address (2008). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/45. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. [hereinafter Ma 2008 Inaugural Address.]

  27. 27.

    President Ma’s inaugural address (2012). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/3887. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. [hereinafter Ma 2012 Inaugural Address.]

  28. 28.

    Inaugural address of ROC 14th-term President Tsai Ing-wen (2016). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/4893. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. [hereinafter Tsai 2016 Presidential Inaugural Address.]

  29. 29.

    The occasions have been numerous. A few examples suggest the breadth and frequency: President Chen meets world coalitions against death penalty founder Mario Marazziti (2007). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/2634. Accessed 17 Nov 2017 (stating Chen’s having “worked hard to create a nation based on human rights” and its commitment to enacting a “human rights basic law”); President Chen Shui-bian meets Dutch human rights expert Dr. Theodoor C. Van Boven (2007). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/2682. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (Chen’s recounting to visiting human rights expert of “Taiwan’s work and accomplishments in the area of human rights”); President Ma welcomes international experts to Taiwan to review the ROC’s first national human rights report (2013). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/4092. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (welcoming international experts group to review Taiwan human rights report that “marks a milestone in the development of human rights in the ROC”); Ma highlights Taiwan’s human rights efforts (2012) Taiwan Today. http://taiwantoday.tw/news.php?unit=2,23,45&post=2254. Accessed 17 Nov 2017 (meeting with the president of Youth for Human Rights International and noting Taiwan “has adopted human rights standards on par with those in leading democracies”); President Tsai meets delegation from Reporters without Borders (2017). http://english.president.gov.tw/News/5180. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (welcoming organization’s opening of its first Asian bureau in Taiwan as reflecting the “importance” that Taiwan places on freedom of the press and speech, and helping “Taiwan to contribute more to global human rights”).

  30. 30.

    These developments are discussed in detail in the next section of this chapter.

  31. 31.

    Yang (1996), p. 122 (quoting Foreign Minister Frederick Chien); Request for the Inclusion of a Supplementary Item on the Agenda of the 57th Session: Question of the Representation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the United Nations, Letter dated 1 Aug 2002 from the representatives of Burkina Faso, Chad, El Salvador, the Gambia, Grenada, the Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Solomon Islands and Swaziland to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, UN Doc. A/57/191 (20 Aug 2002); Ma optimistic over WHA participation, Taipei Times, 12 Dec 2008, at 3; President Tsai meets members of Taiwan’s WHA action team (2017). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/5152. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Sehnálková and Kučera (2012), pp. 163–164.

  32. 32.

    President Chen’s Inaugural Address (2004); see also Cody E (2007) Interview with Chen Shui-bian, President of Taiwan. WASH POST, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/07/AR2007070700929.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. See also President Chen’s Inaugural Address (2000) (rejecting suggestion that “values of freedom, democracy and human rights” can be “ignored or changed in different contexts, including across the Strait).

  33. 33.

    President Ma’s Inaugural Address (2008); President Ma’s Inaugural Address (2012).

  34. 34.

    See, for example, President Ma issues statement on Tiananmen Square Incident (2011) Taiwan Today. http://taiwantoday.tw/news.php?unit=2,23,45&post=1843. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Tsai urges China to face Tiananmen (2017) Taipei Times. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2017/06/05/2003671928. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  35. 35.

    See International reaction to Liu Xiaobo Nobel Peace Prize (2008) BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/world-europe-11499931. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. (Ma’s statement); Taiwan President mourns Liu Xiaobo, says China won’t be great until it accepts his ideas (2017) The China Post. www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/2017/07/14/499421/taiwan-president.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. (Tsai’s statement).

  36. 36.

    Lee, supra note 21; see also Kagan (2007).

  37. 37.

    Lee (1999).

  38. 38.

    President Chen’s Inaugural Address (2000); President Chen’s Inaugural Address (2004).

  39. 39.

    Cody, supra note 32.

  40. 40.

    President Ma’s Inaugural Address (2008); President Ma’s Inaugural Address (2012).

  41. 41.

    Transcript: Post’s interview with Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, WASH POST, 17 Feb 2011.

  42. 42.

    President Tsai’s Inaugural Address (2016).

  43. 43.

    Hutzler C and Hsu JW (2016) Taiwanese President Tsai: Taiwan won’t succumb to China’s pressure. The Wall Street Journal. https://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2016/10/05/taiwanese-president-tsai-taiwan-wont-succumb-to-chinas-pressure/. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  44. 44.

    See, for example, Wang (2013), Hsieh and Niou (2005), Sobel et al. (2010).

  45. 45.

