Is Taiwan drifting in China’s direction?
How can we preserve its democracy and freedom to choose its own future?
Gerrit van der Wees
Formosan Association for Public Affairs Senior Political Advisor
Editor of Taiwan Communiqué
in a speech:
“Where Is Taiwan Going?
Issues to Bring to Congress”
Date & Time: Sunday, October 17, 2010, 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Ivy Tech Community College – Central Indiana
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Family Technology Center
50 West Fall Creek Parkway North Drive
Indianapolis, Indiana 46208
Sponsor: FAPA Indiana Chapter
Brief background of Gerrit van der Wees
FAPA Senior Political Advisor and Editor of Taiwan Communiqué
Dr. Gerrit van der Wees was born in The Hague Netherlands. He and his Taiwan-born wife Mei-chin Chen met when both attended graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle in the 1970s.
In 1980, in the aftermath of the "Kaohsiung Incident" of December 1979, when the Kuomintang authorities arrested virtually all leading members of the democratic opposition on the island, they started to publish Taiwan Communiqué, a bi-monthly publication dedicated to human rights and democracy in Taiwan.
Right after "Kaohsiung", Gerrit also worked together with Dr. Mark Chen in lobbying Congress for the release of the arrested opposition leaders. This helped lay the foundation for the formation of FAPA in 1982.
In the subsequent years, Taiwan Communiqué – then based in The Netherlands -- played a key role in focusing the attention of the American Congress, the State Department, and the international community on human rights and the lack of democracy on the island.
As the democratic political system began to take root in Taiwan after the establishment of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1986, and the lifting of Martial Law (July 1987), the publication started to focus on Taiwan's international position, and working in support of Taiwan's membership in the United Nations.
Taiwan Communiqué urges the international community to recognize Taiwan as a free and democratic country, which lives in peace with all its neighbors, including China. It emphasizes that Taiwan has a right to be recognized as a full and equal member of the international community.
Gerrit van der Wees has a background in Aerospace Engineering (MA, Delft University, The Netherlands 1971) and Technology Transfer (Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle 1981). From 1982 through 2005 he served as a civil servant in the Dutch government, primarily in the aerospace policy section of the Ministry for Economic Affairs. From 1994 through 2000 he also served as a Science and Technology Attaché at the Dutch Embassy in Washington.
In the summer of 2005, Gerrit and his wife returned from The Netherlands to Washington DC to work for FAPA. At FAPA Headquarters, Gerrit is responsible for contacts with the US Senate, and is also a key player in the contacts with think tanks and the international press.
FAPA has decided to start publishing the Taiwan Communiqué as a FAPA publication. Issue no. 128 appeared in June 2010. For back issues going back to 1980, which chronicle Taiwan's remarkable transition to democracy, visit the Internet at www.taiwandc.org/twcom/