By Youri A Kemp
Taiwan, whose official name is the Republic of China, is a sovereign state which espouses the universal values of democracy, freedom, respect of human rights and the rule of law. Hence any policy that may affect the well-being of the state shall be approved by its citizens.
On the other hand, authoritarian regimes lack such check and balance structure, causing decisions to be handled by a few or even a single person, greatly jeopardizing the freedom of the individual. Such was the case in China’s Xinjiang re-education camps, where hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and Muslims were forced to learn communist approved values through what they call “re-education” or in other words, cultural abolishment.
China has been isolating Taiwan internationally to annex Taiwan under the “One China Principle”. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Message to compatriots in Taiwan” delivered on January 2nd of this year proposed unifying both sides of the Taiwan Strait using the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement, which has already been a proven failure in Hong Kong.
In response, Taiwan’s president, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, indicated that: First, China should face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and not deny the democratic system that the people of Taiwan have established together. Second, China must respect the commitment of the 23 million people of Taiwan to freedom and democracy, and not foster divisions and offer inducements to interfere with the choices made by the citizens of Taiwan. Third, cross-strait differences must be handled peacefully, on the basis of equality, rather than using suppression and intimidation to get Taiwanese to submit. And fourth, negotiations must be conducted by governments or government-authorized agencies.
As US Vice President Mike Pence said, “America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people.” Instead of forcing Taiwanese to accept a communist authoritarian regime, China should embrace democracy and join the free world. Such a step will ensure the stability of the region and ultimately benefit China itself.