President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday told a large gathering of Taiwanese expats in Denver, Colorado, that Taiwan would not succumb to pressure, but would continue to safeguard its freedoms, democracy and sovereignty.
“Many of you here today are concerned about Taiwan’s future,” Tsai said, addressing the 700-plus Taiwanese guests at a banquet held in her honor during her stopover in Denver on the return leg of her visit to Taiwan’s four diplomatic allies in the Caribbean.
Many people are anxious because China is perceived as closing in on Taiwan and has resorted to a carrot-and-stick approach to pressure Taiwan’s 23 million people into accepting its “one country, two systems” model, Tsai said, mostly in English, but with some Mandarin and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) thrown in.
Feelings of anxiety have been heightened by the sight of Hong Kong gradually losing its freedoms and democracy, she said, referring to massive protest triggered by an extradition bill that would allow the Hong Kong government to extradite criminal suspects to China.
“That has us worried about whether Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy will also disappear,” Tsai said at the banquet, which was also attended by American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, US Senator Cory Gardner and US Representative Doug Lamborn.
Tsai said that China’s suppression of Taiwan has been evident throughout her trip, including several complaints that Beijing lodged with the US government.
It has also shown up as information warfare, or disinformation, used to infiltrate Taiwanese society, she said.
“Next year will be a critical time for us to safeguard Taiwan’s democracy,” Tsai said, urging Taiwanese expats to return home next year to vote.
Solidarity is needed in the fight to protect Taiwan’s democracy and way of life for future generations, said Tsai, who is seeking re-election.
Arriving at about 3pm on Friday in Denver — the last leg of her 12-day overseas visit, including a stopover in New York City — Tsai and her delegation were received by Moriarty and Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰).
Prior to Tsai’s arrival, hundreds of Taiwanese expats had gathered outside the Hilton Denver City Center, where she was to stay.
Many waved the national flags of the Republic of China and the US, while others held banners that read: “Taiwan,” or bore slogans such as “Freedom and democracy, safeguard Taiwan.”
About a dozen Chinese protesters demonstrated near the hotel, waiving the People’s Republic of China national flag and chanting: “One China.”
No clashes occurred.
Tsai’s itinerary yesterday included visits to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a US federal laboratory dedicated to renewable energy development, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which developed Formosat-7, the second satellite cluster jointly built by Taiwan and the US.
She is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan tomorrow.
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