Let Taiwan decide its own future

Statement by Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

"Say NO to China" rally, 28 June 1997 in Taipei.

My friends, it gives me great pleasure to salute all of you who are gathered here today at this historic event. Though I cannot be with you in person, I am with you in spirit.

This rally will long be remembered as the day when the people of Taiwan stood together and said "No" to China, sending a firm message to the whole world that the "One Country, Two Systems" approach which the PRC spelled out for Hong Kong should not be applied to your island nation.

China, the United States and the rest of the globe should understand and acknowledge that the transfer of Hong Kong to the PRC offers no parallel with Taiwan's future. While the Hong Kong territory was leased by Great Britain from China for 99 years, Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country, and no treaties exist between the PRC and Taiwan which determine the future of your homeland.

One Treaty does come to mind, however: The United Nations Charter, which proclaims the right of self-determination for peoples throughout the world. The citizens of Taiwan have been waiting far too long to exercise this right, and today I join you in declaring that wait must end.

Therefore I urge the international community in general, and the United States in particular, to actively assist Taiwan in exercising its universal right of self-determination by recognizing Taiwan's independent status and by pressing for its admission into various international organizations as a full participant. In recent polls, nearly two-third of Americans supported this position.

In conclusion, let us stand here today and tell the world that the future of Taiwan should be determined by peaceful means, and that, like Hong Kong whose populace had little say in choosing their fate, no one has the right to decide Taiwan's future but its own people.

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