【 New York Times 】   Post Date: 8/2/2018
Taiwan, ‘Still Fighting’ for Democracy, Gets Nod to Host Human Rights Event
Author: Chris Horton
Amid those and other recent setbacks — blamed on pressure from China, which claims the self-governing island as its territory — has come a welcome bit of recognition. Taiwan has been chosen as the first Asian host for the Oslo Freedom Forum, an international human rights conference.

 

 

Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, will host the Oslo Freedom Forum, an international human rights conference, in November.CreditDaniel Shih/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Aug. 1, 2018

 

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan has had a rough time of it lately.

 

Just last week, international airlines stopped using its name; it lost hosting rights to a youth sports festival; and even a local children’s choir took a blow, prevented from singing at a United Nations building in Vienna.

 

Amid those and other recent setbacks — blamed on pressure from China, which claims the self-governing island as its territory — has come a welcome bit of recognition. Taiwan has been chosen as the first Asian host for the Oslo Freedom Forum, an international human rights conference.

 

The forum hosts rights campaigners, dissidents, philanthropists and tech entrepreneurs from around the world. Speakers at the Nov. 10 event in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, are scheduled to include Mu Sochua, a Cambodian opposition politician living in exile, and Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector.

 

For Taiwan, which China has used its clout to keep out of many global organizations, it amounts to a kind of international validation — from the world’s dissidents, if not its governments. Jason Hsu, a lawmaker with the opposition Kuomintang party, said the event would underscore Taiwan’s growing role as a democratic model in the region, while contrasting it with authoritarian China.

 

“Taiwan has fought long and hard for its democracy, and with the pressure we’re under from China, we’re still fighting for it today,” said Mr. Hsu, who was involved in bringing the event here.

 

“We have a lot of experiences to share with other countries in this area, but we can also learn from other countries’ experiences as well,” he said.

 

The forum, run by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, has been held in Oslo every year since 2009. It is expanding for its 10th year, with conferences in Mexico City and Johannesburg, as well as in New York, where it has held satellite events before.

 

Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer for the Human Rights Foundation, described the Oslo Freedom Forum as having “a reverse Davos format, where the activists and protesters are on the stage, and the philanthropists and people who can make a difference are in the audience.”

 

He said the selection of Taiwan reflected its role as a regional leader in democracy and human rights. “There aren’t that many fully fledged, multiparty democratic countries in East Asia,” he said.

 

Mr. Gladstein said the final choice for a site came down to Taiwan or South Korea. “Right now the political situation for human rights activists in Taiwan is much friendlier than in Korea at the moment,” he said. “They’re really forcing human rights to take a back seat to politics and diplomacy because of the engagement of the Moon administration with North Korea.”

 

Activists in South Korea who draw attention to human rights abuses in the North have said that President Moon Jae-in’s government, which has focused on rapprochement with Pyongyang, is less friendly to their cause than its predecessors were.

 

Ms. Mu Sochua, the Cambodian politician, said in an interview that she had been to Taiwan several times and was “impressed with its inclusive society and diversity.”

 

She said she was concerned about China’s influence in Cambodia. Its enormous financial investment there has helped the long-ruling prime minister, Hun Sen, reduce his reliance on Western aid, which often came with the expectation that his government would hold fair elections and show progress on human rights.

 

“We urge China to respect the human rights of our people,” she said.

 

This week, Mr. Hun Sen’s party swept national elections that Western governments dismissed as a sham. Ms. Mu Sochua’s Cambodia National Rescue Party, which almost won the 2013 national elections, was not on the ballot, having been outlawed last year. Ms. Mu Sochua, the party’s vice president, fled Cambodia after being warned that she faced arrest.

 

Besides Ms. Mu Sochua and Ms. Park, the North Korean defector, scheduled speakers at the Taipei forum include Omar Sharif Jr., an Egyptian actor and L.G.B.T. rights activist; Megha Rajagopalan, the China bureau chief and Asia correspondent for BuzzFeed News; and Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian democracy activist.

 

Ketty Chen, vice president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, which supported the Oslo forum with a grant, said Taiwan’s own path from dictatorship to democracy can serve as a reminder to Asian countries with authoritarian governments that things can improve.

 

“Even though global democracy has experienced a general trend of backsliding in the past few years, Taiwan’s democracy has persisted and continues to thrive,” Ms. Chen said. “Taiwan can continue to serve as inspiration to democrats in Asia, including those in China, even though its democratic future remains grim for now.”

 

 


For detail please visit here

 

 

  
Key Words: Taiwan,CCP,Human Rights
Article Hits: 41