Broadening our support base
The contrast could not be starker: During Helsinki Design Week, temporary housing built by refugees using a design by Taiwanese architect Hsieh Ying-chun (謝英俊) was opened on Sept. 15. Lawmakers from the Green Party, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party participated in the event.
Three weeks later, a reception hosted by Taiwan’s diplomatic mission was also attended by lawmakers, but this time from the Center Party, the National Coalition Party and the so-called Finns Party.
While I appreciate the interest in Taiwan from both the liberal-left and the center-right, I am puzzled why there was no overlap: particularly why no one from the left attended the diplomatic reception. Maybe this is too small a sample from which to extrapolate, but it is hardly pure coincidence.
During the Cold War, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government fostered relations with right-wing contacts through the World Anti-Communist League and the International Democrat Union. The KMT saw the political left worldwide as fellow-travelers of communists and treated them with suspicion.
However, Taiwan is no longer under the KMT regime. Instead, it has a new source of legitimacy — that of popular suffrage and electoral democracy. As a vibrant democracy with a strong civil society, Taiwan needs the widest possible support from across the political spectrum globally.
The Taiwanese deserve the sympathy of politicians of all ideological hues who support governance by the ballot box.
Should not the Democratic Progressive Party administration reach out to friends in left-liberal parties, to lay the groundwork for further participation in the international community?
There is certainly interest in Taiwan from such politicians, too: This is evidenced by their participation at Hsieh’s event. They will not shy away from getting involved if Taiwan’s case is skillfully explained to them.
Thankfully, the civil society and Taiwan’s expatriate communities are already steps ahead of the government. Organizations such as the Formosan Association for Public Affairs in North America and Taiwan Corner in Europe have years of networking and lobbying experience ready for Taiwan’s diplomats to tap into.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier William Lai (賴清德) simply have to reorient the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and broaden the perspective of the diplomatic service.
In November last year, a man struck a woman with a steel bar and killed her outside a hospital in China’s Fujian Province. Later, he justified his actions to the police by saying that he attacked her because she was small and alone, and he was venting his anger after a dispute with a colleague. To the casual observer, it could be seen as another case of an angry man gone mad for a moment, but on closer inspection, it reflects the sad side of a society long brutalized by violent political struggles triggered by crude Leninism and Maoism. Starting
The year 2020 will go down in history. Certainly, if for nothing else, it will be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing impact it has had on the world. All nations have had to deal with it; none escaped. As a virus, COVID-19 has known no bounds. It has no agenda or ideology; it champions no cause. There is no way to bully it, gaslight it or bargain with it. Impervious to any hype, posturing, propaganda or commands, it ignores such and simply attacks. All nations, big or small, are on a level playing field
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement on Saturday that the US was to drop self-imposed restrictions on meetings between senior Taiwanese and US officials had immediate real-world effects. On Monday, US Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra met Representative to the Netherlands Chen Hsing-hsing (陳欣新) at the US embassy in The Hague, with both noting on social media the historic nature of this seemingly modest event. Modest perhaps, but their meeting would have been impossible before Pompeo’s announcement. Some have welcomed this move, thinking that it is long-overdue and a step in the right direction to normalizing relations between
The US last week took action to remove most of the diplomatic red tape around US-Taiwan relations. While there have been adjustments in State Department “Guidelines on Relations with Taiwan” and other guidance before, no administration has ever so thoroughly dispensed with them. It is a step in the right direction. Of course, when there is a policy of formally recognizing one government (the People’s Republic of China or PRC) and not another (the Republic of China or ROC), officials from the top of government down need a systematic way of operationalizing the distinction. They cannot just make it up as