On September 14th, the lower house of the Swiss Parliament passed the “Improving Relations with Taiwan” bill by an overwhelming majority. The bill will require the Swiss Federal Council to submit a report on how to deepen relations with Taiwan in the economic, trade, political, scientific and cultural fields.
Yan Minru, a Taiwanese writer who has lived in Switzerland for more than three decades, told Radio Free Asia that Taiwan’s success in combating COVID, coupled with four recent China-related incidents in Switzerland, alerted Switzerland to the infiltration from China and made them realize that they should start to support Taiwan.
Those four China-related incidents are described as follows:
1. During the Hong Kong protest, Zurich University of the Arts used an art exhibit to show support for Hong Kong protesters. The Chinese embassy pressured the university, telling them not to interfere with China’s internal affairs. The university insisted they had the right to freedom of speech and it would be unconstitutional if they gave in and cancelled the exhibition. Their position was well received by the media.
2. Gerber, a Ph.D. student at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, criticized China on twitter. His professor and adviser then received threats from some Chinese students. The university asked Gerber to find another adviser. Since Gerber studied China’s environmental pollution which is a sensitive subject, Gerber was unable to find a new adviser. He had to drop out of school and wasted three years of research work.
3. About two years ago, for about a year, the Swiss German-language weekly Le Monde published articles written by a former Chinese ambassador to Switzerland on a monthly basis. The articles were full of propaganda. New Zurich Daily later exposed that the articles were published through the process of trade involving a paid advertisement with the Chinese embassy.
4. A large number of Chinese were smuggled into Switzerland. The Swiss government allowed several Chinese officials to come to Switzerland to verify the status of the refugees. The process lasted for two weeks. The Swiss government even paid for the Chinese officials’ airfare, hotel accommodations, health insurance, and gave them a US$217 daily allowance. They even let these officials use the Swiss office facilities. It caused strong public opposition.
Source: Radio Free Asia, September 15, 2021