    Lee, supra note 21; Lee (1999), p. 9; President Lee’s message to the Taiwan retrocession day (1997). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/1106. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; see also Hughes (2005), pp. 95–100, deLisle (2000), pp. 55–57.

  46. 46.

    President Chen’s Inaugural Address (2004); cf. President Chen’s Inaugural Address (2000).

  47. 47.

    See generally Schubert and Braig (2011), deLisle (2004).

  48. 48.

    President Ma’s Inaugural Address (2008); President Tsai’s Inaugural Address (2016).

  49. 49.

    Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan, ROC (2006) Position paper on the National Unification Council ceasing to function and the Guidelines for National Unification ceasing to apply.http://www.mac.gov.tw/en/News_Content.aspx?n=BEC36A4A0BB0663C&sms=BF821F021B282251&s=20C09FC2F3C10A1C. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  50. 50.

    Ma attached three preconditions for a peace accord: that it be necessary for the ROC, that it be supported by the public (later adding that such support would be determined in a plebiscite), and that the process be subject to oversight by Taiwan’s democratically elected legislature. President Ma holds press conference on “cross-strait peace agreement” (2001). https://www.mac.gov.tw/en/News_Content.aspx?n=FE07F9DA122E29D4&sms=3A4E63FA5107487D&s=CD5F7C3EB8CAD2E1. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; see also deLisle (2012).

  51. 51.

    See Weymouth L (2016) Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen: Beijing must respect our democratic will, WASH POST, 21 July 2016; Hutzler and Hsu, supra note 43.

  52. 52.

    See, for example, Lord W (1994) Taiwan policy review: Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, 27 Sept 1994. https://web.archive.org/web/20160914002741/http://ait.org.tw/en/19940927-taiwan-policy-review-by-winston-lord.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (citing Taiwan’s “dramatic strides toward democracy and the fulfillment of human rights” as bases for U.S. “friendship and ties with Taiwan”); Bush, RC (1998) The US role in the Taiwan Strait issue. http://www.taiwandc.org/nws-9867.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (characterizing Taiwan’s democratization as “one of the most remarkable examples of political progress in our time”); Craner LW (2004) Briefing on supporting human rights and democracy: The U.S. record 2003–2004 report. https://2001-2009.state.gov/g/drl/rls/rm/32537.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (discounting criticism of Taiwan’s not “perfect” 2004 election and citing the Taiwan example in support of U.S. policies of promoting democracy abroad); Campbell KM (2011) Testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee: Why Taiwan matters, Part II. https://2009-2017.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2011/10/174980.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (“The foundation of our political ties with Taiwan is our common values and shared belief in democracy, and Americans have been deeply impressed by Taiwan’s open, exuberant democratic polity and society,” and characterizing the U.S. approach to its unofficial relations with Taiwan as an important part of U.S. strategy that includes promoting democratic values and human rights in Asia); Tong K (2016) Remarks: Taiwan’s international role and the GCTF. https://2009-2017.state.gov/e/eb/rls/rm/2016/253915.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  53. 53.

    Text of Joint Communique, Issued at Shanghai, para. 12, 27 Feb 1972, 66 Department of State Bulletin [xxix], 458 (1972). http://heinonline.org/HOL/Permalink?a=dXBlbm4uZWR1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fheinonline.org%2FHOL%2FPage%3Fhandle%3Dhein.journals%2Fdsbul66%26collection%3Dustreaties%26id%3D491. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (reaffirming U.S. “interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese [a group defined in the Communique to include the people on both sides of the Strait] themselves”); Lord, supra note 52 (U.S. will “welcome any evolution in relations between Taipei and Beijing that is mutually agreed upon and peacefully reached”); Remarks by the President to the Business Council, 24 Feb 2000, 1 PUB. PAPERS 296 (24 Feb 2000) (“issues between Beijing and Taiwan must be resolved peacefully and with the assent of the people of Taiwan”); Kelly J (2004) Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, The Taiwan Relations Act: The next 25 years, Hearing before the House International Relations Committee, 21 Apr 2004 (reiterating U.S. opposition to attempts by either side to unilaterally change the status quo); Rice SE (2015) Remarks on the U.S.-China Relationship at George Washington University, 21 Sept 2015. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/21/national-security-advisor-susan-e-rices-prepared-remarks-us-china. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  54. 54.

    Lord W (1996) Testimony before the House International Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific. http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/bureaus/eap/960314LordTaiwan.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  55. 55.

