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Whispers of Conspiracy Follow Taiwan Vote

March 23, 2004

Re "Taiwan Election Proceeds Despite Assassination Try," March 20: Having lived in Taiwan for more than 25 years before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen for about another 25 years, I can say that it's normal to see Americans armed to the teeth in the name of a constitutional right to bear firearms. But in Taiwan, it's extremely abnormal that any citizen should possess or have access to a gun -- any gun. As far as I know, only the military, the police, special security personnel and possibly a few privileged high-ranking officials can possess firearms for protection. Little wonder that several conspiracy theories are being circulated in Taiwan concerning the identity of the shooter who targeted Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and the vice president one day before the pivotal election that included a referendum denounced by China and the U.S.

Dienyih Gilbert Chen

Redondo Beach

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Re "Taiwan's Election Results Disputed," March 21: As a longtime community activist in Southern California, I am well aware of the enthusiasm of the thousands of U.S. citizens and residents of Chinese (Taiwanese) descent who rushed to Taiwan to cast their votes, and I am impressed with their keen awareness of their political loyalty. However, I am baffled as to what they are: Are they the nationals of the Republic of China (Taiwan) or the citizens of the United States of America? Where does their loyalty lie? Is it legal to be dual citizens and be able to cast votes on both sides of the Pacific?

I am an avid, longtime advocate of "when in Rome do as the Romans do" for all the Chinese Americans who should be Americans first, for this is our home! If we Chinese Americans continue to demonstrate that our hearts are with the old country, we will not be accepted wholeheartedly by other ethnic groups as true Americans for another century, and our children will suffer the consequences.

David Ma

Monterey Park

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