Mon, Jan 16, 2012 - Page 2 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: ‘China model’ influencing Taiwan

‘HIJACKED’:Exiled Chinese democracy activists say that Ma’s next term will be closely bound with Beijing, but praised the election as a model of democracy for China

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Exiled Chinese dissident Wang Dan speaks at a forum in Taipei yesterday on the outcome of Saturday’s elections.

Photo: Hsieh Wen-hua, Taipei Times

As Taiwan continues to closely interact with China, the “China model,” which places economic development as the No. 1 objective, has had an impact on the mindset of Taiwanese, exiled Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) said in Taipei yesterday.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) won a second term on Saturday by a margin of 6 percentage points, or 800,000 votes, over Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), which Wang said was “a result of growing cross-strait interaction.”

Wang said he believed that democratic development in Taiwan would have a positive impact on China, while “Taiwan is under the influence of China’s economic clout.”

“The election outcome showed that people were concerned that a DPP victory might bring uncertainty to cross-strait relations and place cross-strait relations in deadlock,” Wang said at a forum on the election result held by New School for Democracy.

In response to a question on whether entrepreneurs were forced by China to step forward in succession to declare support for so-called “1992 consensus” — the basis of Ma’s cross-strait policy under the “one China” principle — Wang said he believed those were all “planned events,” but he did not know who had masterminded the scheme.

“There must be some story behind it,” he said. “It is not possible that they acted of their own accord, but I have no idea who engineered all of them, [executive director of Ma’s campaign office] King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) or [China’s] Office of Taiwan Affairs?”

There were three reasons to presume that it was a stratagem, Wang added.

“First, entrepreneurs seldom took sides in elections in the past. Second, they voiced support for the ‘1992 consensus’ rather than the ‘ECFA [the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement], which was unusual. When have you seen entrepreneurs choosing to talk about politics rather than economic issues?” he said.

“And third, it’s not like in 2008, when only [Evergreen Group founder] Chang Yung-fa (張榮發) announced his support for Ma. This year, the entrepreneurs came forward en masse, as if it was planned in advance,” he said.

Su Xiaokang (蘇曉康), a Chinese dissident and the principal scriptwriter of River Elegy agreed, saying the China model “holds sway over Taiwan’s elections.”

“It was like Taiwan’s election was hijacked by the China model,” he said. “In the next four years, governance under Ma administration will be closely bound up with China.”

At the forum, other democracy activists from China and Hong Kong praised the smooth and peaceful election, saying it showed that democracy in Taiwan has become more mature and that would have an influence on China.

The presidential election received prominent attention in Chinese online media, such as Sina.com, China’s second-largest online media portal, which would “have a huge impact on Chinese society,” Wang said.

“As the election has shed some of its earlier emotional nature in favor of rational debate, Taiwan’s democracy has become more mature. It proved that democracy does not cause turmoil, but acts as a mechanism to stabilize society,” he said.

Chinese democracy activist Henry Li (李恆清) said he was touched when his friends in the DPP said that after Tsai’s loss in the election, “we went home and had a good cry. The next day, we go back to work and normal life.”

“[Saturday] night, I was in [Tsai’s] campaign headquarters. I saw her supporters, who had spent so much time, energy and money during the campaign, crying. When Tsai said she accepted the outcome, they all accepted that. It’s incredible,” Li said.

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