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The 8th Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference Day 2

8th Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference

Universality Through Diversity: Forging a Democratic Change for All

April 27-April 30, 2013

Taipei, Taiwan

Day 2 Summary

The 8th Interethnic-Interfaith Leadership Conference opened today in Taipei, Taiwan with a powerful first day program.  Organized by Citizen Power for China/Initiatives for China, this is the first time that the Leadership Conference has taken place in Asia. The opening ceremony is hosted by Taiwan’s TVBS television host, and also an aboriginal, Ms. Lawa. Four members of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, representatives of the sponsors and of the various groups participating warmly welcomed the delegates who travelled to Taiwan from across the world. In a special videotaped message, H.H. Dalai Lama sent greetings to the opening ceremony and encouraged all to pursue “our common brotherhood and sisterhood” and “to search for progress with compassion.”  Dr. Yang Jianli, President of Citizen Power for China, also welcomed the delegates and shared, ” Each one of us has the capacity to expand the light of freedom and understanding in the world.”

After the opening ceremony, Ms. Tien Chiu-Chin, a member of the Taiwanese Legislative Yuan, presented a powerful keynote about her own and Taiwan’s contemporary history regarding cultural pluralism.  Her opening speech was followed by a timely panel titled ” Prospects for Democratization in China after the Leadership Change in 2013.”  Speakers from within China and from outside all shared the view that although the new Chinese leadership is not pursuing further democratization so far, more and more people and groups are pushing for democratic reform across Chinese society.

In the afternoon, leaders from the Uyghur community including, Mr. Dilshat Reshit, Dr. Enver Tohti Bugga, Mr. Ilham Mahmut, Mr. Ilshat Hassen, and Mr. Lin Bao-Hua, participated in a panel titled “Crises and Opportunities Facing Uyghurs.” They shared that the restrictions and oppression of the Uyghur community by the Chinese government continues in nearly every aspect of life, and they called special attention to the damage to Uyghurs from nuclear testing by the Chinese military, the explicit persecution and racism of Chinese government officials, and the severe distortion of Uyghur history by the Chinese regime.

In the final session of the day, the attention turned to Macau. Two students from National Taiwan University presented on the theme “Macau: Hong Kong or Shenzen?”  Mr. Sou Ka-Hou and Mr. Scott Chiang explored the recent history of political and social developments in Macau. Although they acknowledged the future is uncertain, they identified several promising trends that are likely to keep Macau on the path to a democratic future.

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