The World League for Freedom and Democracy's (WLFD) Taiwan chapter met for its 46th annual convention and celebrated the 48th World Freedom Day yesterday with participants urging China and North Korea to improve their human rights records.
"The Republic of China is now a well-respected country in the global community for its respect for human rights. On the contrary, communist China is severely criticized worldwide for its oppression of human rights," said Yao Eng-chi (
Kwon Jung-dal, president of the Korea Freedom League, cited Amnesty International's annual report as saying that North Korea's human rights situation is "one of the worst in the world."
"The government of North Korea must take this issue seriously and respond to the demands of the international community for openness and improvement," Kwon said.
Kwon also reviewed the history of World Freedom Day.
He said some 14,000 Chinese soldiers who were sent by China to fight in the Korean War defected to Taiwan on Jan. 23, 1954. They referred to Taiwan as "free China," and this is why Jan. 23 was named World Freedom Day, Kwon said.
"World Freedom Day was founded to remember and celebrate noble crusaders for world freedom, and to promote respect for the political and human rights of all peoples around the globe," Kwon said.
General Guillermo A. Pecache, president of the Philippine Council for World Freedom, stressed the importance of consolidating economic fundamentals as a key means to ensure the protection of human rights.
"What is clear is that unless we consolidate freedom and democracy by working on the economic foundations, the resulting anarchy would make human rights meaningless," said Pecache, who is also president of the Manila-based Asian Institute of Strategic Studies.
President Chen Shui-bian (
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (
The WLFD, a descendent of the Asian-Pacific Anti-Communist League established in 1954, has enjoyed longstanding government funding from Taiwan since its inception.
The WLFD, composed of 139 national chapters and affiliated international organizations, is the only NGO strongly associated with Taiwan that is accredited with the UN.
However, until last September, the WLFD was wracked by internal bickering, with two factions claiming to be the rightful leaders of the organization. The two factions were led by Yao and Clement Chang (
The stuggle was resolved after Chien, then the deputy secretary-general to President Chen, worked to mediate between the two factions. Chang agreed to lead the WLFD until the end of this year and then to allow Yao, through related legal procedures, to vie for the WLFD leadership, sources said.
SOLVED: Domestic orders have already overtaken the total sold to China last year, while the Canadian and US representative offices posted messages of support A joint effort by groups and individuals in Taiwan and abroad to prop up sales of pineapples after China announced a ban on imports of the fruit succeeded in just four days, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday. China on Friday announced that it would suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting on Monday, citing biosafety concerns. Following the announcement, the council urged the public to assist farmers by purchasing pineapples, saying it hoped to sell 20,000 tonnes of the fruit domestically and 30,000 tonnes in exports. “Domestic orders have already surpassed the total sold to China last year,” COA Minister
MAIN CHALLENGE: The US naval commander warned that China would seek to ‘forcibly change’ the balance of power in the region that would likely be permanent The US encourages Taiwan to invest in defense and obtain asymmetric defense capabilities, US Navy Admiral Philip Davidson said on Thursday. Davidson, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, made the remark in a videoconference on defense matters hosted by the American Enterprise Institute think tank. “China is positioned to achieve overmatch” in its military capability by 2026, he said. When Beijing is able to, it would “likely choose to forcibly change” the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, “and I would say the change in that status quo could be permanent,” he said. “China seeks a new world order, one with Chinese characteristics,
PRIORITY: The 117,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are to be distributed first to front-line healthcare workers who are most at risk of infection, the center said The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines — 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca drug — arrived in Taiwan yesterday morning, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. The vaccines were flown to Taiwan by Korean Air and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 10:21am, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “After being cleared by customs, the vaccines have been transported to a designated cold storage center,” Chen said. “The vaccines are in multidose vials containing 10 doses per bottle, and are being stored in a refrigerated environment of 2°C to 8°C,” he said. AstraZeneca provided the
SETTING THE TONE: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington would seek to collaborate with Beijing when it can, but would be ‘adversarial when it must be’ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked US President Joe Biden’s administration after it issued interim guidance on strategic priorities, including reaffirming support for Taiwan. The 23-page Interim National Security Strategic Guidance report, published by the White House on Wednesday, said that the US would “support Taiwan, a leading democracy and a critical economic and security partner, in line with longstanding American commitments.” Since his inauguration in January, Biden’s administration has expressed robust support for Taiwan and said that the US’ security commitment to the nation was “rock solid,” ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. Taiwan and the US share the same ideals