TDW concerned over democracy

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, May 21, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan Democracy Watch (TDW) yesterday expressed concern over the erosion of democracy as it released its annual top 10 democracy-related events, a review of democratic developments in the nation.

TDW observed three major threats against the nation’s democracy, but was also glad to see the rising influence of civil society, Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群), spokesperson of the non-governmental organization, told a press conference.

The protection of freedom of speech, the government’s failure to uphold the principle of fairness and justice, and the increasing influence of “outside forces” from countries such as China were serious concerns for Taiwan’s democracy, Hsu said.

“However, the emerging impact of Taiwan’s civil society could be the most pleasant development of the year and could be another momentum-changing democratic movement since the early 1990s,” he said.

The movement against media monopolization that lasted throughout the year and won support from almost every level of society was selected as the most important event of the year.

It was followed by a series of mandatory demolitions of local communities and buildings for urban renewal projects.

A mass protest of 200,000 people against the construction of a nuclear power plant ranked third, while hundreds of laid-off workers’ fight against the Council of Labor Affairs over a compensation controversy came in fourth.

Ranking fifth was public support for an anti-brainwashing demonstration staged in Hong Kong, and sixth was public opposition to the Miramar Resort development project in Taitung, followed by the Formosa Plastics Group’s lawsuit against a professor who released research results on the group’s environmental practices.

Rounding out the last three places were the corruption scandals involving several government officials of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the TWD’s “Declaration of Free Men,” which called for making human rights as the basis of future cross-strait engagement, and the review of Taiwan’s compliance with a pair of international human rights covenants.