Statement by Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

Washington, 10 October 1998

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Con. Res. 334, and I rise thus in support of making it the official policy of the United States government that we favor the participation of Taiwan in the World Health Organization.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman), the chairman of the committee, for the leadership he has provided on this. And, of course, the gentleman always provides the leadership and strength on pro-freedom initiatives and initiatives that deal with fundamental fairness. I also want to thank the gentleman from American Samoa (Mr. Faleomavaega) for his cooperation and leadership on that side of the aisle. And, finally, I would like to thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon), who has been a fierce fighter for freedom and justice in this world and in this body. The gentleman will be missed. And on issues just like this, he has always been there for the people struggling for freedom in various parts of the world.

Taiwan is, first and foremost, a free and democratic country. In the last few years we have seen an evolution in Taiwan that should serve as a shining example to the rest of Asia. In fact, as the rest of Asia sinks further towards tyranny and repression, Taiwan is reaching new heights, even in the face of threats against it, towards achieving its goal of a freer, more democratic, and more prosperous country. In Taiwan, there are free elections, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and freedom of enterprise.

This resolution tells the world that freedom counts to the American people. We should not be on the side of a communist regime's attempt, wherever it is, to in some way intimidate a group of free people. That is the situation we have now in Asia, where one tyrannical government is trying to frighten the people of Taiwan. And we are saying by this that where people have had these reforms, we should be siding with those people, who have at least, or would like to participate in the rest of the free world. And that is what is going on in Taiwan.

This, on the other hand, sends a message that we respect an elected government; the elected government in Taiwan. And as I say, not only has it a good record in terms of their political record and their economic record, but Taiwan has an admirable record of public health, which is consistent with any government's commitment to democracy. The foundation of democracy is the respect that all individuals have a right to live in dignity and with a decent and healthy life. So it is consistent, then, that that is what we find in Taiwan.

I wish to also take this moment to express something that perhaps some people in this body do not know about. And that is, Taiwan, with its 21 million people, through private foundations and also through government action, have been deeply involved with helping other people who face health crises and humanitarian crises throughout the world.

Through the TzuChi Foundation, tons and tons of medicines have been sent to crisis areas throughout Asia. And, in fact, the Republic of Taiwan and the TzuChi Foundation, they even have a free clinic in Southern California for everyone. There is a free clinic that is run by the TzuChi Foundation. These people care about humanity, and we should salute them today by this resolution and say they should be part of the World Health Organization. So I salute Taiwan and the TzuChi Foundation and those good and decent values those people represent. This resolution is the best way that I can think of for this Congress to salute that type of commitment to the ideals that we share as Americans. I rise in support of the resolution.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Back to: News and Current Events