Taiwan Communiqué No. 105 June 2003

Report from Washington

US Congress supports Taiwan into WHO

On 1 May 2003, the US Senate unanimously passed legislation supporting Taiwan's participation in the WHO, "authorizing the U.S. Secretary of State (1) to initiate a United States plan to endorse and obtain observer status for Taiwan at the annual week-long summit of the World Health Assembly in May 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland; and (2) to instruct the United States delegation to Geneva to implement that plan."

The bill, originally introduced in the House on 29 January 2003, by Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), with 29 co-sponsors presses the Bush Administration to strengthen its efforts to obtain meaningful participation by Taiwan in international organizations. It unanimously passed the House on 11 March 2003 in a 414-0 vote.

The legislation (S.243) also notes Taiwan's achievements in the field of health — including "one of the highest life expectancy levels in Asia, maternal and infant mortality rates comparable to those of western countries, [and] the eradication of such infectious diseases as cholera, smallpox, and the plague."

S. 243 also credits Taiwan with being the first country in Asia to "eradicate polio and provide children with hepatitis B vaccinations."

Chinese spy in the FBI

On 9 April 2003, the US authorities in California arrested Chinese-American businesswoman Katrina Leung. She was charged with possession of classified documents and working as a spy for the Chinese Ministry of State Security, the prime foreign intelligence service.

She had been working as an informant to the FBI, but turned out to be a double agent, passing on highly sensitive documents to Beijing. She and her FBI contact, James J. Smith, had a 20-year affair, during which time Leung accessed the classified information. The FBI paid Leung about $1.7 million for her 20 years of service. Her intelligence asset code-name was "Parlor Maid."

For many years, Mrs. Leung had been active in American politics, ingraining herself in the Republican party and in the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, where she even served as a director and board member. She lived in San Marino, one of the wealthiest suburbs of Los Angeles. During visits of high Chinese officials, such as Premier Zhu Rongji or President Jiang Zemin she often acted as coordinator, and during official luncheons or dinners sat at the head table with the Chinese visitors.

The New York Times reports that Leung apparently compromised the highly sensitive nuclear espionage investigation into nuclear scientist Peter Lee by exposing the identities of two FBI agents working on the case to Beijing.

In an editorial on 1 May 2003 titled "Another Spy Fiasco", the Washington Post asks if Mrs. Leung also played a compromising role in the famous case against Los Alamos scientist Lee Wen-ho, who was charged with illegally removing nuclear weapon secrets from his Los Alamos computers, and providing information to China. The case against Mr. Lee eventually got bogged down, and he was released in October 2000.

A farewell to our readers

We regret to inform our readers that Taiwan Communiqué will suspend publication after the current issue. But from time to time, we will do special issues on occasions of new developments that warrant additional attention.

When we started publishing Taiwan Communiqué in 1980, we did not expect that it would last for the next 24 years.

Taiwan Communiqué was born in the wake of the Kaohsiung Incident. In December 1979, when the news reached us in Seattle that all leaders of the democratic opposition were arrested, we were galvanized into action and decided to put out an English-language publication. The driving force behind our action was our concern for the political prisoners in Taiwan, and the urgent need to inform the American Congress and the international community that Taiwan was essentially a police state under martial law and the KMT authorities trampled human rights.

In the course of the 1980s and early 1990s, we were pleased to see that Taiwan underwent a gradual transformation into a democracy. And we shifted our focus to Taiwan's international position by calling attention to the military and political threat from China, and urging the international community to accept Taiwan as a full and equal member in the family of nations.

While this task has by far not been accomplished because Taiwan is still politically isolated, there is now a fully democratically elected government that speaks for the island's 23 million people, and strives for international recognition. There is also a vibrant English-language press on the island -- such as the Taipei Times and the Taiwan News -- which speak eloquently about current events.

Finally we want to express our sincere thanks to friends and supporters who made our publication possible through their generous donations during the past 24 years. The most rewarding experience for us was the opportunity to get to know so many close friends, who have offered encouragement and moral support throughout the years.

We no longer accept donations and will use the remaining funds for the above-mentioned special issues.

The Editors

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