'Deeply grateful': Taiwanese legal expert applauds Pelosi’s 'welcome expression of solidarity'
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan on Tuesday, August 2 and expressed her solidarity with the Taiwanese people, the government in the People’s Republic of China wasn’t the least bit happy about it. Chinese Communist Party officials in Beijing are furious, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry has responded to Pelosi’s visit with punitive measures that include suspending climate change talks and canceling naval meetings.
But one person who is glad that Pelosi visited Taiwan is Taiwan native Yu-Jie Chen, who expresses her gratitude in an op-ed/guest essay published by the New York Times on August 5.
“Taiwan’s people have lived for decades under Chinese rhetorical threats to absorb the island,” explains Chen, a research professor at the Law Institute of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica. “And as our huge communist-ruled neighbor has developed into a military power, those threats now have teeth — which China has repeatedly bared in recent years through military exercises and violations of our air space in an escalating bullying campaign. We are bracing for more pressure now after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whirlwind visit to Taipei.”
Chen continues, “China often reacts furiously when any U.S. official visits Taiwan, but this time feels different. Beijing has a special loathing for Ms. Pelosi because of her frequent criticism of the Chinese Communist Party’s political repression and human rights violations, and President Xi Jinping of China, in a call with President Biden, had earlier warned the United States not to intervene in Taiwan.”
Truth be told, the People’s Republic of China — although still a dictatorship — is no longer a full-fledged communist government the way it was under the late Mao Tse Tung. Modern-day Mainland China, in reality, combines authoritarianism and crony capitalism, and countless products sold in the United States, Canada and Europe are manufactured in China.
Chen, in her op-ed/essay, stresses that Taiwan residents live with the constant threat of being invaded by the People’s Republic of China, and she welcomes Pelosi’s show of “solidarity.”
“Ms. Pelosi’s visit was a welcome expression of U.S. solidarity with Taiwan, and I, for one, am deeply grateful to her for shrugging off Beijing’s threats of retaliation,” Chen writes. “But other democracies must also summon the courage to stand with us. Taiwan is critical to the entire democratic project. We are a vibrant democracy, the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage and one of the first to elect a female leader — our current president, Tsai Ing-Wen, who won office in her own right without the aid of family political connections. We are a successful economy, with some of the highest living standards in Asia, and a center of the global semiconductor industry.”
Chen continues, “We have maintained one of the world’s lowest COVID death rates without resorting to the harsh lockdowns imposed by China. If Taiwan were brought to heel by China, the world would lose a shining example of democracy and the liberal international economic order at a time when the authoritarian tentacles of the likes of Russia and China are expanding.”
In Taiwan, Chen notes, residents have “watched with shock and sadness as Beijing cracked down on Hong Kong’s freedoms — and she adds that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted fears that China could do the same to us.”
“China’s militaristic menacing of Taiwan is a threat to freedom everywhere,” Chen warns. “Drawing a line in the sand here will require genuine, meaningful support from like-minded democracies…. Freedom is worth fighting for, and all democracies will be strengthened by standing with Taiwan.”
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