countries on Friday March 22 to start diplomatic relations with her island, to improve religious and other freedoms.

Speaking in an interview with BosNewsLife in Budapest, Lu said she was saddened that the Vatican is the only European country to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state.  "We certainly cherish this special relationship (with the Vatican), but we are not satisfied with the situation," she added. That’s why we would like to make more friends in Europe," Lu said in Budapest, where she attends the 51st congress of the Liberal International, a platform of Liberal parties from around the world.


However Lu stressed she was not surprised that the Vatican treated Taiwan as a separate country. "We have been independent since 1951," she noted in remarks that are likely to upset the Government in Beijing, which considers Taiwan as a renegade province.

Lu also revealed that her Government will issue new passports by December. "Currently Republic of China is written on the passport. It will be Republic of China issued in Taiwan." Taiwan is officially still known as the Republic of China (ROC), however she did not rule out a name change in the future. In addition the vice president she seeks Taiwan’s membership in the World Health Organization.

Most Governments seem reluctant to grant officials like herself a visa, because of fears of Chinese reprisals. However Hungary, which was the first Communist country to condemn the Chinese crack-down against pro-democracy students in 1989, decided to grant her a visa, to attend the Liberal Congress.


She has been told that her Liberal Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, will be accepted as a full member of the Liberal International.  Her presence in Budapest was already enough to fuel tensions. Liberal officials told BosNewsLife that the Chinese Embassy in Budapest sent diplomatic cars to the Budapest airport to stop the Vice President.

In addition other congress delegates reportedly received hostile phone calls. Despite these set-backs, the vice president told BosNewsLife she hopes that countries will not be afraid to start diplomatic relations with Taiwan. She said this kind of relationships will have a positive impact on the lives of Christians in especially China.

"Religious freedom and the freedom of education (are) the best among all of the human rights in Taiwan and we are very proud of that." She told "the foreign minister of the Vatican that the best way to help the Catholics or to enhance the religious freedom in China is to strengthen the relationship with Taiwan."


"Taiwan can serve as a lighthouse," the vice president added with a smile on her face. "There is no infringement of religious freedom." It was difficult to independently confirm her claims, but analysts have pointed out that Taiwan made progress in several areas since President Chen Shui Bian and Vice President Lu came to power after decades of authoritarian rule.

Yet, Lu admitted that Taiwan still faces serious social tensions, and that family values will have to be strengthened. "Despite the achievements, still I am not satisfied in many area’s such as the fundamental concept between men and women need improvement," she stressed.

"Men treat women many times just like sexual objects. We need mutual respect. Domestic violence, sexual harassment need follow up research and we have to work out a better mechanism. Otherwise with the development of high tech, women (will) lose their freedom everywhere."


The struggle for freedom has always dominated the life of Lu, who under the previous pro-China regime received a 12 year prison sentence for a 20 minute speech about human rights. Following international pressure the frail Lu was released in 1985 on medical grounds after more than 5 years in jail so she could receive cancer treatment.

But she would not have done anything differently. "Regret is not part of my dictionary," she said.


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