Taiwanese expats should help
Having just returned to the US this week after attending the March 30 Sunflower rally with half a million people in Taipei, I am overcome with the hope and promise of change, and a proud sense of participation in the history of the nation’s democracy.
Overseas Taiwanese should and can contribute to the Sunflower movement. They can do their share toward protecting the nation’s democracy.
First, the Sunflower movement in general, including the rally, were initiated entirely by Taiwanese college students calling for long-overdue policies for dealing with China and social reform. The students demand changes to the review of the cross-strait service trade agreement and base their appeals on the principles of freedom and democracy, guided by procedural and substantive justice.
They are voicing grave concerns over potential damage to the nation’s fledgling democracy that might result from the agreement — as happened with a similar agreement in Hong Kong after 1997 — including imbalanced media coverage, compromised elections and heightened social controls over speech and religious beliefs. Moreover, they are demanding proper action be taken against police who used excessive force against unarmed civilians.
Many foreigners residing in Taiwan attended the rally. Their presence sent a strong and unequivocal pledge of support to the students for their cause. These international friends endorse universal values such as liberty, democracy and free press, which Taiwanese have fought long and hard to earn.
To make a difference in the nation’s democracy, overseas Taiwanese can join international communities and voice their support for the Sunflower movement.
With an abundance of voluntary effort, the students are not in great need of financial support, but knowing they are not alone in the fight would go a long way in helping them for the journey ahead.
Overseas Taiwanese can help by organizing rallies in Taiwanese communities to raise awareness, send letters to editors and discuss Taiwanese events with international media outlets. They can also talk to elected officials about what protecting the nation’s democracy means to the rest of the world.
The support will render a strong voice to help Taiwanese get through this most trying of times, as they fight the good fight to safeguard the universal values of democracy, which are enjoyed by a large part of people in the rest of the world.
Chiehwen Ed Hsu
San Diego, California