In recent years, Taiwan has made admirable strides in recognising the rights and improving the lot of some minority groups, showing how much can be achieved by a progressive government that is intent on changing the status quo for the betterment of all of its citizens’ lives, and not just pandering to the tyranny of the majority. One of the most notable examples is in legalising gay marriage, and it is in relation to this achievement that we shall examine some disconcerting developments that show there are still bigoted views that are holding the region back. For example, derogatory comments recently made at a press conference by Taipei’s mayor about gay people indicate that there is prejudice in some of the nation’s politicians. Do comments like the mayor’s indicate that there is still systemic prejudice against LGBTQ groups in Taiwanese politics?
In stark contrast to the discrimination that only occasionally rears its ugly head in public in Taiwan, other countries in the region are regressing much more significantly. Just this past week, in a further leap backwards, LGBTQ groups’ WeChat accounts have been suspended in China, with no explanation as to why it happened. As per usual, government internet censorship has also applied blanket suppression of all reporting about the bans too. Similarly, as is commonly the case, conservative and other pro-CCP commentators have lauded the move, claiming that LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, the rights of minorities and basically any movements in support of progressive causes are products of “foreign influence”. So, are the progressive movements towards greater equality, human rights, animal rights and environmental protection – to name but a few – just values of “Western ideology”? Or are the CCP just using this as yet another excuse to prevent progress in civil society and suppress minorities?