Meetings with the public, media, institutions and politicians have been scheduled for two Sunflower movement representatives early next month in London and Brussels to “increase awareness in the EU of Taiwan’s democratic challenges,” Copenhagen-based Taiwan Corner chairman Michael Danielsen said.
Danielsen said the purpose of the meetings is also to show that “sustainable cross-strait relations are only possible through improved transparency and broader backing by Taiwanese society.”
In an e-mail interview with the Taipei Times on Wednesday, Danielsen said Taiwan Corner has invited Dennis Wei (魏揚) and Wu Cheng (吳崢), both leaders of the student-led Sunflower movement, to visit London and Brussels from Saturday until Nov. 5 to attend public events, academic seminars and meetings with European politicians from different parties.
Praising the efforts made by Taiwanese in Europe to use social media to spread news about the Sunflower movement and Taiwan’s current situation, Danielsen said they have a real passion for Taiwan and all do a great job.
“However, when you consider what you are up against, there is an urgent need to reach out to the European public. If you want to make a change, you need to talk to policymakers. Social media alone do not change policies. We need to use all platforms in order to go into dialogs with the public,” Danielsen said.
He said the meetings are aimed at providing people in Europe “a different view on Taiwan” by addressing the nation’s democratic development, the political and economic challenges that the nation is facing in cross-strait relations, and how China is increasingly influencing Taiwan.
Danielsen said the Sunflower movement has ruined the story of peaceful cross-strait relations that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government has been telling Taiwanese, as well as European politicians.
“Personally, I believe that the KMT government has unfortunately been very successful in making Taiwan almost invisible in Europe over the past six years, and in portraying Taiwan as Chinese and giving the cross-strait relations a positive angle,” he said.
When thousands of people stand outside the legislature, which was occupied by students for almost 23 days from March 18 this year, and with more than 250,000 people protesting on March 30 for more transparency and democracy in the KMT government’s handling of cross-strait relations and to stop a cross-strait service trade agreement, “then there is something wrong in Taiwan,” Danielsen said.
Danielsen said Europeans want peace in the Taiwan Strait and that is what the KMT has delivered so far, but the KMT’s delivery “has started to fail” because the Sunflower movement has shown that democracy and justice still mean something and cannot be ignored.
“The Sunflower movement has been a wake-up call for Europeans and shows that sustainable cross-strait relations require the backing of the Taiwanese,” he added.
He added that both Europeans and Taiwanese should learn from Hong Kong and take necessary precautions when they get closer to China, to ensure social stability and independence of their economy and media.
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