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President Ma Promises to Safeguard Democracy

Jan 22, 2009, 4:59 AM

President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan on Sunday vowed to protect freedom and democracy, in the country.

"We have come a long way, and this is [democracy] something we have to cherish," Ma said. "This is also a very important experience we can share with other emerging democracies in the rest of the world."

Free elections, Ma said, are "of course the core of democracy," but "not the whole of democracy."

"Free elections are important, but elections are not everything," he said.

"We still have to protect freedom, human rights and the rule of law. This is what my administration and I will pursue in the future," Ma said.

Ma made the remarks while receiving foreign guests attending this year's World Freedom Day celebrations and the 53rd annual convention of the Republic of China (ROC) chapter of the World League for Freedom and Democracy at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

The president said that freedom and democracy are the best remedy for countering communism and 60 years of development of freedom and democracy have made the world realize the value of the democratic system.

The ROC government on Taiwan was no exception, he said, saying that the ROC Constitution adopted in 1946, enshrines such values.

Meanwhile, legislators across party lines yesterday expressed support for Ma's call on the legislature to pass two human rights conventions.