Skip to main content

Opening remarks by Deputy Minister Tien, Chung-kwang at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taiwan

  • Data Source:Department of NGO International Affairs
  • Date:2022-11-03

Tien, Chung-kwang
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
 Republic of China (Taiwan)
 November 3, 2022
(As Prepared for Delivery)

Good afternoon!

I would like to thank the Human Rights Foundation for inviting me to participate in this meaningful event, which is being held in Taiwan for the third time. It is my great pleasure to address you all.

My fellow speakers hail from diverse backgrounds, but they have one thing in common—they are all remarkably courageous champions of human rights. They are everyday heroes who have made a positive impact on the world. They inspire us by the way they promote freedom and democracy. I am deeply honored to be in their company today.


Recently, we have seen an acceleration in democratic backsliding due to the pandemic and its aftermath. We have been shocked by disturbing cases of human rights abuses in places such as Hong Kong, Myanmar, and the Gambia. Authoritarian regimes are employing more and more tools and techniques to undermine democratic systems and infringe upon citizens’ rights. We should be alert to the fact that any setback for democracy is a triumph for authoritarianism. So we all need to ramp up our efforts to strengthen democratic resilience.

Taiwan’s path to democracy was long and winding—but well worth the struggle. From 1949 to 1987, Taiwan suffered under martial law. During that period, citizens were arrested and persecuted for standing up to the authoritarian government. However, the sacrifices of those brave individuals transformed Taiwan into a thriving democracy.

While Taiwan has successfully made the transition to a free and democratic society, we do not take our liberty for granted. President Tsai Ing-wen stated in her 2022 National Day Address that we must “make our commitment to a free and democratic system an unbreakable national consensus . . . no matter how much external pressure we face.”

Taiwan stands on the front lines in guarding against authoritarian expansion. Faced with increased intimidation from our malicious neighbor, we have taken concrete steps to bolster our defense capabilities and enhance security and intelligence cooperation with like-minded partners.

Taiwan also actively engages with a number of multilateral organizations to safeguard human rights, democracy, and freedom. Last December, we participated in the Summit for Democracy, which aims to defend against authoritarianism, fight corruption, and advance human rights. This year, we were honored to once again host the Regional Religious Freedom Forum in August. And last month, the 11th Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy was held in Taipei for the first time.

We have also been delighted to see organizations such as the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, Safeguard Defenders, and Freedom House establish offices in Taiwan in recent years. To ensure that Taiwan remains a bastion of freedom and democracy in Asia, we need international support from friends like you.

As an important member of the international community, Taiwan is always ready to provide assistance to our democratic friends in need. After Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine this February, Taiwan stood strong with Ukraine. In a huge show of solidarity, the people and government of Taiwan have shipped more than 600 tons of supplies to Ukraine and donated more than 45 million US dollars. And in April, we donated 500,000 US dollars to Reporters Without Borders to help support the Press Freedom Center in Ukraine, as well as counter disinformation and protect human rights. I would like to convey Taiwan’s staunch support for the people of Ukraine. Taiwan and Ukraine are united against authoritarian expansionism.

In closing, our country is determined to continue doing its part to safeguard freedom and democracy in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Taiwan looks forward to broadening and deepening cooperation with like-minded friends and partners such as those gathered here today. We will work to enhance democratic resilience at home and abroad and, together, we will prevail. Thank you!