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Taipei's values combine Western ideals, Chinese culture: mayor

2018/02/01 14:12:02

Ko Wen-je (柯文哲)

Brussels, Jan. 31 (CNA) Taipei's acceptance of different cultures and ideas is its defining value, incorporating progressive Western ideals into Chinese society, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), said in a speech before the European Parliament Wednesday.

Addressing a gathering of more than 30 members of the European Parliament (EP), Ko spoke of the values of Taipei, positioning the city in a landscape that is full of what he called "clashes of ideas and values."

The mayor said that while Taipei may appear to be like any other Chinese society, it is quite different, because "we can accept different cultures."

Ko pointed to the 50,000 Muslims who gathered in Taipei during last year's Eid al-Fitr, the festival of post-Ramadan fast-breaking in Islam, as an impressive feat, especially as it occurred in a city or country that is not Muslim.

Another example of Taipei and therefore Taiwan's openness to different ways of life, he noted, is the LGBTQ Pride Parade in October last year, which attracted a record number of 123,000 participants.

It was the largest parade of its kind in Asia, and attracted more than 5,000 foreigners who came to Taiwan to celebrate the groundbreaking decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the country, Ko said.

He said that these different lifestyles and ideas can coexist peacefully in Taipei because it is a city that is accepting of differences.

"These are Taipei's values; this is how Taipei incorporates progressive Western values into a Chinese society," he explained.

Instead of following in the footsteps of the United States, China, or anywhere else, Ko said, Taipei sticks to "our values and belief in democracy, freedom, diversity, openness, rule of law and sustainability," which allows the city to flourish.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Kuan-lin Liu)