The administration of President Chen Shui-bian (
What is truly deplorable is that the US -- Taiwan's supposed ally and a country that, in his new book The Assault on Reason, former US vice president Al Gore pompously says brought the gift of democracy to the world -- would turn to humiliating practices to force Taiwanese officials into a direction that is not in the best interest of the people they were elected to represent. Or -- as seems to be brewing on the horizon -- for it to pressure other countries into blocking Taiwan from seeking UN membership.
It is no small irony that this proponent of democracy abroad has seen its democratic institutions at home become so corrupted as to threaten its very system. As Gore, a victim of undemocratic practices himself, shows in his book, officials at all levels have reached unprecedented levels of unaccountability, deceiving the public on -- to name a few prominent cases -- elections, energy, the environment, security and launching a devastating war based on nothing better than a cornucopia of lies.
The end result of the White House's unaccountable practices in the past seven years, in fact, is orders of magnitude worse than anything Chen could ever do.
And yet, on every occasion the White House has worked against Taiwanese bids to join international institutions, US officials -- including former US secretary of state Colin Powell -- will paternalistically, if not condescendingly, argue that Taiwan should instead work on "strengthening" or "consolidating" its democracy, as if speaking to a small child that is unable to walk on its own.
The thing is, in this less-than-ideal relationship, the parent is basically telling the child that it should not attempt to walk. When it obstinately continues to strive for freedom, to walk and fall on its own, the parent figure berates it and calls it "immature."
Oddly enough, we never hear US officials call on China to "strengthen" or "further" its democracy. Perhaps it is because Beijing chose to walk down a different path, one in which the rights and freedoms of the people the Chinese government supposedly represents can be trampled without consequences. It would seem, therefore, that when a country has to deal with the US, being a democracy is in fact a handicap.
If the State Department and the White House want to dictate Taiwan's choices, they should at least have the decency to refrain from couching all of their self-serving policies in democratic terms that can only make a travesty of this gift to humanity. Taiwan's democracy, though imperfect like that of all its brethren, is doing well enough. After all, Cuban President Fidel Castro never offered to send monitors to oversee elections in Taiwan. The US can't say as much, ironically.
Chen's wildest blunders, about-faces and broken promises -- all made in the context of the quest for the recognition of Taiwan -- have not endangered lives or made a joke of democratic principles. Unlike Washington's own mistakes, his have not resulted in countless deaths, a gargantuan national debt and a step backward in what indeed used to be a democratic system that deserved to be the envy of the world.
Which begs the question: Who should be advising whom on the need to further one's democracy?
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose