CALD 30th Anniversary Event Concludes. DPP: Honored to Fight for Democracy
The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD)’s 30th annual conference and the 48th meeting of its executive committee concluded successfully in Taipei this morning, September 11. The theme was “The Future of Democracy in Asia,” its 120 attendees hailing from 20 nations including Ukraine and Venezuela. It showed that democracy, freedom and human rights know no borders, and that Taiwan is not alone in its fight for these values.
CALD is one of the biggest alliances of political organizations in Asia, with member parties from Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Mongolia, Cambodia and Indonesia, and of which the DPP is a founding member. The conference was held from September 6-11 in Taipei, and invited delegates to discuss issues such as women’s rights, youth leadership, democratic development in Asia, and regional cooperation. It also included the signing of a joint statement in support of Taiwan’s democracy by DPP Chairman Lai Ching-te, CALD Chairperson Kiko Pangilinan and several other representatives.
In his speech, Pangilinan pointed out the significance of Taipei, the location for the 30th anniversary conference, as reflective of the role Taiwan’s democracy has played not only for its neighbors and CALD, but for the world. He noted Taiwan’s success toward marriage equality, as well as our pandemic response and democratic resilience. “Earlier this year China sanctioned us for supposedly ‘promoting Taiwan independence under the guise of academic and research exchanges.’ Today, we stand here with you, fellow defenders of freedom and democracy, to tell all the autocrats, populists and illiberals of the world that we will not cower in the face of authoritarianism; that we will fight for our democratic principles and values; and that we will win in the end.”
DPP Deputy Secretary-General Andrea Yang noted that in the 30 years since its founding, the DPP, along with other founding-member parties from the Philippines and Thailand, has served as the ruling party of their country. Thirty years later, she said, the DPP has become a standard-bearer of democracy within CALD, and for emerging parties in Asia. Looking ahead, the DPP will continue to strengthen its relationship to Liberal International and CALD. We are no longer just a learner, but an important contributor to democratization in the region.
In his remarks, DPP Secretary-General Hsu Li-Ming expressed gratitude for our international democratic partners who traveled thousands of miles to come to Taiwan. He underscored the DPP’s past efforts at advancing freedom and democracy in Taiwan, including breaking the ban on political parties and restrictions on the press. He also stressed the DPP will continue to fight unwaveringly for the values of democracy, freedom and peace, as well as to staunchly defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and expand its global presence.
Legislative Yuan President You Si-kun’s remarks concerned the rise of China, noting that it has reneged on its promise to the U.S. in militarizing the South China Sea in recent years, conducted daily threatening aircraft maneuvers against Taiwan and neighboring countries, and released the “2023 Standard Map of China,” which disregards the territorial claims of other countries. You stressed that in the face of the CCP’s deliberate escalation of tensions in the Indo-Pacific, the cooperation of liberal democracies in the region is crucial.
By the conclusion of the conference, the DPP organized a Democracy Tour for delegates to visit the National Human Rights Museum, the White-Terror Memorial Park, and the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation to gain an understanding of Taiwanese struggles for human rights and freedom. The tour featured many of Taipei’s cultural highlights, including democratic and historical landmarks. Participants were also able to get a taste of a Taiwanese night market and cuisine specialties, as a means to experience Taiwan’s diverse history and development.
Zhao Yixiang noted the difficulty of Taiwan’s democratic achievements, as well as acknowledging that the forces working against democracy and freedom have yet to disappear. He thanked CALD for choosing to come to Taiwan for its 30th anniversary, and for the signing of a joint statement pledging to stand together in support of freedom, democracy and human rights for the people of Taiwan. He said that the DPP will continue to expand its regional reach to strengthen the international democratic front.
Speakers at this event included Legislative Yuan President You Si-kun, senior adviosr to the president Yao Chia-wen, Legislators Lo Chih-cheng, Lin Ching-yi, Liu Shyh-fang, and Fan Yun, as well as DPP legislative nominees Wu Pei-yi and Miao Poya. DPP Secretary-General Hsu Li-ming, Deputy Secretary-General Andrea Yang, Director of the International Affairs Department Vincent Chao, Director of the Gender Equality Department Lee Yen-jong, and Deputy Director of the International Affairs Department Alysa Chiu, also spoke at the conference to share about the party’s work as it pertains to international exchanges.