‘Wǒ shì táiwān rén’ Czech senator declares himself a Taiwanese in solidarity

2020.09.01

The president of the Czech senate voiced his support for the self-governed island’s long-time fight for democracy and freedom, declaring “I am Taiwanese” in a public speech on the third day of his visit.

Miloš Vystrčil noted the similarities shared by the Czech Republic and Taiwan in their search for freedom, adding that democratic nations should unite and stand together to safeguard their values.

Vystrčil pointed out that the Czech senate is the most democratic institution in the country, as 96% of its members had expressed support for his visit that has angered Beijing.

He gave a detailed description of how his country’s parliament works, in the hope for better understanding that different models of democracy could work well in different countries.

“Please let me also express, in person, my support for Taiwan and the ultimate value of freedom. And conclude today’s speech… with perhaps a more humble, but equally strong statement: I am a Taiwanese,” he uttered the last line in Mandarin, which was received by a standing ovation.

Vystrčil’s remarks are reminiscent of former U.S. president J.F. Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, made in 1963 in solidarity with West Berliners who were surrounded on all sides by Communist East Berlin.

President of Taiwan’s legislature Yu Shyi-kun called Vystrčil a statesman with wisdom and charisma.

Czech has long been fighting against authoritarian rules and suppression while leading major political changes and economic growth around the world, Yu said in his speech.

Confident that the visit would strengthen the bonding between Czech and Taiwan, Yu looked forward to a perpetual friendship and partnership between the two democratic countries.

The delegation led by Vystrčil will meet Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday and will take part in a forum organized by the American Institute in Taiwan before wrapping up the visit.

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