Freedom House hails Taiwanese democracy

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jul 17, 2019 - Page 3

US non-governmental organization Freedom House on Monday published a speech its president delivered on Friday last week calling on Washington to support Taiwan’s democracy.

The speech, titled “Taiwan’s exemplary democracy deserves America’s attention and support,” was delivered by Freedom House president Michael Abramowitz at a dinner hosted by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in New York City.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who was making a stopover in the city on her way to a state visit to the nation’s allies in the Caribbean, also attended the dinner.

The US government-sponsored organization has always admired Taiwan’s progress from a military dictatorship to a free nation, Abramowitz said.

Taiwan’s persistence in improving freedom and democratic institutions at a time when a number of nations are moving away from “greater liberty” is inspiring, he added.

However, as Taiwan’s democratic institutions and liberty have blended into people’s everyday lives, the “discordant noises and hostile actions from Beijing have intensified,” he said.

“It is as if China modulates its menacing gestures in tandem with Taiwan’s democracy. The greater Taiwan’s freedoms, the more table thumping, harsh demands and threats from Beijing,” Abramowitz said.

On behalf of the organization, Abramowitz said he was “deeply moved” by Tsai’s presence in the US, as Tsai has “one of the world’s toughest jobs” — one that requires her to withstand pressure from different factions and interest groups, while simultaneously facing a neighbor whose military and economy are more powerful, and that views Taiwan’s democratic freedoms as an “existential threat” to its regime of control, censorship and regimentation.

Abramowitz said he especially wanted to salute Taiwanese.

“[Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平) has worked desperately to send the idea of freedom in Taiwan down history’s memory hole, and again and again, Taiwan’s people have responded with a resounding ‘No,’” he said. “At Freedom House, we are committed to amplifying that ‘No.’”