Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
More than 150 Atlanta businesspeople heard international and human rights scholar Lung-chu Chen’s argument for Taiwan to become a United Nations member during his trip here Sept. 14-15.

A staunch supporter of Taiwan’s admission into the U.N., Dr. Chen, professor at New York School of Law, has written about the topic for more than 30 years and founded the New Century Institute, a think-tank to promote Taiwan’s position in the international community. He also advises the Taiwanese president on Taiwan’s role in international politics.

Dr. Chen was invited here by the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Atlanta the same week that Taiwan was rejected from its 14th bid to become a U.N. member nation.

He said that he was encouraged by Georgians’ concern for Taiwan’s international status, after speaking with Atlanta’s Taiwanese community and audiences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the International Issues Forum and the Southern Center for International Studies.

In an interview with GlobalAtlanta after he returned to New York, Dr. Chen also said that Georgia should continue to strengthen its ties with Taiwan, even as it builds its economic relationship with China.

While recent state and city efforts have focused on building relationships in China and opening a Delta Air Lines Inc. flight between Atlanta and Beijing, Georgia has an established relationship with Taiwan.

State officials last visited Taiwan in 2004, and the Georgia General Assembly announced in the spring that it supported Taiwan’s participation in U.N. activities.

Fifteen Taiwan-based companies currently have sales, manufacturing or warehouse facilities in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Atlanta has maintained a 27-year Sister City relationship with Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city.

But Georgians should continue to spend time identifying key business sectors in which they could collaborate with Taiwan because the Taiwanese may be increasingly interested in investing in markets outside of Asia, Dr. Chen said.

Taiwanese scholars are encouraging businesspeople to diversify their foreign investments away from China, because approximately 70 percent of Taiwan’s yearly overseas investments go to China, he said.

“It’s really too concentrated in one country, and it might make Taiwan too reliant on one economy,” he said, adding that Taiwan had invested more than $200 billion in China.

While Dr. Chen would like to see Georgia and Taiwan’s relationship continue to grow, he was supportive of the state’s efforts to do business with China, which does not recognize Taiwan as an independent nation.

He believes that increased trade with China can help to foster democratic values in the country that could eventually have benefits for Taiwan.

“Yes it’s important to do business in China, to engage China, but in the mean time, also emphasize the values of democracy, freedom and human rights,” he said, noting that Chinese citizens are still denied freedom of assembly and speech.

“Hopefully, the really good friends of China must be able to remind them, to let them know, that the U.S., Georgia, [and] the people of Georgia and America are concerned with human rights,” he said.

For more information on Dr. Chen’s visit, contact Jack Huang, director of the Culture Center in the Taipei office, who invited Dr. Chen here, at (770) 451-4456.

To learn more about Dr. Chen’s work regarding Taiwan, visit the New Century Institute at