Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Does Taiwan genuinely respect plurality?

By Hsia Hsiao-chuan 夏曉鵑 Thu, Aug 04, 2011 Taipei Times

The word “Taiwan” has recently been popping up more than usual in international news reports, but unfortunately the exposure the country has been getting amounts to a slap in the face for Taiwanese and the government.

Before he allegedly perpetrated the shocking bomb and gun attacks in Oslo, Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik posted a video on the Internet in which, besides his undisguised loathing for immigrants, multiculturalism, Muslims and Marxists, he expressed his admiration for Taiwan as a country worthy of emulation because, as he saw it, Taiwan was a successful nation state that had rejected multiculturalism.

When this news spread across the Internet, many Taiwanese made Web posts expressing their resentment and saying that Taiwan was not at all how the Norwegian murderer had described.

Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) quickly issued a statement to the media, in which he stressed that Taiwanese society had always respected a plurality of culture. Yang said that a democratic society should be a tolerant one in which different groups respect and appreciate one another, and that this was the kind of society that the -international community generally took Taiwan to be.

National Immigration Agency officials were also quick to assure the public that Breivik had never been to Taiwan. All this was supposedly to prove that Breivik’s remarks about Taiwan were a baseless misinterpretation.

It is true that Taiwan has never had any incidents of right-wing extremists massacring ethnic minority people or immigrants, but does our society really respect plurality and democracy, as claimed?...

Read the full article here

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