Congressional Screening of Film Sheds Light on the Historic Struggle for Democracy in Taiwan,

Encourages Critical Look at U.S. Foreign Policy toward Taiwan and China

Drawing attention to the current and decades-long struggle for democracy forged by the people of Taiwan and their American allies, FORMOSA BETRAYED — a dramatic and action-packed political thriller — was shown to members of Congress, their staff, and other Washington insiders at the Newseum on September 14, 2009. The screening was presented by the Formosa Foundation, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, CA, dedicated to the advancement of human rights, democracy, and the right to self-determination of Taiwan.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Congressmen David Wu (D-OR), and Michael McCaul (R-TX) presented remarks. Congressmen Al Green (D-TX) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), as well as congressional and professional staff from various House and Senate committees, joined the Formosa Foundation for an evening of entertainment and education on Taiwan’s democracy. Also present at the screening was writer/producer Will Tiao and actor Tzi Ma of FORMOSA BETRAYED.

The story of FORMOSA BETRAYED was inspired by the murders of Taiwanese and Taiwanese-American intellectual activists and their fight for the Taiwanese people’s right to self-determination and democracy. The film chronicles a complex and historical narrative of murder, political black lists, and “student spies” on American college campuses.

During the program, Senator Brown spoke of the need for Congress to keep an eye on what’s happening in Taiwan and expressed his concern that Taiwan’s democracy is “now in peril.” Brown confessed to the audience that he “dreamed of the day, like many of you, when U.S. policy moved to a one-China, one-Taiwan policy.” Brown went on to tell his colleagues that it is up to “us - the U.S. Congress - to help Taiwan keep the democracy that the people have earned and sacrificed to create.”

Congressman David Wu, who was born in Taiwan, stressed the importance of remembering the people who made both small and large sacrifices so that people in Taiwan could enjoy liberty and democracy today. In paraphrasing a saying made famous by then Governor Roosevelt in 1900, the Congressman said “amnesia is the handmaiden of tyranny; the only way that tyranny survives is if we forget what it does.”

Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee’s Intelligence Subcommittee and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, emphatically stated his strong support for Taiwan. He declared that “we like our independent in Texas and we have that in common.” McCaul went on to say that “America stands for freedom and democracy, and the fight against oppression and dictatorship, and we stand with you as we watch this movie.”

Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, pointed out in her remarks that “as the old saying goes, ‘freedom is not free.’  It requires constant vigilance to stand guard to preserve those democratic values.” Ros-Lehtinen encouraged other members of Congress to renew the pledge to maintain a free and democratic Taiwan. She made clear that “there can be no backsliding in Taiwan’s commitment to democracy.” 

The Congresswomen stated, “I strongly believe that by increasing mutual understanding and greater dialogue, as the Formosa Foundation does so well, we can make even greater progress towards building democracy in Taiwan and around the globe." She also praised the Formosa Foundation for "doing vital work to raise awareness about the historic struggle of Taiwanese and their American friends to build a democratic society."

By sharing the powerful message about the plight of the Taiwanese people and their fight for freedom, democracy and self determination with decision makers in Washington, D.C. we achieved our goal of increasing awareness about the historic struggle of Taiwanese and their American friends to build a democratic society. The most telling indicator of the success of Program Handout Thumbnailthe evening was that members of Congress sat through the entire film. One long time Washington hand remarked that unlike other events that she has attended this event “felt authentic.” The film received wide praise from attendees and we heard multiple comments about how important the movie is to understanding the complexity of the Taiwan situation.

(Click on image to download Program Handout & Supplemental Information)




News Coverage of the Event

Taipei Times 2009.9.16
Washington Times 2009.9.16
Politico 2009.9.17
Earth Times 2009.9.17
Liberty Times
(+ English translation) 2009.9.16
Liberty Times 2009.9.11
Taiwan Daily News (PDF) 2009.9.15
What Do You Know About Taiwan?”

Congressional Screening 1 Enoch Chang, Tzi Ma, Rep. David Wu, Rep. Michael McCaul, Will Tiao, Amy LinCongressional Screening 2 Tzi Ma, Terri Giles, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Will Tiao, Elise Whang, Enoch Chang
Congressional Screening 3 Senator Sherrod BrownCongressional Screening 4 The Taiwan issue unites Congress from both sides of the aisle. Congressional Screening 5 Will Tiao, Tzi Ma, Gerrit van der Wees and Mark Chen, former Foreign Minister of Taiwan