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Letter: Taiwan's democracy

Sir: You printed a photograph on June 17 which pictured Taiwanese legislators engaged in a scuffle. I wish to point out that this photo failed to provide your readers with a comprehensive picture of the true face of parliamentary democracy in today's Republic of China on Taiwan.

In less than two decades, Tainwan's democratisation has developed without bloodshed. We feel our fledgling democracy is coming on in leaps and bounds and is catching up with those in the West such as the UK, which has had centuries to mature.

During the dawning of our democracy in the early 1980s, the opposition party tended to use strong methods in campaigning for a more representative system of government in Taiwan. As the learning process continued, we gradually moved towards a more mature parliamentary democracy and now have a thriving multi-party system.

Our people are able to make their feelings felt peacefully through legitimate channels and organisations without resorting to radical measures. In 1996 Taiwan held the first ever presidential elections in Chinese history and will be returning to the polls again next year. We think it is important that the people of our country have the power to influence the decisions of its leaders and lawmakers.

The process of Taiwan's democratic "quiet revolution" should receive no less international recognition than the very occasional conflict did.


Information Officer

Taipei Representative Office

London SW1