Speaking at an event celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) urged like-minded countries such as Australia and the U.S. to work together in defiance of the anti-democratic tide that is emerging throughout the world.
“Our shared values like law, freedom of speech, and human rights are being challenged around the world,” remarked the President in front of a number of Taiwanese and foreign scholars, including Carl Gershman, president of the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy.
“It is only when like-minded countries work together and stand together can we fight against unwanted economic, political, or military forces and defend the values we hold dear,” said the president.
Describing Taiwan as being at the front line of a battle where democracy is at risk, President Tsai criticized China for its attempts to undermine Taiwan’s democratic way of life and limit the international space of the country.
Holding the belief that President Tsai and her political party, the Democratic Progressive Party, are essentially in favor of formal independence of Taiwan, Beijing has leveled up pressure on the Tsai administration, including poaching two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in May, reducing its number of allies to 18.
Taiwan is a free and democratic country claimed by the Chinese government as sacred territory, without any legal basis or historical precedent for the claim.
“Our democracy is still young and has room for progressiveness,” said the president, referring to the democratization of the country that began at the end of the Martial Law era in 1987. “Historical trends did not favor the forward march of democracy, but in Taiwan, moving backwards is not an option.”
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” said President Tsai, before finishing her remarks once again with a call for defending democratic values. “Only by taking collective action can we ensure that democracy will continue to shape the future of our world.”
Established in 2003, the TFD is as a non-partisan and non-profit organization. It was originally organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is currently chaired by Legislative Yuan Speaker Su Chia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).