A petition urging the Australian government to establish formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan has been launched by a 73-year-old retired lawyer who has “long been a supporter of Taiwan.”
Petition EN1120, which asks the Australian government to “accord full diplomatic recognition” to the Republic of China (ROC), had collected more than 9,100 signatures as of yesterday afternoon.
Gavan Duffy said that he was inspired to launch the petition after two similar ones were launched in Germany and the US earlier this year.
Photo courtesy of Gavan Duffy via CNA
The two petitions, which both last month reached the threshold of signatures needed to warrant an official government response, have not been addressed.
China’s recent unpopularity in Australia, caused by the activities of groups and students who support the Chinese Communist Party, was another motivation, Duffy said.
Duffy said he hopes to collect more than 20,000 signatures before the petition closes on Nov. 20.
“I think the petition will get people thinking about why Australia recognizes a totalitarian regime with an appalling human rights record and not democratic, free Taiwan,” Duffy said.
Australian media have been quiet on his petition.
Duffy — who describes himself as having been a frequent correspondent for US and British newspapers, the author of two books, a candidate for member of parliament and a retired lawyer — said that he was a member of The Friends of Free China Association about 40 years ago.
The association was founded by then-US senator Barry Goldwater, who usually referred to the ROC as “free China,” former representative to the US Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) said in an article in the Washington Times.
The nonprofit organization was crucial in Taiwan retaining ownership of Twin Oaks, an estate in Washington that served as the official residence for ROC ambassadors to the US before Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing, Shen said.
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