Digital minister attributes Taiwan's thriving democracy to trust in its citizens

Taiwan needs to be proactive in resisting pressure from authoritarian China: Audrey Tang

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Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang. 

Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang (唐鳳) said Thursday (Sept. 24) that the Taiwanese government must remain proactive in resisting pressure from Beijing and that playing defense is not enough.

While participating in the Oslo Freedom Forum hosted by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, Tang explained how Taiwan protects its democracy through transparency, innovation, and open governance. She said the Taiwanese government has managed to ensure economic growth without restricting the essential freedoms of its citizens.

Tang pointed out that authoritarianism is an emerging global issue and that democratic nations should consider adopting more proactive strategies like the "Taiwan model." She said merely defending Chinese aggression is no longer enough.

Tang further mentioned that when Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil said he is a "Taiwanese" during his trip to the country, he was referring to his support for collaboration between a government and its people. She said Taiwan has set a good example of a collaborative society for governments around the world.

Tang emphasized that every Taiwanese has played a role in containing the spread of coronavirus as well as fake information. She said that unlike in authoritarian nations, the Taiwanese government has not needed to issue a nationwide lockdown or control information to achieve its goals.

Tang also attributed the country's success to transparent governance. She noted that "trust in the government" begins with "trust in the civilians" and that a good government proves the effectiveness of its policies with transparent statistics rather than slogans.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Taiwan's democracy has continued to evolve, said Tang. Pro-democracy campaigns in recent years, such as the country's Sunflower Student Movement and Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution and anti-extradition bill protests, have also shown the changing mindsets of people worldwide, she added.

Meanwhile, Tang urged all democratic countries to continue monitoring the situation in Hong Kong. She said global attention will help slow the deterioration of democracy in the special administrative region, reported CNA.