Democracy advocates, among them Hong Kong singer-activist Denise Ho (何韻詩) and exiled Chinese dissident Yang Jianli (楊建利), yesterday attended the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taipei to encourage more people to support movements against authoritarian regimes.
Several speakers made references to the protests in Hong Kong, which have grown from a movement against a proposed extradition bill into calls for wider democratic reforms.
Taking the stage to cheers and applause, Ho said Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) caused the protests by misjudging the political situation.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
“By hiding behind the police force, refusing to resolve these political issues with political solutions, [Lam] has pushed our city into becoming a total police state,” Ho said.
She also dismissed Lam’s formal withdrawal of the extradition bill on Wednesday last week as “too little, too late,” saying that the protesters would continue to push for their demands.
Ho was later joined on stage by independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐), who thanked Hong Kong’s protesters for standing firm against China.
“Seeing our friends in Hong Kong continuing to have courage under such difficult circumstances, constantly moving forward and constantly renewing their protest actions, as people living in Taiwan, what right do we have to let go of everything that we have?” he asked.
Fears about Chinese capital coming in via Hong Kong had led to some discussion that Taiwan should protect itself from covert foreign interference by recognizing investments from Hong Kong as coming from an “ordinary city in China,” Lim said.
However, as doing so would effectively be “giving up” on Hong Kong, Taiwanese should stand with the territory and participate in a Sept. 29 march outside the Legislative Yuan organized by civic organizations, Lim said.
The forum struck an upbeat and hopeful note, despite its focus on authoritarian regimes.
Asked whether Hong Kong would see violent suppression akin to the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, Yang said that the possibility could not be ruled out, but added that violence remains a “very small” part of the protests.
Yang also said that he was “amazed” that Hong Kong’s protesters had kept up their momentum while avoiding any splintering, which most protest movements suffer.
Earlier in the day, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator You Mei-nu (尤美女), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁) and Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan chief coordinator Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) took to the stage to speak about Taiwan’s path to marriage equality.
Hsu said Taiwan’s legalization of same-sex marriage in May was “further proof that Taiwan’s soft power could lead Asia toward more progressive values.”
Lu said that Taiwan experienced all three possible routes to marriage equality — a constitutional interpretation, a referendum and legislation — in just three years.
This was a “severe challenge, but “marriage equality is the starting line, not the finishing line,” Lu said, adding that LGBT people in Taiwan continue to face discrimination.
Hsu said that despite the legal victory, equality was not yet assured on issues such as transnational marriage, adoption and surrogacy.
Other speakers related their struggles in Myanmar, North Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.
Taiwan remains the only Asian nation to have hosted the forum, which is organized by the US-based Human Rights Foundation.
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
ANTI-COERCION: EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the EU wishes to bolster relations with Taiwan within the framework of its ‘one China’ policy The EU is to further its engagement with Taiwan to defend democracy, freedom and an open market, while bolstering cooperation in semiconductor supply chains, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. In her remarks at a European Parliament plenary session focused on Taiwan-EU relations, Vestager referred to China’s increasing military presence in the Taiwan Strait, including flying missions off the southwest coast of Taiwan. “This display of force may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” she said, adding that the EU encourages all parties to avoid any unilateral actions that might increase tensions across the Strait. “We Europeans
DOWN, NOT OUT: The election was not a total defeat, as Chen still received 73,433 votes against the recall, and his party has ‘grown up’ through the process, he said Voters in Taichung yesterday recalled Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟), making him the first legislator in the nation’s history to lose a recall election. A total of 77,899 votes were cast to recall Chen, while 73,433 voted against, the Taichung City Election Commission said, adding that 51.72 percent of the city’s second electoral district turned out. The Central Election Commission is to confirm the final figures within the next seven days, it said. Commission data showed that there are 294,976 eligible voters in the second district, comprised of Dadu (大肚), Shalu (沙鹿), Longjing (龍井), Wufong (霧峰) and Wurih (烏日) districts. Chen won
MILITARY RESOLVE: Washington does not want a cold war with Beijing, it just wants ‘China to understand that we’re not going to step back,’ Biden told a CNN town hall The US would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the nation China claims as its own, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday, although the White House later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has been facing mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long