Taiwan academics throw weight behind President Tsai as election nears

Fellows at Taiwan’s leading academic institution vouch for Tsai’s capability to safeguard Taiwan’s democratic values

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Tsai Ing-wen (Facebook photo)

Tsai Ing-wen (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With less than 70 days before the presidential election is held in Taiwan, a number of research fellows at Academia Sinica launched a petition on Monday (Nov. 4) to support the re-election bid of incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

The petition was signed by about 20 fellows at Taiwan's preeminent government-sponsored academic institution and 30 former university superintendents, reported Liberty Times. Chen Ding-shinn (陳定信), Lee Yuan-pern (李遠鵬), Chen Yuan-tsong (陳垣崇), and Wei Fu-chan (魏福全) are among the signatories.

The petition made the case for safeguarding Taiwan’s sovereignty and strongly objected to the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong has been ruled and which has catapulted it into the chaos today, wrote CNA. Taiwan should learn from the lessons of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, which has been stripped of its freedoms and human rights, the document said.

As the island’s intellectuals, the petitioners argued, they felt the need to remind the people of Taiwan of Beijing's increasingly toughened stance toward the island. Bullying foreign firms over how it feels Taiwan should be addressed, poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, and forcing Taiwanese businesses to back the one-China policy were just some of the examples given.

While acknowledging the flaws of the Tsai administration over the past three years, the academics believe the ruling Democratic Progressive Party is taking the country on the right path of reform, the petition said. They pleaded with the public to reject hollow slogans and empty rhetoric and return to reasoned thinking based on common sense and conscience.

President Tsai’s “modest and firm” approach to countering China is commendable, according to the signatories. They further stated that Tsai’s re-election would ensure continued democracy and freedoms for the island.