President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday night appeared before more than 1,000 supporters in Manhattan, New York City, touting Taiwan as a bastion of democracy while warning that freedoms around the world are under threat like never before.
“It is absolutely crucial for democracies to work together to counter the expansion of authoritarian influences,” Tsai told a packed house at the Grand Hyatt New York, without mentioning China by name.
“We cannot take Taiwan’s hard-earned freedom and democracy for granted,” she said.
Tsai’s first-ever transit through New York as president, part of a larger 12-day journey to the nation’s four Caribbean diplomatic allies, sparked anger and outrage from China, which urged the US government not to allow it.
Pro-Beijing protesters turned out by the hundreds on Thursday and Friday to rally outside the hotel near Manhattan’s iconic Grand Central Station.
Penned in by New York Police Department barricades, demonstrators held aloft a panoply of handmade signs, including ones that read: “Oppose Taiwanese independence” (反對台獨) and “Taiwan is China’s” (台灣是中國的).
At one point, they also blasted the Chinese national anthem on loudspeakers as they waved US and Chinese flags, a scene that stopped vehicles and pedestrians in their tracks.
Speaking in English, as well as in Mandarin and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), Tsai told the roughly 1,070 banquet attendees that Taiwan and New York are more alike than people think.
“We both take pride in our progressive society, openness to new ideas and tolerance for different opinions — like the noise outside of this hotel,” she said, referring to the pro-Beijing protests, a remark that drew both laughter and applause.
Tsai’s trip, dubbed the “Journey of Freedom, Democracy and Sustainability,” is to take her to Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia, four of Taiwan’s 17 remaining diplomatic allies.
Democratic and Republican members of the US Congress who attended the event spoke of their strong support for Taiwan.
They mentioned a US$2.2 billion possible weapons sale to Taiwan approved this week by the US Department of State and the US’ Taiwan Travel Act, signed into law last year by US President Donald Trump.
The act allows senior US officials to travel to Taiwan and vice-versa.
“We’re standing together to face a growing threat,” said Republican US Representative Michael McCaul, a ranking member on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. “China threatens our shared security, our values and our system of government.”
Earlier in the day, Tsai attended a Taiwan-US business summit and participated in a panel discussion at Columbia University.
On Thursday, she visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, the nation’s de facto embassy, and met with a group of permanent representatives to the UN from nations that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Before heading home, Tsai is to stop in Denver, Colorado, also for two days. There, she is expected to meet with reporters at an informal gathering to share the results of her visits.
Tsai is scheduled to return home on July 22.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
TIME FOR CHANGE: Most of those at a public hearing organized by the DPP’s Chung Chia-pin also agreed that the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan should be abolished Taiwan needs a new constitution, as the current one was adopted in Nanjing in 1946, when the Republic of China (ROC) represented all of China, while the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan should be abolished, legal experts and academics said yesterday during a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Chang Kun-sheng (張錕盛), a law professor and secretary-general of the Taiwan Administrative Law Association, said that it is time to draft a new constitution. The ROC Constitution was adopted during a National Constituent Assembly meeting in Nanjing shortly after World War II and before the Chinese Civil War had fully erupted,
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among