Premier John Horgan expresses condolences over death of former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui

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      Former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui is widely seen as an icon of democracy in Asia. That's because he ushered his country out of martial law, becoming the first elected head of state in 1996 after eight years in power.

      So when he died at the age of 97 on July 30, Taiwanese-born people around the world mourned his passing.

      Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay tweeted his respects to former president Lee on July 30—the same day an obituary appeared in the New York Times.

      The following day, one of his leadership contest rivals, Erin O'Toole, issued a similar message.

      And after Ontario premier Doug Ford tweeted his condolences on August 1, there continued to be silence from the B.C. government.

      This was despite the Taiwanese community in B.C.'s support for the NDP in the last provincial election.

      The Straight pointed this out in an article posted at 7:50 a.m. on August 3.

      Nearly 11 hours later, Citizens' Services Minister Anne Kang tweeted a heartfelt message about the significance of Lee's legacy to Taiwan.

      Kang was born in Taiwan and moved to Canada as a child.

      Yesterday, Premier John Horgan made amends to Taiwanese Canadians who were upset over his lengthy silence regarding Lee's death.

      Kang and Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen, who was also born in Taiwan, visited Andy Chen, the director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver. The two NDP politicians presented him with flowers and a plaque of condolences from the B.C. government.

      In addition, they asked Chen to forward the plaque to Lee's widow.

      "My heartfelt condolences to Taiwanese British Columbians who mourn the passing of President Lee Teng-Hui, who led Taiwan's transition into a vibrant democracy," Horgan declared. "The strength of our multicultural province is people & lessons from those working to build a better, more inclusive world."

      There has been no statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or any federal Liberal cabinet ministers over the death of Lee. 

      The federal government does not recognize the democratically elected government of Taiwan, preferring to reflect the People's Republic of China's claim that the independent island nation is a long-lost province.

      Taiwanese people, on the other hand, reject that position, claiming that China is just one of several colonizers over the past 400 years along with the Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese.