Even as Taiwan perfects its democracy, China is sabotaging it

Jan 10, 2019

“POWER TO THE people” read the words newly emblazoned across the floor of the grandest old building in Taipei. The slogan is part of an exhibit about the history of the structure, which was built to house the offices of the colonial governor sent from Japan. It later served as the seat of administrators dispatched from Beijing and then of the dictators who ruled Taiwan after its split from China in 1949. For the past 22 years, however, it has hosted Taiwan’s democratically elected presidents. The ground floor is open to the public every weekday morning—no booking required.

Such openness is one of the many ways in which power does indeed rest with the people in Taiwan. On a recent visit Banyan faced tighter security getting into his hotel than into the offices of members of parliament. He was also slightly befuddled to be told by Audrey Tang, the minister in charge of digital outreach, that she practised a policy of “radical transparency” and that...

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