A segment of the Berlin Wall was erected in the garden of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) in Taipei yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall, but the foundation declined to draw parallels with Taiwan.
During the unveiling ceremony, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who is also the foundation’s chairman, said that the fall of the wall ushered in the “third wave” of democratization.
Both the fall of the wall and Taiwan’s successful transition were proof of the universal aspiration of all humanity for democracy, freedom and human rights, he said.
Wang urged the public to refrain from linking the wall segment to unification with China.
“It’s too early to talk about unification,” he said. “Many people think that it may not happen during our lifetimes.”
The donation of the segment was not a sensitive issue, he said, and there had been no word about it from Beijing.
Wang said he hoped Taiwan’s democratization could influence other Asian nations, especially China, to become more democratic.
Wang said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had wanted to attend the unveiling, but had sent Presidential Office Secretary-General Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) as his representative.
Wang said the foundation had been informed in April that the government of Oberhavel District in Brandenburg State was willing to donate a segment of the wall as a token of hope for Taiwan’s work on human rights and a symbol of Taiwan’s quest for freedom and democracy. The message had been conveyed by the then-chairman of the Memorial Foundation of 228, Chen Chin-huang (陳錦煌), who is now chairman of the Hsin Kang Foundation, he said.
Representative to Germany Wei Wu-lien (魏武煉) accepted the gift on July 20 and arranged for its shipment, Wang said.
The German Institute in Taipei also provided assistance, including bringing German human rights activist Joern Mothes from the former East Germany to speak at yesterday’s ceremony, he said.
The 3.5m by 1.2m, 2.5-tonne segment has been placed temporarily in the TFD’s garden. Wang said the foundation would incorporate it into its new building as a public monument. He said for Taiwan, the wall segment was not only an artifact, but a symbol of the values of democracy, freedom and human rights that the public would cherish forever.
Wang said the “Berlin Wall” across the Taiwan Strait was torn down 22 years ago when the government allowed Taiwanese to visit their families in China. Since the government abolished the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) in 1991, there has been no immediate threat of military conflict in the Strait, he said.
Wang said while the government “is doing what it is supposed to do to tear down the wall in the Taiwan Strait,” both sides need to work to prevent a military conflict and if a peace agreement could be signed, peace would be more sustainable.
“Everybody is watching how the leaders of both sides handle a peace accord,” he said.
In his keynote speech yesterday, Mothes said the Berlin Wall was a symbol of division, dictatorship and repression.
Mothes, born in 1962, a year after the wall was erected, said the wall divided Germany and his family.
“The question whether to stay in the GDR [German Democratic Republic] or to try to leave the country was a question people like my parents asked themselves almost every day,” he said.
The fall of the wall was the happiest moment of his life, he said.
“This part of the wall tells us that freedom and political change by peaceful means is possible,” he said. “A life of dignity and self-determination should be possible everywhere.”
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
WRONG TIMING: The delegation’s trip has not only disappointed Taiwanese, but could send a wrong message to the global community, Tsai Ing-wen said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday left with a delegation for a trip to China, drawing fire for visiting at a time when Beijing has been conducting intensive military drills to pressure Taiwan. Before boarding, he told reporters that the delegation would be visiting Taiwanese communities and students in China, and possibly meet with Chinese officials. The Mainland Affairs Council on Tuesday night said that it was not the right time for political party members to visit China, as Beijing has been conducting military exercises since Thursday last week. President Tsai Ing- wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the Democratic
ORDNANCE: Under a five-year plan, the Chungshan Institute would make about 200 Hsiung Feng II and III/IIIE, and Hsiung Sheng missiles, an official said The Ministry of National Defense plans to counter the Chinese navy by producing more than 1,000 anti-ship missiles over the next five years, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The comments came after China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy began a series of military drills in a simulated naval blockade of Taiwan proper following a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Although China has in the past few years rapidly produced many warships and added them to its navy, these large vessels are more suited for warfare on the open sea than in the narrow
The organizers of WorldPride 2025 have canceled the Kaohsiung event because its licensing group, InterPride, demanded that it remove “Taiwan” from the event’s name, they said in a statement yesterday. Kaohsiung was to host WorldPride Taiwan 2025 after being granted the right by the global LGBTQ advocacy group. However, the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee said that InterPride recently gave “abrupt notice” asking it to change the name of the event and use “Kaohsiung” instead of “Taiwan,” even though it applied for the event using “Taiwan” in its name. The name was initially chosen for its significance to the Taiwanese LGBTQ community, as