President Ma to form human rights committee despite DPP criticism

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou announced in his National Day speech in Taipei yesterday the government’s plan to erect a human rights commission under the Office of the President; however, members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have challenged the authenticity of said committee, dubbing the government’s undertaking a vanity project.

Ma, with Vice President Vincent Siew, said the committee will aim to further promote the development of human rights, fundamental freedoms and protection in the Office of the President. The presidential office will invite different government sectors and private parties to discuss and plan related human rights policies, as well as release periodical reports to enhance the standard of human rights in Taiwan. While Kuomintung (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng hailed the idea as a demonstration of the government’s determination to take concrete actions, DPP party whip Ker Chien-ming said it was all a ruse. Ker said that during ex-President and DPP party member Chen Shui-bien’s term, former Vice President Annette Lu had also created a Presidential Human Rights Advisory Committee, which was eventually disbanded after being attacked by members of the KMT. Now the KMT is turning around and doing the exact same thing, he added. DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen also suspected that forming the committee was the government’s way of balancing out the social pressure resulting from Chinese dissent Liu Xiaobo winning the 2010 Noble Peace Prize, criticizing that the move was made in haste. Tsai said human rights is the most fundamental topic and should’ve been on the top of the government’s radar a long time ago, adding that it has been almost three years since Ma’s inauguration and he is only now starting to form this committee. The DPP Chairwoman accused the Ma government of riding off the coattails of Liu’s Noble Peace Prize. As the world was urging for Liu’s release, Tsai criticized Ma for not publicly demanding that Chinese authorities set the political prisoner free. Only after societal pressure, did Ma give way and decide to form a “human rights committee,” she added.