Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is exploring the formation of a “Silk Road of Democracy” (SRD) in order to counter China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and to strengthen “multilateral ties among groups threatened by the Chinese Communist Party”, DPP’s spokesperson Lii Wen explained in an article published a few days ago by the magazine The Diplomat.
Efforts to forge an international alliance “to fight Chinese oppression” were first announced last month following a meeting of a DPP delegation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamshala, India. According to the Taipei Times, the idea of the project is to bring together “Tibetans, Uighurs, Hong Kongers, Inner Mongolians and overseas Chinese democracy advocates to promote freedom, human rights and democratic values in China.”
“Whereas the BRI is used to export Chinese totalitarianism, the SRD seeks to import democratic values toward the Chinese public by actively engaging in friendly dialogue, launched from locations abroad and areas traditionally considered on the ‘margins’ of the Chinese sphere of influence,” Lii Wen wrote. He emphasized that the project was “against totalitarianism but supportive of the Chinese people.”
According to Wen there is growing concern for China-related human rights issues including the concentration camp crisis in Xinjiang. Systematic acts of state violence toward Uyghurs and Hong Kongers would “highlight the importance of international support.”
Lii Wen pointed out that the exchange of social movements played a crucial role for activists from Hong Kong and Taiwan, especially with regard to Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution. He explained that the benefits of such ties have been evident in the ongoing anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong which receive broad public support in Taiwan.
The “Silk Road of Democracy” may also create “a positive ‘knock-on effect’ with other countries outside of the Indo-Pacific region, creating a platform for Taiwan and other countries to discuss and align regional strategies,” Lii Wen told Democracy Without Borders.