China exports authoritarianism, Taiwan's foreign minister tells PAP

2019-07-13 10:33 update: 2019-07-13, 10:37
 Joseph Wu Photo PAP/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
Joseph Wu Photo PAP/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
China's communist authorities not only impose totalitarian order on Chinese society, causing the suffering of Muslims, Tibetans and Catholics, but also try to supervise the rest of the world, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an interview with PAP.

Wu claims that the Chinese authorities want to control everything. According to him, they censor the internet in China and are trying to spread disinformation in order to influence democratic procedures in Taiwan. Not only Taiwan experiences that, he observes. 

A similar situation can be seen in Australia, New Zealand, and when I have the opportunity to meet European partners, they can also see that China exports its authoritarian order, he said.

Currently, the Chinese government's supervision over society seems to be stricter than in any other period since the Cultural Revolution, according to the Taiwanese foreign minister. He gave the example of China's supervision over the Uighur ethnic group in the Xinjiang region in western China, where human rights defenders and independent experts say over a million people could be arbitrarily detained in internment camps.

It is simply unbelievable that they could place in camps probably more than a million Uighurs, who simply believe in something else than the Chinese authorities, who believe in communism, the Taiwanese official said.

Beijing claims that its harsh campaign in Xinjiang is necessary to protect this formally autonomous region from the influences of Islamic extremism, terrorism and separatism. The Chinese authorities initially denied the existence of a network of camps, but now call places where Uighurs are detained "vocational training centres."

Wu pointed out that the inhabitants of Tibet, another of China's autonomous regions, have been suffering for a long time and added that recently their situation seems to be getting worse. 

Wu said that the Chinese government causes suffering of the Catholic population as well. The official went on to say that the Chinese government destroys churches, burns crosses and is trying to exert control over the Catholic religion. So everything that is going on indicates that the Chinese government is walking the path of authoritarianism, he argued.

Beijing is concerned that religions may serve foreign powers to exert influence on Chinese society and promote foreign value systems. Through the "sinicisation of religions" campaign, or giving them "Chinese characteristics," the Communist Party of China has significantly increased pressure on religious groups and tightened control over them.

Beijing considers the democratically-governed Taiwan a breakaway province of "One China," and it has never ruled out the use of force to take control over it. Poland, similarly to most countries in the world, does not recognise Taiwan's independence and maintains no formal diplomatic relations with it.

In early 2020, Taiwan will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in which the ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will face off against the opposition Nationalist Party (Kuomintang - KMT), which supports closer ties with China. The island's incumbent president, Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP, will try to win a second term of office.

Before becoming foreign minister in 2018, Wu was a minister responsible for relations with mainland China, Taiwan's representative to the United States, DPP secretary-general and secretary-general to President Tsai. He is believed to be a supporter of Taiwan's independence from China. He says he has tough views on the China issue. (PAP)