The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) needs to increase voter turnout to secure a win at the polls in January, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said during a radio interview on Wednesday last week.
The DPP achieved a decisive win in the 2016 elections, despite the lowest voter turnout in two decades, but the party’s losses in last year’s nine-in-one elections show that the political landscape has been changing. Lin said the buzz around Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) came from those frustrated with or concerned about the nation’s democracy.
Populist candidates backed by China are the real threat to Taiwan’s democracy. The Want Want China Times Media Group’s Beijing ties are public knowledge, but on Wednesday, the Financial Times claimed that the group’s news outlets were receiving direct instructions from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office. The alleged instructions apparently included giving a majority of the airtime on the group’s TV channels to Han and front-page coverage to him in the Chinese-language China Times newspaper, the report said.
The National Communications Commission corroborated the Times report with May audit results showing that the group’s CtiTV News allocated 70 percent of its airtime to Han, which highlighted that CtiTV had not met a commission deadline to improve the balance of its political reporting.
Lin said that young people mobilize when a nation is in crisis, as evidenced by Hong Kongers’ protests against the territory’s proposed extradition bill, and he expects many young people to vote in January.
Hopefully Lin is right, but the DPP cannot leave a good turnout to chance. China has been using Taiwanese media as part of its “united front” tactics. The DPP must expose pro-China media — bringing the law to bear on them whenever possible — and must harness social media and big data to leverage itself.
US President Donald Trump’s campaign team used software tools to “cross-reference demographic information with voter affinity related to hot-button issues such as gun control, abortion, the border wall and marijuana legalization,” CBS News reported on Nov. 6 last year, adding that his team then used the information in targeted marketing through social media and other platforms.
Trump’s campaign team presented his position in favor of gun control “as a ‘defense’ to the frightened citizens who live in dangerous neighborhoods, ‘constitutional’ to the purists of the Ten Amendments and as ‘tradition’ to the lovers of sport hunting,” a report posted on the Web site of Italy’s Bologna Business School on Feb. 22 last year said.
Taiwan’s southern cities were once thought to be DPP strongholds, but last year’s elections proved otherwise. The party must remarket itself to swing voters and its traditional base.
The Taipei Times on Thursday reported that Taiwan New Constitution Foundation founder Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) is pushing for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) to run on the same ticket in January’s election. Foundation executive director Lin Yi-cheng (林宜正) believes that such an alliance would unify the party, as Lai is favored by voters over 50 and Tsai is popular among younger voters.
The protests in Hong Kong have given a boost to the DPP, as they demonstrate to the world that the “one country, two systems” formula is a failure. This combined with global attention on China’s crackdown on religious freedom, its arbitrary arrest of foreign nationals and its slowing economy should be highlighted in DPP campaigning as reasons it is senseless to seek closer relations with Beijing, as Han is aiming to do.
French firm DCI-DESCO in April won a bid to upgrade Taiwan’s Lafayette frigates, which has strained ties between China and France. In 1991, France sold Taiwan six Lafayette frigates and in 1992 sold it 60 Mirage 2000 fighter jets. To prevent arms sales between the nations, China negotiated an agreement with France and in 1994 in a joint statement, France promised that there would be no future arms sales to Taiwan. From China’s point of view, the DCI-DESCO deal constitutes a breach of the agreement, but the French stance is that it is not selling Taiwan new weapons, but instead providing a
Chung Yuan ChristiaN University is clearly in bed with the People’s Republic of China. This can be the only explanation why the school’s authorities have done their utmost to shield a student, who lodged a complaint against an associate professor, and then used thuggish tactics to compel the teacher to issue two separate apologies to China. The original complaint, filed by an unnamed Chinese student, was for remarks by associate professor Chao Ming-wei (招名威) during a class on the origin of COVID-19. A second complaint was filed by the same student after Chao, during an apology, stated that he was a
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her inaugural address on May 20 firmly said: “We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo.” The Chinese government was not too happy, and later that day, an opinion piece on the Web site of China’s state broadcaster China Central Television said: “While Tsai’s first inaugural address four years ago was read by Beijing as an ‘unfinished answer sheet,’ the one she presented this time was even more below-par.” Speaking to the China Review News Agency, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies vice president
During my twenty-two years in the US Senate, I became a student of Taiwan and its history. I was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy, and have made at least 25 trips to Taiwan and have been invited as an observer to two of the nation’s presidential elections. Taiwan’s continuous economic miracle has seen the nation transition from a mixed agricultural-industrial society at the end of Japan’s 50 years of jurisdiction to today’s economic powerhouse, unmatched by most nations of the world. Just as outstanding has been Taiwan’s decades of resistance and