HRF in the News

OFF Taiwan in the New York Times

Our upcoming Oslo Freedom Forum in Taiwan was covered by the New York Times. Here is an excerpt.




TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan has had a rough time of it lately.

Just last week, international airlines stopped using its name; it lost hosting rights to a youth sports festival; and even a local children’s choir took a blow, prevented from singing at a United Nations building in Vienna.

Amid those and other recent setbacks — blamed on pressure from China, which claims the self-governing island as its territory — has come a welcome bit of recognition. Taiwan has been chosen as the first Asian host for the Oslo Freedom Forum, an international human rights conference.

The forum hosts rights campaigners, dissidents, philanthropists and tech entrepreneurs from around the world. Speakers at the Nov. 10 event in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, are scheduled to include Mu Sochua, a Cambodian opposition politician living in exile, and Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector.

For Taiwan, which China has used its clout to keep out of many global organizations, it amounts to a kind of international validation — from the world’s dissidents, if not its governments. Jason Hsu, a lawmaker with the opposition Kuomintang party, said the event would underscore Taiwan’s growing role as a democratic model in the region, while contrasting it with authoritarian China.

Soldiers hoisting Taiwan’s national flag at Liberty Square in Taipei. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, recently pressured international airlines to stop using the island’s name.CreditDavid Chang/EPA, via Shutterstock

“Taiwan has fought long and hard for its democracy, and with the pressure we’re under from China, we’re still fighting for it today,” said Mr. Hsu, who was involved in bringing the event here.