Tue, Mar 12, 2019 - Page 3 News List

China slams report on ‘Taiwan democracy’

CHINESE OPPRESSION:The Chinese embassy in Stockholm’s protest to Sveriges Television again exposed its unreasonable and authoritarian nature, MOFA said

By Lu Yi-hsuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee speaks at a news conference at the ministry on Jan. 24.

Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times

A report expounding Taiwanese democracy and calling for support of the nation submitted to Sveriges Television (SVT) by Representative to Sweden Daniel Liao (廖東周) has been met with a stern protest from the Chinese embassy in Stockholm.

In the report, which aired last month, Liao called on the Swedish government to support Taiwan’s bid for meaningful participation in international organizations.

The Chinese embassy in Stockholm on March 2 lodged a protest with SVT, saying that the Taiwan issue is a Chinese internal affair and that Sweden should “clearly recognize the strong efforts of Taiwanese separatists to viciously harm the warm China-Sweden friendship.”

At an annual government meeting on diplomatic issues, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom said that in the face of an ever-increasing threat to democracy in Europe, her government must promote democracy everywhere it can as part of foreign affairs efforts.

Invoking Wallstrom’s statement, Liao said that China had long been using economic pressure to obstruct Taiwan’s international participation by forcing compliance from other countries.

Swedish companies and government authorities had also given in to pressure from China to diminish Taiwan, he said, citing the Swedish Tax Agency and airlines, which have referred to Taiwan as a “province of China.”

While Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said in his “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” in January that he would push for Taiwan’s unification with China under its “one country, two systems” framework, this would not be acceptable to Taiwan, Liao said.

Taiwan is different from China in that it enjoys democracy and its nature as an independent nation is a fact that cannot be refuted, he said.

Taiwan’s 23 million people would remain resolute in defending their democracy and are prepared to contribute to promoting democracy, he said.

In response, the Chinese embassy in Stockholm said that SVT’s airing of a message “promoting Taiwanese independence from the person in charge of the Taipei delegation” was a challenge to the “one China principle.”

“This is a serious political provocation and a lie,” the letter of complaint said, adding that Liao’s report was damaging to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The embassy said it strongly resented SVT “giving Taiwanese separatists a platform.”

Issues related to Taiwan concern China’s “core interests and the sentiments of the Chinese people,” it said.

Understanding this is crucial to the foundation of China’s diplomatic relations with Sweden, it said, adding that the “‘one China’ principle is not open for discussion.”

“China has no intention of interfering with Sweden’s freedom of speech or its press freedom, but these things cannot be used to harm other nations,” the embassy said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) on Sunday said that China’s “unreasonable” protest to SVT was not surprising.

However, the ministry took exception to Beijing’s attempts to suppress a report that amounted to free speech in a country that allows free speech, Lee said.

China had again exposed its unreasonable and authoritarian nature, Lee said.

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