Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) A petition urging the Australian government to establish formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan has been launched by a 73-year-old retired lawyer who has "long been a supporter of Taiwan."
Petition EN1120, which asks the Australian government to "accord full diplomatic recognition" to the Republic of China, had collected more than 9,100 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.
Gavan Duffy said he was inspired to launch the petition after two similar ones were launched by citizens in Germany and the U.S. earlier this year.
The two petitions, which both reached the threshold of signatures in October needed to warrant an official government response, have not been addressed.
China's recent unpopularity in Australia, caused by the activities of groups and students who support the Communist Party of China, was another motivating reason, he added.
Duffy expressed hope of garnering more than 20,000 signatures before the petition closes Nov. 20.
"I think the petition will get people thinking about why Australia recognizes a totalitarian regime with an appalling human rights record and not democratic free Taiwan," Duffy concluded. Australian media has been quiet on his petition.
Duffy describes himself as having been a frequent correspondent for U.S. and British newspapers, author of two books, candidate for member of parliament and retired lawyer, and said he was a member of "The Friends of Free China Association" some 40 years ago.
The association was founded by the late U.S. senator Barry Goldwater, who usually referred to the Republic of China as "free China," according to a Washington Times article by former Taiwan representative to the U.S. Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡).
According to Shen, the non-profit organization was crucial in Taiwan retaining ownership of Twin Oaks, an estate in Washington, D.C. that served as the official residence for ROC ambassadors to the U.S. before the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition to China.