Deputy Secretary-General Yang Underscores Taiwan’s Commitment to Democracy at a Swiss Forum
The Swiss Democracy Foundation and the Polit Forum Bern jointly organized the first International Day of Democracy this month on September 14, 2023, inviting delegates from all over the world to discuss how to support democracy against authoritarian advances. The Democratic Progressive Party was invited to participate in the conference, represented by Deputy Secretary-General Andrea Yang, who gave a keynote address along with Iryna Venediktova, representative of Ukraine in Switzerland; Tana Foarfa, director of the Romanian NGO Europuls; and Roberto Cardiel Heycher, former CEO of the Mexican Electoral Commission.
Bruno Kaufmann, director of the Swiss Foundation for Democracy, noted that amid the global expansion of authoritarianism, this was a rare opportunity to invite partners from around the world concerned about the development of democracy to discuss and share about threats to democracy in their own countries. In addition to representatives from Taiwan, Romania, Mexico and Ukraine, professors from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the University of Zurich and the University of Fribourg were also invited to discuss the future of democracy worldwide.
Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine's ambassador to Switzerland, asserted that true peace in Ukraine can only be attained by persevering until victory is achieved.
Deputy Secretary-General Yang emphasized that after 38 years of martial law, Taiwan achieved democracy through a quiet revolution, and has since gradually deepened and consolidated its democratic system, becoming an exemplar after the third wave of democracy worldwide. Today, the main threat to Taiwan's democracy is not internal, but from China. Through political and military threats, economic sanctions, and disinformation campaigns, China is trying to undermine democracy by sowing divisions and cognitive dissonance in Taiwan.
Even when faced with China’s intimidation, Yang pointed out, Taiwan has always committed to promoting peace and democracy in the Indo-Pacific. President Tsai Ing-wen’s four commitments reflect the stance on sovereignty of the majority of Taiwanese people, and Vice President Lai Ching-te’s four-pillar plan for peace underscore Taiwan’s determination to defend democracy. The deputy secretary-general also noted to attendees that discussing the future of global democracy was particularly significant in Switzerland, home to the world’s oldest direct democracy.
Yang highlighted the role Taiwan plays as the eighth-largest economy in Asia. Various international appraisals underline Taiwan as a leading democracy in Asia; the global market share of our semiconductor manufacturing nears 80%, suggesting that Taiwan is making significant contributions to technological development and trade worldwide. Although Taiwan has never been a member of the United Nations, the Taiwan issue is global in nature. Yang expressed hope that European nations, with their growing concern about the China threat, would continue working with the like-minded toward global peace.
(Photo Credit: The Swiss Democracy Foundation)