    Tyler PE (1996) Taiwan’s leader wins its election and a mandate, N.Y. TIMES, 24 Mar 1996 (quoting White House spokesperson congratulating the people of Taiwan on the first democratic election of President and noting that no official congratulations from U.S. would be forthcoming); Clinton WJ (2000) Statement on the election of Chen Shui-bian as President of Taiwan - 18 Mar 2000, PUB. PAPERS 490, 490. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/WCPD-2000-03-27/pdf/WCPD-2000-03-27-Pg582.pdf. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (congratulating Chen and stating that the election “clearly demonstrates the strength and vitality of Taiwan’s democracy”); Office of the Press Secretary (2004) Statement on Taiwan elections: Announcement of election results on Taiwan. https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040326-6.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (congratulating Chen, congratulating the people of Taiwan on the successful conclusion of their election and praising reliance on legal mechanisms to address election dispute); Bush GW (2008) Statement on the presidential election in Taiwan, PUB. PAPERS 410, 411. https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2008/03/20080322-4.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (congratulating Ma and congratulating the people of Taiwan on the successful conclusion of their election and adding “Once again, Taiwan has demonstrated the strength and vitality of its democracy…. Taiwan is a beacon of democracy for Asia and the world.”); Obama BH (2012) Statement on elections in Taiwan, PUB. PAPERS 43. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/14/statement-press-secretary-taiwan-s-elections. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (congratulating Ma on reelection and the people of Taiwan on the successful conduct of their elections, stating that “Taiwan has again demonstrated the strength and vitality of its democratic system,” and citing a “shared commitment to democracy and freedom” as a basis for the close relationship between the people of Taiwan and the people of the United States); Kirby J (2016) U.S. statement on Taiwan’s presidential inauguration. https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/05/257465.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (congratulating Tsai and congratulating the “people on Taiwan for once again demonstrating the strength of their robust democratic system”).

  56. 56.

    President Bush and Premier Wen Jiabao remarks to the press (2003). https://georgewbushwhitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/12/20031209-2.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Boucher R (2003) Daily press briefing. https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2003/26776.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Christensen TJ (2007) A strong and moderate Taiwan. Speech to U.S.-Taiwan Business Council Defense Industry Conference, Annapolis, Maryland, 11 Sept 2007. https://2001-2009.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2007/91979.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; see also deLisle (2004).

  57. 57.

    See Obama, supra note 55; Remarks of President Obama to the People of Laos (2016). https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/06/remarks-president-obama-people-laos. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (praising Taiwan as an example of a thriving democracy in Asia and reaffirming the U.S. commitment to support universal human rights in the region); Russel DR (2016) Remarks at China’s Growing Pains Conference, 22 Apr 2016. https://2009-2017.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2016/04/256509.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (characterizing “support for democratic Taiwan and for universal values and human rights” as key elements in the Obama administration’s Asia policy); Republican platform (2016), at p. 47. https://prod-cdn-static.gop.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL[1]-ben_1468872234.pdf. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (“We salute the people of Taiwan, with whom we share the values of democracy, human rights, a free market economy, and the rule of law”); Nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 115th Congress, 1st Session, 11 Jan 2017. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-115shrg24573/html/CHRG-115shrg24573.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (stating that the U.S. commitment to Taiwan is a “moral imperative” as well as a legal commitment, and characterizing “[s]tanding up for human rights and democracy” as a “moral imperative”).

  58. 58.

    Romberg (2017), pp. 3–6, deLisle (2016b), pp. 571–572.

  59. 59.

    Compare, for example, Hathaway (2002).

  60. 60.

    See generally deLisle (2007).

  61. 61.

    Restatement (1987), Hannum (1996), Crawford (2012), pp. 642–643, Thrilway (2015).

  62. 62.

    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1996) Fact sheet no. 2 (rev. 1), the international bill of human rights. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet2Rev.1en.pdf. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  63. 63.

    See President’s Chen’s Inaugural Address (2000); President Chen’s New Year’s Message (2001). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/929. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Recognizing President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan upon his Reception of the International Human Rights Award, supra note 25; Neary (2005), pp. 116–117. The proposal for bringing international civil and political rights into domestic Taiwan law also echoed the approach adopted in Hong Kong, where the Bill of Rights Ordinance was adopted in the run-up to Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule and drew a clear human rights contrast with the Mainland and sought to prevent post-reversion erosion of human rights in the Hong Kong SAR.

  64. 64.

    President Ma holds press conference on the release of Taiwan’s second human rights report (2016). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/4887. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. Relevant legislation included: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Implementation Act (2009); The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Enforcement Act, The Convention on the Rights of the Child Implementation Act, and The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Implementation Act. See deLisle (2016b), pp. 567–568, deLisle (2014), p. 281.

  65. 65.

    Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, initial report submitted under Article 40 of the Covenant, Republic of China (Taiwan) (2012). http://www.humanrights.moj.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=385452&ctNode=40243&mp=205. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, initial report submitted under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant, Republic of China (Taiwan) (2012). http://www.humanrights.moj.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=385452&ctNode=40243&mp=205. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; President Ma holds press conference on the release of Taiwan’s first human rights report (2014). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/3880. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, second report submitted under Article 40 of the Covenant, Republic of China (Taiwan), Apr 2016, Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, second report submitted under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant, Republic of China (Taiwan), Apr 2016; Response to the concluding observations and recommendations adopted by the International Group of Independent Experts on 1 Mar 2013, Republic of China (Taiwan). http://www.humanrights.moj.gov.tw/lp.asp?ctNode=43063&CtUnit=16034&BaseDSD=7&mp=205. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; President presided over the Second Report on ICCPR and ICESCR Press Conference (2016). http://www.humanrights.moj.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=431093&ctNode=40238&mp=205. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; ​​​​​​​​Universal Periodic Review. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  66. 66.

    Review of the second report of the government of Taiwan on the Implementation of the International Human Rights Covenants, concluding observations and recommendations adopted by the International Review Committee (2017). http://www.humanrights.moj.gov.tw/lp.asp?ctNode=45412&CtUnit=18365&BaseDSD=7&mp=205. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; President Tsai hosts a luncheon for Members of International Review Committee for second national reports of ICCPR and ICESCR (2017). http://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/5085. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  67. 67.

    Roth (2017), Dakwar (2016) President Obama, when it comes to human rights, we need more actions, not words. American Civil Liberties Union. https://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights/president-obama-when-it-comes-human-rights-we-need-more-action-not-words. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Crowley M (2015) Obama kowtows to China on human rights, critics say. Politico. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/xi-humanrights-213999. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Carter J (2012) A cruel and unusual record. N.Y. TIMES. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/opinion/americas-shameful-human-rights-record.html?mcubz=0. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  68. 68.

    Rubin J (2016) What is Clinton willing to do on human rights? WASH. POST. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/08/17/what-is-clinton-willing-to-do-on-human-rights/?utm_term=.853c87c7b24b. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; deLisle (2016a).

  69. 69.

    Margon (2017), Sengupta (2016) Sworn in, UN next leader must factor Trump into approach to global crises, N.Y. TIMES, 13 Dec 2016, at A10; Watkins E (2017) Politicians knock Trump on human rights promotion. CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/21/politics/congress-saudi-arabia-human-rights/index.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Remarks by President Trump to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2017). https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/09/19/remarks-president-trump-72nd-session-united-nations-general-assembly. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Rauhala E (2016) Trump just called Tiananmen Square a “riot.” The Communist Party will be pleased, WASH. POST, 11 Mar 2016.

  70. 70.

    Tillerson RW (2017) Remarks to U.S. Department of State employees. https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/05/270620.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017 (values can be “obstacles” to U.S. foreign policy); Piccone T (2017) Tillerson says goodbye to human rights diplomacy. The Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/05/05/tillerson-says-goodbye-to-human-rights-diplomacy/. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Rogin J (2017) State Department considers scrubbing democracy promotion from its mission, WASH. POST, 1 Aug 2017.

  71. 71.

    See Davis (1997). Hu Jintao warned against “international hostile forces [that] are intensifying the strategic plot of Westernizing and dividing China.” Wong E (2012) China’s President lashes out at Western culture, N.Y. TIMES, 3 Jan 2012. In Apr 2013, the General Office of the CCP Central Committee issued Document No.9, which criticized Western “universal values” including human rights, claiming that these values would “weaken the theoretical foundations of the Party’s leadership,” see Document 9: A ChinaFile translation (2013). China File. http://www.chinafile.com/document-9-chinafile-translation. Accessed 15 Oct 2017.

  72. 72.

    See generally Friedberg (2011), Ikenberry (2008), Chan (2015), Potter (2017).

  73. 73.

    General Assembly elects 47 members of new Human Rights Council; marks “new beginning” for human rights promotion (2006). https://www.un.org/press/en/2006/ga10459.doc.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Membership of the Human Rights Council 19 June 2006 - 18 June 2007 by year when term expires. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/Year20062007.aspx. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; China re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council (2009). Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN. http://www.china-un.org/eng/hyyfy/t561953.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2017; Potter (2008).

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jacques deLisle .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

deLisle, J. (2019). “All the World’s a Stage”: Taiwan’s Human Rights Performance and Playing to International Norms. In: Cohen, J., Alford, W., Lo, Cf. (eds) Taiwan and International Human Rights. Economics, Law, and Institutions in Asia Pacific. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0350-0_11

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0350-0_11

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-13-0349-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-13-0350-0

  • eBook Packages: Law and CriminologyLaw and Criminology (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics