Ho De Fen is one of the founders of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and member of the Taiwan Media Watch Foundation. She participated in the Wild Lilies student movement and has since been active in the Taiwanese human rights movements. She has been promoting democratization since the days of the martial law.
Ho De Fen is a professor of law at the National Taiwan University. With the courage of a responsible scholar, she has devoted herself to political reform in Taiwan: "If we are still capable, especially if we are working for constitutional rights, democratization and human rights, then we should use our capabilities to promote the values of human rights so Taiwan can break out of the ice age.” In 1999 she initiated the Taiwan Association for Human Rights together with human rights groups and other scholars. She believes civic groups can play an important role in the process of democratization. They act as watchdogs and push for improvements in government functioning. With the assistance of other scholars and journalists, she formed the Taiwan Media Watch Foundation, to perform precisely this function. As a teacher and expert in law, she has fought for constitutional amendments in order to legalize teachers’ rights to form unions and to make election laws adequate for workers and farmers. She also assisted groups in need, like the students’ movement protesting after the assassination attempt on president Chen Shui-bian in March 2004. In 20 years of struggle in social movements she has never spoken of retirement. She says “If we don’t face any storms and challenges in our lives, then we will get used to pre-established concepts. We have felt the power and honesty of not giving in to authoritarian regimes.”
Department of Law, National Taiwan University