The Germany-based Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) on Tuesday said that it is to relocate its Global Innovation Hub to Taipei from Hong Kong early next year, citing Taiwan’s political stability and democratic structures as ideal conditions.
The foundation, linked to Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP), said on its Web site that it aims to promote democratic values and improve international human rights coalitions in Germany and abroad.
In September, it announced the closure of its innovation hub and office in Hong Kong, which opened last year and in 2018, saying “it can no longer guarantee the security of its employees on site” after the National Security Law for Hong Kong took effect on June 30.
“With its political stability and its democratic, pluralistic and liberal society, Taiwan offers ideal conditions for the work of the Global Innovation Hub,” the foundation said in a news release on Tuesday.
Since the foundation opened its first office in Asia in 1969, the region had developed rapidly, and today Asian countries are pioneers in the fields of digital society and e-governance, foundation chairman and FDP member Karl-Heinz Paque was quoted as saying in the release.
“With our new office, we want to embrace innovations dynamically and set trends ourselves, rather than simply reacting. Taiwan offers the best conditions for this,” Paque said.
“Taiwan is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of digitalization. Its modern administration and progressive start-up culture are a global role model,” the foundation said.
“With the establishment of the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] in 1986, a successful liberal party has existed in Taiwan for years. The DPP is also a member of Liberal International and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats,” it said.
Last week, two Washington-based non-governmental organizations, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the International Republican Institute, also announced their plans to establish offices in Taipei after they were sanctioned by Beijing for voicing support for Hong Kong.
In an e-mail to the Taipei Times, the foundation said that its first office in Asia was opened in Indonesia in 1969 and it has 10 offices across Asia now — in Bangkok, Colombo, Dhaka, Hanoi, Islamabad, Jakarta, Manila, New Delhi, Seoul and Yangon.
“One of our staff will be sent from FNF HQ to live in Taipei and to run our office there. She will hire local staff, look around for suitable office space and schedule a formal opening of the FNF Innovation Hub,” it said.
One of its core topics is “fostering democracy” and to explore how democracy can benefit from technical and digital innovations, the foundation said, adding that it would cosponsor the g0v summit, which is planned for Dec. 3 to 6 in Tainan.
The foundation also looks forward to cooperating with Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang’s (唐鳳) office and other civil society organizations in Taiwan, it said.
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