TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TDF) hosted the 6th annual East Asia Democracy Forum in Taipei on Wednesday (June 26), which was attended by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉).
The theme of this year’s forum was "Combating Authoritarian Influence." Scholars, activists, and democracy advocates were brought together at a panel to discuss how to combat the threatening influence of authoritarian regimes in East Asia.
One major topic of discussion was how authoritarian and illiberal states attempt to influence liberal democracies in the internet age by attempting to undermine a people’s trust in their own democratic institutions.
Speaking on Taiwan’s situation during his opening address, Deputy Minister Hsu remarked that “the influence of an authoritarian regime is the elephant in the room.”
To thwart the malign influence of China on Taiwan’s political landscape, Hsu stressed that the Taiwanese government is working with the private sector to respond to the threat with “truth, transparency, innovation, and openness.”
Hsu stated that when it comes to influencing the hearts and minds of Taiwanese people, China is running out of options and is therefore increasing its efforts to spread misinformation and propaganda online. It is aided in this by Taiwan’s “red media.”
It is still unknown how much of China’s online influence in Taiwanese society comes directly from China or through its confederates in the domestic media industry. However, the deputy minister labeled both as serious problems that the government is working to address, reports Liberty Times.
Hsu also mentioned the human rights abuses and resistance to authoritarian rule in places like Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Hsu declared that people in these areas and across the world must work together to defeat the influence of dangerous regimes like that of the Chinese Communist Party.
“The people and government of Taiwan will not hesitate to cooperate with you,” said Hsu.