Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 3 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Activists from HK, Macau eye results

FORUM:The New School for Democracy brought together activists from the region to examine the outcome of the nation’s record-breaking ballot

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Saturday’s nine-in-one election results were a rejection of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) China policy, while encouraging pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong and Macau, as residents in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau all suffer similar fates under the influence of China, a forum in Taipei was told yesterday.

Since Ma came into office, the only area in which his administration has produced results has been cross-strait relations, but the election results show that mainstream public opinion has turned against Ma’s China policy, said Wang Dan (王丹), an exiled Chinese democracy activist who teaches at National Tsing Hua University.

One factor in the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) defeat was that Ma’s administration responded to the Sunflower movement — an expression of young people’s concerns about jobs, about their futures being increasingly dictated by China and about problems facing young people globally — with a bloody crackdown instead of policies to address the issues raised, Wang said.

“The Ma administration should have taken the concerns expressed in the Sunflower movement seriously, but it did not give a shit about what the students thought and did not learn lessons from the movement,” Wang said. “Especially with the use of police force, the KMT has offended the entire younger generation.”

Wang said the political influence of former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) family — which has played the role of a comprador in effecting China’s policies in Taiwan — would weaken in the wake of his son Sean Lien’s (連勝文) failure to win the Taipei mayoral election.

The weakening influence “would cause Beijing panic,” Wang added.

The results would have a big impact on Beijing, he said.

It has been Beijing’s primary objective to win the hearts of Taiwanese in southern Taiwan, with China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Deputy Chairman Zheng Lihong (鄭立中) making frequent visits there, Wang said, adding: “Look how badly the KMT crashed there.”

“The ‘China factor’ is playing out in Taiwan,” he said at the forum hosted by the New School for Democracy.

At the forum, former Hong Kong League of Social Democrats chairman Andrew To (陶君行), who was in Taiwan as an election observer, said Saturday’s event gave Hong Kong great encouragement.

“The ‘China factor’ effect is substantial for both Taiwan and Hong Kong. Facing the erosion of freedom, Hong Kongers can only resort to civil disobedience, but in Taiwan, you have elections. If Taiwan can, why can’t Hong Kong?” he said.

Sou Ka-hou (蘇嘉豪), convener of Macau Conscience, an activist organization in the territory, said that the elections were a victory for Taiwan’s democracy movement, which has entered a stage of consolidation and deepening.

In Macau, the authorities maintain that the time is not ripe for democracy, because the public is not “mature and cultured enough,” but what he has seen in Taiwan — the smooth voting process, peace and tranquility in society after the elections, participation in the campaign and the pursuit of fairness rather than economic development among young people — demonstrated that a society can achieve collective rationality through democracy, Sou said.

Chiang Meng-hin (鄭明軒), a Macau Conscience member who studies political science at the National Taiwan University, said the results were a response to the crackdown on the Sunflower movement.

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