Group marches in New York for UN bid

TURNED AWAY::Taiwanese have reportedly been denied entry to the UN headquarters, despite being given the option of choosing ‘Taiwan’ when purchasing tickets online

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

Mon, Sep 19, 2016 - Page 3

Hundreds of Taiwanese living in the US on Saturday joined a Taiwanese delegation in a march in New York City, calling for Taiwan to be granted UN membership ahead of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly that begins tomorrow.

Taiwan United Nations Alliance president Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said he is thankful for the participation of Taiwanese-American youth in the march, adding that their appeal this year was covered by various media outlets including CBS, the New York Times, Germany’s Deutsche Welle, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and various outlets in Japan.

“This reveals how moved world media is by the will of Taiwanese,” Tsai said.

Taiwanese American Association of New York member and Outreach for Taiwan cofounder Jenny Wang (汪采羿) said she hopes the world will become more familiar with Taiwan through this year’s protests, the largest to date, adding that participation in the UN and its associated organizations would earn Taiwan the international recognition that it deserves.

Wang said that as a second-generation Taiwanese-American she is proud of her Taiwanese heritage and believes that most Taiwanese-Americans identify as Taiwanese and not Chinese.

Protesters carried flags and chanted slogans such as “Keep Taiwan free” and “UN for Taiwan” as they walked from One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to Times Square.

Participants included Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kolas Yotaka, New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) and former Dominican Republic ambassador to Taiwan Manuel Felix.

The alliance said that its request to visit the UN building was denied and they were told that Taiwan “is not a UN member country; it is not a country.”

There have also been media reports that Taiwanese passport holders were denied entry into the UN building despite having the option of choosing “Taiwan” when purchasing entry tickets online.

Tsai said China’s bullying of Taiwan makes no distinction between politics and otherwise, citing the need for Taiwanese to show multiple forms of identification when observing WHA sessions of the WHO, despite other visitors requiring only a passport.

Alliance vice director Tseng Tsung-kai (曾琮愷) said that alliance members were able to observe the UN session and were even assigned a guide last year, adding that an official in the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office confirmed that the denial this year was due to interference from China.

Tseng said that Taiwan must stand up for its rights, speaking about the blocking of Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization by China.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the UN has been denying Taiwanese passport holders entry since November last year under pressure from China, and called the action unjust and a violation of universal values, adding that it has voiced protests with the UN and demanded the latter cease denying entry to Taiwanese.