The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan yesterday urged the government to make moves toward formal independence to safeguard the nation’s freedom and democracy against Chinese infiltration.
“We must adopt a Taiwan-centric way of thinking and remain united as Beijing attempts to infiltrate and divide us in all kinds of ways,” the church said in a statement read by its general secretary Lyim Hong-tiong (林芳仲) at a news conference.
Now is a critical time for Taiwanese to forge ahead and work toward joining the international community, the statement said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
“We must continue to try and join international organizations in the name of ‘Taiwan,’” the church said.
The church urged Taiwanese to “leave all bias behind, and instead embrace love and tolerance to help Taiwan overcome threats and isolation from China, and move toward becoming a new and independent nation.”
The Nov. 24 elections saw China attempting to “manipulate Taiwan’s democracy” by taking advantage of its democratic system, it said.
Taiwanese should consider developing mechanisms of a so-called “defensive democracy” to better protect their freedom and democracy, the church said.
To prevent fake news from being circulated, everyone should learn to judge the authenticity of news and not disseminate untrue information, it said.
The media in particular should adhere to professional ethics and fact-check news stories before publishing them, it added.
The church in 1977 issued a human rights declaration calling on the government to “make Taiwan a new and independent nation,” church moderator Hsieh Po-tsan (薛伯讚) told the news conference.
Forty-one years after the declaration, Taiwan has become a democracy with its own armed forces, territory and a president directly elected by the public, he said.
The church has decided to issue the new statement out of concern over China’s incessant threats to Taiwan’s democracy, he said.
Authoritarian rulers who wish to avoid democratization often attack democracies by using their openness and vulnerability, Lyim said.
Taiwan’s democracy has become a target for Beijing because it poses a threat to its authoritarianism, he said, adding that the nation should improve mechanisms of defensive democracy through legislation, he said, as the US, Japan and Australia had done.
The Chinese government has been using Taiwan’s democratic values to “destroy our democratic diversity and freedom of speech,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said.
Considering the events in Crimea and southern Vietnam, and given that Taiwan’s democracy is under far more serious pressure than the US or European nations, building more defensive mechanisms is worth considering, he said.
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese. Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait. Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said
IDENTITY: The time is right to press on with a referendum, as the nation has heightened visibility and support in the global community, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance said The Taiwan United Nations Alliance yesterday said that it is considering launching a petition for a referendum proposal to have the nation join the UN under the name “Taiwan.” Alliance chairman Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) was joined at a news conference in Taipei by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳) and leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and civic organizations. They said that it is the right time for a petition because Taiwan’s visibility on the world stage has increased, as it has been praised for its success in containing its COVID-19 outbreak and for helping other countries by sharing
An advertisement displayed in the corridor of the underground Taipei City Mall has caused contention online with social media users saying that it depicts Taiwanese bears as servants of Chinese pandas. The advertisement — which imitates the style of an ancient Chinese painting, but replaces people with bears — shows a scene in imperial China, with Formosan black bears laboring, while pandas relax and enjoy beverages. “The development of the tourism industry is important, but this type of targeted advertising is extremely disrespectful — and it makes people uncomfortable,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) said. The advertisement, under