最新消息‎ > ‎

[Joint Statement] Concerning China’s judicial injustice ; Protesting the numbness of Taiwan’s government

張貼者:2011年7月27日 下午10:22administrator csawa

Joint Statement by
Amnesty International Taiwan, Cross-Strait Agreement Watch Alliance, Taiwan Alliance to End Death Penalty and Taiwan Association for Human Rights

On June 23, 2011, Amnesty International (AI) launched an urgent action to prevent the execution of two men – one of them a Taiwanese citizen, Lien Sung-ching – who are currently facing a death sentence in mainland China. With specific regard to the case, AI particularly pointed out the significant flaws in the judicial process and the controversial methods used to authenticate evidence

In order to actively support the two death row inmates, human rights groups sent an official document to Taiwan government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The aim of this joint action was to demand an immediate intervention by the Taiwanese government on behalf of its citizen detained in mainland China. Three weeks later, however, the government’s response disappointedly showed that Taiwanese authorities were more concerned about avoiding any responsibility rather than implementing a genuine commitment to improving the critical situation of Lien Sung-ching. As civil society groups, we feel deeply indignant and discouraged: how can the Taiwanese government remain passive in front of the serious human rights violations that Lien Sung-ching is enduring in mainland China?

Taiwanese government remains silent on the principle of international mutual legal assistance
The “Vienna Convention on Consular Relations” is a multilateral agreement which has been designed to protect the diplomatic relations between two countries and to guarantee foreign nationals’ rights to consular protection abroad. Article 36(1)(b) provides that “with a view to facilitating the exercise of consular functions relating to nationals of the sending State, (…) if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be forwarded by the said authorities without delay.” Furthermore, “consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation.” The PRC signed and ratified the “Vienna Convention on Consular Relations” in 1979; while the ROC, in accordance with the spirit of this Convention, drafted the “Operating Procedures for Handling with Cases Involving Foreign Nationals.”

US has recently failed to live up to his obligations under the Vienna convention. On July 8th the Texas government executed a Mexican citizen, Humberto Leal Garcia, fueling the fierce opposition of all major international human rights organisations. Charged with rape and murder, Leal Garcia was not informed by American government that under the Vienna convention he was entitled to contact the Mexican consulate in order to seek legal assistance. As a result, he did not have the opportunity to receive a fair trial. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay publicly criticized the Texan execution, as it violated international law and thus seriously damaged US foreign relations.

According to the Vienna convention, when a Taiwanese citizen is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial in a foreign country, the latter must immediately inform Taiwan local consulate. However, the special political situation between Taiwan and China prevents the implementation of the above-mentioned convention. We would thus like to ask Taiwanese authorities the following question: in case a ROC citizen who works, studies or travels in mainland China, unfortunately had to face a similar critical situation, what would the government do for him?

Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong and China has reached an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. According to the “Hong Kong Basic Law” and “Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance”, Chinese authorities – including the Ministry of Public Security, the People Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of State Security – must inform the Hong Kong government when an Hong Kong citizen is facing a death sentence in mainland China. After receiving formal legal notice from the Chinese authorities, the Hong Kong government must inform the family members of the inmate and provide assistance to them, in case they would like to forward special requests or appeals to the Chinese government.

Taiwanese citizen Lien Sung-ching is currently in China, where he is charged with violating the criminal law and could thus be executed at any time. The situation is desperately urgent – however thus far, the Taiwanese government has purposely ignored this case. It has not yet collected comprehensive information about it – not to mention the fact that it has not yet provided legal assistance to Lien and his family members in order to fight for his right to a fair trial.

This case has clearly revealed that cross-strait relations are apparently warming, since in practice under the Chinese judicial system, Taiwanese citizens are often deprived of their personal freedom. Moreover, it has brought out that the “Agreement on Cross-strait Cooperation in Combating Crimes and Mutual Legal Assistance between Taiwan and China” – signed by both countries in 2009 – doesn’t embrace a satisfactory concept of human rights.

As regards Lien Sung-ching case, the Taiwanese government must urge the Chinese authorities to take the following three steps:

  • Gather and provide information relating to the conditions of the Taiwanese death row inmate. This includes setting up an information platform with specific regard to the case.
  • Allow Taiwanese authorities, family members and representatives of human rights groups to visit Lien Sung-ching, and appoint a lawyer to assist the defendant during the judicial process.
  • Ensure Lien Sung-ching’s right to a fair trial, in accordance with international human rights standards.
  • Finally, we urge China and Taiwan to immediately sign the “Agreement on the Protection of the Individual’s Personal Safety and Freedom” – according to which both signatories must:

  • Fully protect the personal safety and freedom of ROC citizens in mainland China, as well as PRC citizens in Taiwan. This includes ensuring the detainee’s right to due process and legal representation, among many others.
  • Appoint a Human Rights Commissioner (or a People’s Defender ) to investigate and report on the situation of the detainee committed to prison either in China or Taiwan and to assist him or her in getting legal counsel and requesting court hearings.
  • Mutually ensure that judicial proceedings are conducted fairly, in accordance with international human rights standards.
  • After China and Taiwan have officially confirmed their commitment to the protection of human rights in a bilateral agreement, citizens rights will not be undermined anymore by cultural, institutional and legal gaps – which are currently endangering the lives of too many innocent people.

    Comments