Chinese authorities are helping the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) encourage Taiwanese businesspeople based in China to return to Taiwan to vote in the Nov. 29 nine-in-one elections through multiple channels, including chapters of China’s Taiwan Affairs Council and local Chinese officials, sources said.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, has ordered the party to exert as much effort as it did in previous presidential elections to have China-based Taiwanese businesspeople return to vote, the sources added.
Despite recent friction between the Ma administration and Beijing over Ma’s remarks on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, China has extended its helping hand, they said.
According to people familiar with the KMT, Chinese authorities have been involved in reminding China-based Taiwanese businesspeople about the election to a degree that was seen only in the presidential elections in 2008 and 2012.
That seems somewhat unusual this year, because the elections are for local offices, sources said, adding that the extent of the effort that Chinese authorities have put into the mobilization shows that they regard the election as a precursor to the 2016 presidential election.
Some associations of China-based Taiwanese businesspeople have managed to secure cheaper flights available from between Nov. 20 and Nov. 28, with cheaper returning tickets available within a week after the election day, sources said.
It is estimated that there are more than 1 million Taiwanese living in China. About 210,000 people returned to vote in the 2012 presidential election.
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