Chairman Ma: To Support Hong Kong Democracy, Support Taiwan's and Free Chen

Even the best possible world of media will make mistakes and omissions from time to time. We live in a complex world and the sheer quantity of trying to keep track of things will sometimes flood the most devoted news junkie. In the past few days, there have been tales tugging at your eyes for attention about serious subjects. The Ebola virus continues to concern domestically, while extremists of various stripes incite fear internationally, and emails are flooded with forecasts to garnish your votes for next week's elections. With all of this happening, there's probably not much happening now that that Hong Kong thing or whatever it was has stopped happening, right? Wrong.

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Twenty Five Years After Tiananmen

The Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred 25 years ago, with troops moving into Beijing and the Square by late on the morning of June 3 and with a full assault going on by the early hours of June 4. Estimates of deaths range from the hundreds well into the thousands, with many more injured.

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Sunflowers, Symbols, and Nukes: A 2014 Taiwan Primer

Taiwan is the little island that has both disappeared from the political stage and is everywhere present in the everyday lives of people throughout the United States. It is not mentioned in any meaningful way in discussions of policy in the halls of our political institutions or media and it is not discussed as anything other than an afterthought in discussions of the People's Republic of China (PRC). But it is far too easy to dismiss Taiwan without a closer look. While the People's Republic of China has over 60 times the population, it is Taiwan that clocks in with a GDP four times as large per capita, a vibrant multiparty political system, religious and press freedoms that are among the best in Asia, and provisions for national healthcare that place it on par or even ahead of the EU.

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Taiwan's Straits: Democracy at a Crossroads

Taiwan is situated at a crossroads culturally and geographically. With linguistic roots in common with Southeast Asia, contemporary cultural influences from Northeast Asia, and impacts felt internationally in technology and business, the island straddles a number of tectonic plates that make it seismically active. 

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The Torture of the Torture-Excusers

Once upon a time, I recommended that we find an attorney general who would pursue the former administration for torture, disappearances, and secret prisons. Doesn't having the nation come to terms with these formative and basic violations of the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (both letter and spirit) and our very own Constitution seem like a good way to have begun to move forward? 

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Spring in the Horse Year: Free Chen Shui-bian

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has just sent a representative to meet with a high-ranking member of the Chinese government in Beijing. Given the proximity of Taiwan to the People's Republic, among other things, this should be neither unusual nor a source of criticism. But President Ma is a member of the Kuomintang (KMT), the party of Chiang Kai-shek that has governed Taiwan after losing the civil war in China, and "relocating" to Taiwan and the horrors they visited upon the ten thousand or more killed in the 2/28 Incident

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Abusing Power: Is Ma's Taiwan the Unbeautiful Island?

Since 2012 visit made by the Human Rights Action Center, much has changed for Chen Shui-bian and the people of Taiwan. After visiting in 2013, while the material conditions of his detention have been improved, and that is an important step to have achieved, he is still incarcerated. In his recent words, "no matter how nice things may appear, a prison is a prison is a prison." 

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Fourteen for 2014: A Human Rights Wishlist

As 2013 begins to draw into itself for holiday season and the arrival of the coming new year, it is worth thinking about what human rights issues might be put onto our collective front-burners. Of course there are unfortunately far too many issues to create a perfect list even if if we were to go into the hundreds. But fires start with a spark, so start with, here are fourteen for 2014.

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