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United Daily News: Taiwan's democracy lacks listening
Central News Agency
2014-06-27 11:05 AM
Sporadic anti-China protests have marked the unprecedented visit by China's Taiwan affairs minister, Zhang Zhijun, since he arrived in Taiwan Wednesday. One of the most common words over the past several days has been "listen." Beijing described Zhang's trip as a "listening journey," and his Taiwanese counterpart, Wang Yu-chi, said he expects Zhang to "listen, understand and respect" Taiwan. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, a senior member of the Beijing-wary opposition Democratic Progressive Party, has also said that listening to different voices is a step forward for China. She was scheduled to meet with Zhang Friday. It is normal for a pluralistic society such as Taiwan's to have a diversity of opinions. But the one-sided expectation that one's own opinions should be heard reflects a problem in Taiwan's democracy: voices abound, but people are not listening to each other. In recent years, ruling and opposition parties have hardly been able to conduct any dialogue. The opposition constantly obstructs proceedings in the Legislature by occupying the podium and has refused to attend a national economic conference organized by the Cabinet. People are competing to express themselves rather than seeking to solve problems together. When expressing their opinions, most have their ears covered and take no interest in what their rivals have to say. The results of Zhang's visit remain to be seen. But it is clear that what can lead Zhang to think positively about Taiwan is not protests, but exchanges with ordinary people. Listening and understanding must be mutual. (Editorial abstract -- June 27, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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