voice for democracy

Taiwan is democracy 'bright spot': CNN – Taipei Times

Taiwan is a “bright spot” of democracy in a world becoming steadily less democratic, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said on Sunday, before warning about its fragility in the face of autocratic adversity.
In the “Last Look” segment of his weekly TV show Fareed Zakaria GPS, the anchor cited examples ranging from successful elections to unrestricted Internet access to illustrate “Taiwan’s thriving democracy.”
By contrast, he began the five-minute segment by highlighting what Hoover Institution senior fellow Larry Diamond calls a “democratic recession,” in which the world has lost more democracies than it has gained over the past five years.
Photo: Reuters
“But amidst all this backsliding, there is one bright spot: Taiwan,” Zakaria said, citing last year’s Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
That ranked Taiwan No. 11 globally and No. 1 in Asia after jumping 20 places from the previous year — more than any other nation — due to its successful COVID-19 policies, which avoided the tough restrictions seen elsewhere.
The score was also boosted by Taiwan’s “astonishing” 75 percent turnout in last year’s presidential election, Zakaria said.
He contrasted former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) swift concession with “another 2020 election,” in a jab at former US president Donald Trump’s refusal to concede later the same year.
“The success of this election is a testament to the strength of Taiwan’s democracy,” which only began electing lawmakers in 1992, Zakaria said.
“Over the last 10 years, power has been increasingly consolidated in the hands of the people,” with soaring engagement online and offline, he said.
Through digital democracy, citizens have the tools to engage directly with the government, while Freedom House ranks Taiwan’s Internet freedom higher than even the US and Germany, he said.
Zakaria cited the 2014 Sunflower movement, which successfully halted the proposed cross-strait service trade agreement after protesters spent almost 23 days occupying the legislative chamber.
Taiwan’s COVID-19 response then “boosted trust in the government even further,” he said.
Zakaria compared Taiwan’s approximately 16,000 cases of COVID-19 with Australia’s 99,000 cases, despite their similar populations and geographies.
“But for all its achievements, this democracy is conditional,” he said.
“Though self-governing, Taiwan is not technically a sovereign state,” he said, citing Chinese interference in elections and its intimidation.
Taiwanese have watched anxiously as Beijing has eroded “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong, a system it hoped to impose on Taiwan, Zakaria said, referencing a poll that 88.2 percent of Taiwanese reject such an arrangement.
“As the protest movement fell and as China asserts control over Hong Kong every month, it is a bleak reminder to Taiwan and to [US] President [Joe] Biden that democracy at the mercy of an authoritarian behemoth is fragile at best,” he said.
SOURED RELATIONS: Program director Jennifer Liu said the move to Taipei was due to a ‘perceived lack of friendliness’ from Beijing Language and Culture University Harvard University is to relocate its summer Mandarin program from Beijing to National Taiwan University (NTU) starting next year, a student publication reported on Thursday last week. Run at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) since 2004, the Harvard Beijing Academy is to become the Harvard Taipei Academy once it moves to Taiwan, Crimson magazine reported. Program director Jennifer Liu (劉力嘉) attributed the decision to a “perceived lack of friendliness” from the Chinese university, potentially due to shifting political winds. Liu told the magazine that BLCU in recent years had failed to provide a single dorm for the students or separate accommodation of
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday issued a rebuttal to former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who said a fistfight in the Legislative Yuan might have been “provoked from the outside” to destabilize Taiwan. Rice made the comment in an online discussion about the AUKUS alliance of Australia, the UK and the US hosted by the Policy Exchange forum in London on Thursday. On mention of Taiwan, she was quoted by The Australian as predicting that Beijing would use paramilitary forces and acts of sabotage to destabilize the nation. “There was a fistfight in the Taiwanese parliament a few weeks ago
ADVANCING TECH: With revenue on target to reach US$15.4 billion, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker said it is looking to produce 3-nanometer chips later this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday announced plans to build a new plant in Japan next year to produce 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips in its latest effort to expand its global manufacturing footprint. The Japanese fab is to start operations in 2024, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker said, ending months of speculation. “We have received strong commitment to supporting this project from our customers and the Japanese government,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) told a quarterly investors’ conference. “We believe the expansion of our global manufacturing footprint will enable us to better serve our customers’ needs and reach global talent,
KNOWN ISSUES: Fire safety issues were found in the 40-year-old building, which previously housed a theater and restaurants, in 2019, last year and May, an official said Forty-six people died and 41 were injured in a building fire that raged out of control for hours overnight in Kaohsiung, authorities said yesterday. Flames and smoke billowed from the lower floors of the 13-story Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) building on Fubei Road in Yancheng District (鹽埕), as firefighters tried to douse the blaze from the street and aerial platforms. The death toll rose steadily through the day as rescue workers searched the combined commercial and residential building. By late afternoon, authorities said 32 bodies had been found, while a further 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55

source