A crowd estimated to be hundreds marched on Saturday in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei to voice support for U.S. President Donald Trump and demonstrate opposition to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Epoch Media Group – which publishes the anti-communist Epoch Times and is affiliated with the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong – organized Saturday’s rally. The atheist CCP persecutes Chinese adherents of Falun Gong as members of a “heretical cult.”
— Taiwan News (@TaiwanNews886) December 21, 2020
The event’s organizers claimed that about 8,000 people took part in the event, while Taiwan News reported on Monday that “hundreds” attended the rally.
Participants of the march brandished U.S. flags along with banners and placards bearing pro-Trump slogans including, “Taiwan-U.S. cooperation, we support Trump to dispose communist China” and “Taiwan, Fight for Trump,” the Taipei Times reported on Sunday.
“Some signs echoed messages used by Trump supporters who believe he won the U.S. election last month, with phrases such as: ‘Stop the Steal’ and ‘Make America Great Again’,” according to the newspaper. “With drums and music, the march traveled several blocks around Taipei 101 [skyscraper], ending at a nearby plaza, where talks and music videos were presented and streamed online.”
According to Taiwan News on Monday, the Epoch Times listed six reasons for organizing the rally:
[S]upport for U.S.-Taiwan cooperation; support for independent media free from Chinese state control; opposition to ‘pro-China’ mainstream media; opposition to censorship by social media and corporations; opposition to political collusion with China; and opposition to business groups that choose profit over national interests.
The Epoch Times‘ assistant manager of marketing in Taiwan, Eugenia Lee, told Taiwan News that U.S. social media platforms had worked to “sabotage” President Trump’s re-election campaign. She claimed that “Facebook’s Chinese-language staff had intentionally mistranslated Trump’s words.”
“Without US protection, Taiwan would not have its freedom, and instead we would be slaves ruled by communist China. Trump is the best US president for Taiwan, signing laws to have officials visit and sell US weapons for us to fend off a Chinese military attack,” Rishen Wu, a pro-Taiwan independence campaigner, said at the rally, according to the Taipei Times.
The Chinese government considers Taiwan – a democratically-ruled state with its own military – to be a renegade province. It has vowed to “reunify” the sovereign island, located off China’s southeastern coast, with China by force, if necessary. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has ordered thousands of military drills to be carried out near Taiwan in recent months, part of Beijing’s efforts to intimidate the island by violating its sovereign waters and airspace. The brazen military aggression has further complicated existing diplomatic tensions between the two parties over their disagreement on the issue of Taiwanese sovereignty.
The PLA’s incessant incursions on Taiwanese territory over the past several months have caused concern within the island’s government that a “real prospect” of war with China exists in the near future, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told the Australian state broadcaster ABC on December 1.