Taipei: Taiwan needs to defend itself against authoritarian threats from China and it must stand up for itself, according to Khedroob Thondup, a former member of the Tibetan parliament in exile.

Writing in Taipei Times, he warned about the Chinese suppression of Tibet and Hong Kong, advising them to fend themselves from Chinese designs on the island nation, as Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has vowed to retake the island, by force if necessary.

"One country two systems, which was started in Tibet and failed in Hong Kong, has come and gone. What is now left for the PRC is the use of brute force: They have suppressed Tibet, then Hong Kong and are now using strong-arm tactics on Taiwan. I believe Taiwanese democracy will survive, but Taiwanese have to stand up for themselves first," said Thondup.

The former member of the Tibetan parliament in exile said that he first visited Taiwan in 1985, deputed by Dalai Lama to start a dialogue with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

"I spent three days talking to officials, the end result being the signing of an agreement where the Republic of China (ROC) recognized the right to self-determination of Tibetans," he said.

According to official KMT records in Nanking, Tibet never paid taxes to the ROC government.

He also lauded Taiwan's determination saying that in 1997, Dalai Lama made his first-ever visit to Taiwan at the invitation of then-president Lee Teng-hui.

"Lee took the bold step of opening Taiwan's doors to His Holiness. The visit was most successful and changed the attitude of His Holiness toward Taiwanese," said Thondup.

After seeing Taiwan's robust democracy, Dalai Lama recognized the Taiwanese as a separate entity from the Chinese, reported Taipei Times.

Thondup visited Taipei to start grassroots lobbying for Tibetan issues.

"On one occasion I met then-Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian, who was quite upset, as he had not been given an audience with His Holiness during his visit. As mayor, Chen issued an invitation to His Holiness, which His Holiness accepted when Chen was president," said Thondup.

He also admired Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) but said that the party had no idea of China's brutal tactics and how to defend Taiwan.

"One issue which I found disturbing was national identity. In the 1990s there were two distinct camps: Mainlanders and local residents. Today this has evolved as young people in Taiwan identify themselves as Taiwanese," said the Tibetan leader.

He said that after Typhoon Morakot, which caused widespread death and destruction, Dalai Lama was invited to Taiwan and the KMT government issued him a visa on the condition he did not make any political statements.

Notably, President Tsai Ing-wen in her first term became the only DPP president not to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama upon his request to visit Taiwan.

"After 30 years in Taiwan I admire the way democracy has become vibrant, but I wonder whether the Taiwanese have the will to stand up to the People's Republic of China (PRC)," said Thondup.