Scant Support in Taipei for Liu Xiaobo Release

Sam Hargadine, Contributor
Last Modified: 11:51 a.m. EDT, 1 March 2013

CHINA – The Taipei Times reported Thursday that several human rights activists from Mainland China have forFree Liu Xiaobo Poster, Photo by Tim72mally petitioned the Taiwanese President to assist in the release of Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel laureate.

Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his work criticizing one party rule in China. He was unable to collect his prize due to his current eleven-year prison sentence.

In Taipei, exiled Chinese are pressuring the island’s democratically elected President, Ma Ying-jeou, who they say ought to file grievance with Beijing over the treatment of Liu.

Wang Dan, a petitioner, stated: “As a nation that stands behind universal values of human rights, I hope that Taiwanese will not forget their obligations to help promote human rights protection around the world, including in China.”

Wang later asserted that it would be unwise for the Taiwanese people to ignore Liu Xiaobo’s plight because it could harm cross-strait exchanges if China “remains a superpower in human rights violations.”

The opposition party in Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), emphasizes differences with the mainland and flirts with the idea of declaring independence from China. They have taken to the petition and are also pressuring the current President to make an official statement of support for Liu.

Despite this, President Ma is unlikely to act. He did not formally receive the petitioners when they delivered their appeal to the Presidential Office. Additionally, Ma’s democratic mandate largely rests on Taiwan’s desire for peaceful and profitable relations with the mainland. Antagonizing Beijing on this subject will do little to help that aim.

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About SamHargadine

Writer, analyst, economics geek: Sam Hargadine is an avid watcher of economic interdependence, human rights, and development. He specializes in the Asia/Pacific region. Holding an MA in international relations from Hult International Business School, Sam strives to explain the motivations behind political and economic developments along the Pacific Rim. Sam lives in Washington, DC.

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2 Comments on “Scant Support in Taipei for Liu Xiaobo Release”

  1. Shakti Ghosal Says:

    Good narrative. However not sure whether the Taiwanese President can play any meaningful role in this. So what could be done going forward?



  2. neelkanth Says:



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