Chinese Association for Human Rights Open Letter

French Institute Taipei

Ms Elisabeth Laurin

Please forward this letter to Foreign Ministry of France

February 18, 2004

Foreign Ministry of France

Dear Mr. Dominique de Villepin,

We wish to draw your attention to an incident involving the French police which took place from January 24th through January 27th, 2004. During this incident more than 30 Taiwanese visitors were illegally and harshly arrested. As an organization for human rights in Taiwan, we demand a full and impartial investigation. We demand respect for the Taiwanese people from all French authorities. France is known around the world for its respect for human rights and the freedom of religion and expression, and this incident has cast a deep shadow upon this fine reputation.

We were shocked to hear that law-abiding Taiwanese citizens were arrested apparently without good cause. According to a reliable report, French police admitted that the arrests took place because “Yellow [was] illegal in France”. This is absolutely unfair and unacceptable. It is also an infraction of fundamental human rights.

We profoundly regret that your authorities would arrest people without due legal process. We believe that inappropriate actions preventing Taiwanese visitors from expressing heart-felt religious belief seriously infringes their freedom of religion and expression.

France is a free, democratic and constitutional country. There is no excuse for your authorities to arrest those Taiwanese visitors and no right to not allow them legitimately exercising their freedom of expression.

We demand that you immediately investigate this incident if French police were involved in an illegal arrest, to show that your government still stands by the value of universal human rights and avoid a misunderstanding from Taiwan that we are not welcome to your country, and let people believe that France is still a free, democratic, constitutional country that respects universal human rights.

Yours sincerely,

Chinese Association for Human Rights

4F-3, No.23, Sec.1, Hangchow S.Rd., Taipei,100

Tel: (02) 2393-3676

Fax: (02) 2395-7399

Website: www.cahr.org.tw