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Asian political party network calls for protection of Taiwan democracy amidst interference allegations

Cald Taiwan

Today, 10 December 2023, the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) marks 30 years of unwavering commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Asia. However, amidst celebrations, CALD raises concerns over the recent allegations of interference in the upcoming Taiwan elections.

Recent reports include a Chinese weather balloon crossing the Taiwan Strait and Senior Chinese leaders holding a meeting in early December to “coordinate” government efforts to sway upcoming elections in Taiwan, part of a campaign Taiwan officials see as voting interference. Taiwan’s government states that China will try to interfere in their key elections in January by illicitly funding Beijing-friendly candidates using communications apps or group tours, according to three internal security reports reviewed by Reuters. Aside from these, they also believe that China will attempt to influence the elections with disinformation and misinformation.

CALD expresses solidarity with the people of Taiwan in their ongoing struggle for independence, sovereignty and their upcoming elections on January 13. “We are alarmed by the recent China interference, just a month before the elections. CALD stands in solidarity with Taiwan in these crucial times. The protection of democratic principles is of utmost importance, and any interference in the electoral process of Taiwan undermines the very essence of democracy,” said Mardi Seng, Chairperson of CALD.

As CALD commemorates its 30th anniversary, it calls upon the international community to safeguard the democratic values it has championed over the past three decades. CALD urges the international community to stand up and pushback against threats that persistently undermine fundamental rights and freedoms around the region and beyond. They also call upon all stakeholders to ensure the upcoming Taiwan elections are free, fair, and clear of external influence.

Last September 2023, Vice President Lai Ching-te, along with representatives and global partners of CALD signed the Joint Declaration on the Current State and Future of Democracy in Asia in Taipei, Taiwan during CALD’s 30th Anniversary Public Conference. The signing represented a significant milestone in the network’s unwavering efforts to strengthen democracy, promote freedom, and preserve peace in Asia. The occasion embodies the spirit of cooperation and determination that unites nations in their quest for a freer and more democratic future, even in the face of threats and intimidation. It is precisely because of these shared values that CALD strongly condemns China’s interference and its various means to actively intervene and influence the electoral process and results.

As CALD celebrates its 30th anniversary, it reflects on the milestones achieved in their ongoing pursuit of a more liberal and democratic Asia. CALD stands firm in their commitment to uphold democratic principles and support Taiwan.

CALD will be conducting its Taiwan Elections Observation Mission from January 10 to 14, 2024.

About CALD: CALD is a regional network of liberal and democratic political parties and individuals in Asia. It was founded in Bangkok, Thailand in 1993 with the support of then Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and South Korea’s Kim Dae-Jung. It has ten member-parties across East, Southeast and Central Asia, and is currently chaired by the Candlelight Party of Cambodia.

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