Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Hopeful Message from Taiwan’s Ambassador Bi-khim Hsiao
March is Women’s History Month and to commemorate it, ALEC is sharing messages from a handful of the female leaders who are our members and our friends. This year’s theme is “Providing Healing and Promoting” and the video submitted by Taiwan’s Ambassador Bi-khim Hsiao offers words of hope for peace.
Ambassador Hsiao acknowledged Ukraine’s struggle to defend its sovereignty, emphasizing that “The people of Taiwan stand in solidarity with the women and men of Ukraine for peace and for freedom.” In her recent Washington Post op-ed, she described the strong feelings the attack on Ukraine has evoked among her people given the ongoing cross-Strait threats they face from China. Taiwan joined the United States and other democracies in enacting sanctions against Russia. The people of Taiwan have generously contributed $30 million toward relief to Ukrainian refugees forced to flee their homes.
Ambassador Hsiao, herself a former lawmaker, observes that her nation’s Legislative Yuan is 40% female – the highest percentage in Asia – and reminds us that her president, Tsai Ing-wen, is a woman as well. ALEC presented our International Pioneer Award to President Tsai in December 2020 for her extraordinary international leadership and strong commitment to free markets, qualities that are evident in her acceptance speech (read ALEC’s press release on the event here). President Tsai quoted former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the first and only other recipient of this ALEC Award, who said, “When people are free to choose, they choose freedom.” She also described the birth of representative governance in Taiwan, a story familiar to those who understand that liberty rarely follows a straight and inexorable line.
Ambassador Hsiao has addressed ALEC members before, and the importance of freedom is always a centerpiece in her talks. During her most recent presentation at ALEC’s 2021 Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, she recalled that China responded to Taiwan’s first democratic, presidential elections by firing missiles toward the island nation in a failed attempt at intimidation and a potent reminder that “Taiwan stands on the front lines of confronting the Communist Party of China.” Is it any wonder, that Ambassador Hsiao and the people of her nation empathize with and are inspired by Ukraine’s courage in the face of Russian aggression? Indeed, Ukraine’s valiant efforts to defend their fledgling democracy have caused many of us to hold our freedom a little tighter. Watch Ambassador Hsiao’s video message here and access additional messages from notable lady members and friends of ALEC here.