On the one hand there is Taiwan, a democracy that the Economist ranks tenth in the world and first in Asia (Democracy Index 2022); on the other hand there is China, a superpower that is a totalitarian regime, i.e. a social system in which political power permeates every sphere of society, in a total way.

On the one hand, Taiwan, whose 24 million inhabitants only want to live in peace in their open, free and welcoming society; on the other hand, China, whose government bullies every single day with 19th century imperialist rhetoric and threats of war and invasion.

That is why I was rather disappointed that of the 34 members of the Switzerland-Taiwan friendship parliamentary group, only 5 took part in the trip to the democratic island: two SP (left), two Greens and one SVP (right). No FDP (centre to centre-right). As a liberal, I can only say: what a disappointment. As a liberal I have to applaud the socialist Fabian Molina who said in Taipei that Taiwan is an important partner for Switzerland, that it is important for democracies to support each other and that Taiwan must be better integrated into international organisations. A speech that simply looks pure reality in the face: Taiwan is one of the most advanced democracies and the fact that it cannot join international organisations because of its fist-waving bully neighbour is a huge scandal.

Once again, it seems that Switzerland uses its concept of neutrality to be neutral between free societies and societies ruled by dictatorial and totalitarian regimes. And when you are neutral between a world power that is a totalitarian regime and a democratic island of 24 million people, in reality you are on the side of totalitarianism; out of fear, for the sake of living quietly.