- - Wednesday, October 14, 2020

“You can crush the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring.” — Alexander Dubcek

The destinies of the Czech Republic and Taiwan have never been more intertwined. The Czech Senate passed a resolution 50-to-1 in favor of Senate President Milos Vystrcil leading a delegation to Taiwan in August of this year, which was lauded by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Meanwhile, 70 legislators from a number of democratic countries, including France, Germany and the United States, as well as members of the European Parliament, issued a joint statement staunchly supporting the visit.

When Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that the Czech Republic would “pay a heavy price,” political leaders from the European Union, France, Germany and Slovakia voiced support for the visit and openly challenged China. European and global attitudes toward China are changing. Senate President Vystrcil’s visit made clear that collaboration among democratic nations is strengthening, marking the dawn of a new democratic spring.

In recent decades, Taiwan has been subjected to threats and military intimidation by the Chinese Communist Party, which has also exerted undue influence to hinder Taiwan’s participation in the international community — a fact little understood by people around the world. As COVID-19 ravages the globe, Taiwan remains largely untouched, demonstrating the efficacy of the Taiwan Model for disease prevention.

However, even now Taiwan continues to be excluded from the World Health Organization due to Chinese suppression. The CCP’s harassment of Taiwan has escalated to the extent that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has begun to brazenly deny the existence of the Taiwan Strait median line, which separates Taiwan and China. 

And the CCP continues to repeatedly threaten the use of force against Taiwan, flexing its military muscle by conducting missile tests and sending warplanes and military vessels to intimidate Taiwan. China seeks to encircle and harass Taiwan, a bastion of democracy situated in the first island chain. Only now are democratic nations finally beginning to pay close attention to China’s actions.

Communist China ascended to its place as the world’s second-largest economy on the back of slogans such as “keeping a low profile” and “a peaceful rise,” which it used to conceal unfair trade practices and blatant disregard for intellectual property rights. 

Furthermore, the CCP persecutes religious practitioners and violates human rights, ruling Tibet with an iron fist, imprisoning Uyghurs in Xinjiang, stamping out democracy in Hong Kong, threatening Taiwan and devastating Inner Mongolia. China also employs “wolf warrior” diplomacy to export corruption and authoritarianism with its Belt and Road Initiative. The CCP’s antidemocratic methods and human rights abuses are increasingly encroaching on free and democratic nations across the globe, allowing the world to glimpse the true face of the CCP.

Alexander Dubcek famously said, “You can crush the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring.” Today, global democratic collaboration against the CCP’s antidemocratic actions and human rights violations marks the dawn of another democratic spring. The world is beginning to realize the need for a new containment policy and enhanced cooperation among democracies.

I have been in politics for nearly 40 years, and democracy and human rights have always been my highest priorities. As president of the Legislative Yuan, it is my duty to promote exchanges between Taiwan and democracies worldwide. In an act of friendship, Senate President Vystrcil opened the doors of Europe for Taiwan, and Taiwan now extends both arms to warmly embrace our friends from democratic nations across the globe.

• You Si-kun is president of the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

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