Wed, Dec 05, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Work cut out for Taiwan

The results of last month’s nine-in-one local elections and referendums attracted the attention of international media. What kind of a message has Taiwan sent out to the world?

Referendum 13, which asked voters whether they supported changing the name of the nation’s sport team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics from the current “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan,” failed to meet the required threshold and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) won an overwhelming victory.

International media interpreted this as a strong endorsement of the pro-China pan-blue camp by the electorate.

Additionally, in one report the BBC stated that Taiwanese voters refused to support same-sex marriage, which has dealt a blow to the island’s image as the vanguard of LGBTQ rights in Asia.

Whether or not we agree with the above interpretations of the results, we must not forget that Taiwan was the first nation in the Chinese-speaking world to elect a woman as its figurehead.

Furthermore, the implication of the Council of Grand Justices’ Interpretation No. 748 was a clear declaration of human rights values, which attracted commendation from international media and significantly elevated the nation’s image on the international stage.

If the results of the elections and referendums mean that international media have now lowered their assessment of Taiwan, this is something that the public must take collective responsibility for.

The results mean that Taiwan’s role within the cold war between the US and China has become both more awkward and more complex. It will also be even more difficult for Taiwan to fend off infiltration by Chinese forces.

Taiwan is caught in a political, economic and geographical vice. On the international stage its voice has been suppressed for far too long and so the nation lacks awareness of the need to fight for influence. It is always difficult for small nations to make their way in the world.

After the local elections and referendums, Taiwan should work hard to foster a more open society that is more compassionate and international. We must fight hard to obtain a positive voice in the international media so that the world’s impression of Taiwan is something that all Taiwanese can be proud of.

Lin Li-shan

New Taipei City

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