Taipei: Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday called for democracy in China, saying the island`s experience could serve as a model for the future development on the mainland.
"We hope one day that all descendants of Emperors Yen and Huang will enjoy freedom, democracy and rule of law, as we do here in Taiwan," Ma said in a New Year`s address.
"Descendants of Emperors Yen and Huang" is a poetic and politically neutral reference to people who are linguistically and culturally Chinese.
"This is not a far-off dream, because these values have all been realised in Taiwan. They are not exclusive to the West. Taiwan`s experience can serve as a reference for the future development of mainland China," Ma said.
He added that the human rights situation in the mainland was a "key yardstick" for the distance between the systems in China and Taiwan.
China wants eventual reunification with Taiwan, even if it has to go to war to bring it about.
Ma was speaking on the first day of year 100 of the calendar in official use in Taiwan.
It counts time from the establishment of the Chinese republic after the collapse of the imperial system in 1911.
The Chinese republic in turn was defeated by communist rebels who set up the people`s republic in 1949.
However, surviving elements of the republican government fled to Taiwan, where the republic survives to this day.