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Last week, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) returned to Taipei to host the fourth Oslo Freedom Forum in Taiwan (OFF in TW), a country that stands at the forefront of the world’s struggle against authoritarianism.

Attendees heard firsthand stories from a Tibetan community organizer, a former migrant worker in Qatar, the leader of a modern Korean underground railroad, and a Venezuelan nonviolence advocate, among others. All theater talks will be available soon on oslofreedomforum.com and the OFF YouTube channel.

OFF in Taiwan shines a spotlight on Taiwan as a beacon for democracy. While in Taipei, an HRF delegation of staff and activists met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Legislative Yuan, and the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission to express our solidarity with Taiwan amid the rising threat of the Chinese Communist Party.

We look forward to bringing our community back to Taipei for years to come and to continue highlighting Taiwan in the international community as a champion of human rights.

OFF in the News

From left to right: Tibetan activist Chemi Lhamo, exiled Hong Konger Joey Siu, Venezuelan human rights activist Gustavo Tovar Arroyo, HRF CEO Thor Halvorssen, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun, and lawmakers Freddy Lim and Fan Yun

Ahead of the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taiwan, HRF CEO Thor Halvorssen, along with OFF mainstage speakers, paid a visit to the Legislative Yuan, where Halvorssen said he was explicitly told by the foreign ministry of then-Kuomintang (KMT) President Ma Ying-jeou to not criticize China in a 2010 conference speech.

Halvorssen said he then rewrote his talk to double down on the Chinese Communist Party, calling it “the most criminal syndicate that violates human rights in the world.”

As a result, Halvorssen recounted, Ma and his team not only “got up and walked out” within five minutes of his speech, but his driver was suddenly reassigned and he’d been checked out of his hotel. The retelling of this story set the media abuzz and had Taiwanese politicians and lawmakers calling for Ma to provide clarity.

“I hope that former President Ma hears what Halvorssen is saying here and provides a full explanation,” Premier Chen Chien-wen said. “That is the only way to show that Taiwan is a country with freedom of speech.”

TAIPEI TIMES | Democracies tied to Taipei: rights head

FOCUS TAIWAN | Oslo Freedom Forum founder recounts clash with KMT over China criticism

TAIWAN PLUS NEWS | Oslo Freedom Forum, What’s Up Taiwan

TAIWAN NEWS FORMOSA TV | Acclaimed activist ‘warned not to criticize China’ by Ma administration

Joins Us Next Year in Oslo

We hope you can join us in Oslo, Norway for our 2024 flagship conference. From June 3 to 5, we will return to the Oslo Konserthus for three days of theater talks, live music performances, informative workshops and panel discussions, and networking sessions.

The 2024 Oslo Freedom Forum will be an inspiring and transformative experience. Register today to experience it yourself and join our global community of changemakers.