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German visitors show support for Taiwan on Human Rights Day

12/11/2023 07:23 PM
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Roland Kuehne (second left), a Protestant pastor and teacher at the Rhein-Maas-Berufskolleg vocational college shares his views at Sunday's forum attended by Sino Euro Voices President Tienchi Martin-Liao (right), Chinese dissident Wang Dan (second right) and former diplomat Maysing Yang. CNA photo Dec. 10, 2023
Roland Kuehne (second left), a Protestant pastor and teacher at the Rhein-Maas-Berufskolleg vocational college shares his views at Sunday's forum attended by Sino Euro Voices President Tienchi Martin-Liao (right), Chinese dissident Wang Dan (second right) and former diplomat Maysing Yang. CNA photo Dec. 10, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) A group of teachers and students from Germany voiced their support for Taiwan at a forum in New Taipei on Sunday, advocating that Taiwanese continue to live in peace, freedom and democracy amid Chinese threats.

The group was led by human rights advocate Tienchi Martin-Liao (廖天琪), president of media outlet Sino Euro Voices, which organized the forum, and consisted of teachers and students from two German vocational schools -- Rhein-Maas Berufskolleg and Berufskolleg Viersen.

They had been in Taiwan for a week, and before heading home later Sunday night, they took part in the forum held at the National Human Rights Museum in Jingmei on Sunday afternoon and themed "Praising Taiwan's democracy, promoting world peace."

Liao said at the forum that her organization has organized events every year to mark Human Rights Day, celebrated annually on Dec. 10 and it organized a visit to Taiwan this year because it is a democratic country and "democratic nations safeguard democratic nations."

Faced with bullying by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for many years, Taiwan has become a global hot spot and is a core issue of international geopolitics, Liao said.

Photo courtesy of Tian Mu
Photo courtesy of Tian Mu

Another member of the group, Roland Kuehne, a Protestant pastor and teacher at the Rhein-Maas-Berufskolleg vocational college, criticized China for its human rights abuses.

He said a person's dignity could never be infringed upon but "there is a country that is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that continues to violate people's rights."

Michael Kau (高英茂), a senior fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and one of several domestic experts to participate in the forum, said that in the face of China's military threat, Taiwan's self defense lies in "3Cs" -- capability, credibility and communications.

Elaborating on this point in an interview with CNA after the forum, Kau said the key for Taiwan to get stronger militarily, scientifically and technologically is to have good strategies and discussions and to get international recognition.

"Integrating the might of Taiwan and the power of the world can effectively deter the CCP from undertaking military operations," Kau said.

Researcher Michael Kau (right) speaks at a session during Sunday's forum attended by poet Lee Min-yung (second right), former envoy of the Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyaltsen (second left) and a New School for Democracy official. CNA photo Dec. 10, 2023
Researcher Michael Kau (right) speaks at a session during Sunday's forum attended by poet Lee Min-yung (second right), former envoy of the Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyaltsen (second left) and a New School for Democracy official. CNA photo Dec. 10, 2023

Kau also argued that Taiwan could one day be formally recognized around the world as a country.

When the United Nations was founded in 1945, there were only 51 founding member countries, and now there are 193 member states, nearly quadrupling membership over 70 years.

Given Taiwan's contributions to the world and that it is more qualified to be a country than many existing sovereign states, it is not impossible for Taiwan to become a formally recognized country in the future, Kau said.

He stressed, however, that Taiwan needed to gain international support if it hoped to be given widespread diplomatic recognition.

Another speaker at the forum, poet Lee Min-yung (李敏勇), said human rights were related to freedom and democracy, and he believed that China's advocacy of aggression against Taiwan was based on its fear of democracy, its disregard for human rights, and its concern that Taiwan's democratization would affect its autocratic rule.

(By Chang Shu-ling and Evleyn Kao)

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