It was announced last week that an election watchdog made up of prominent figures from at home and abroad would be set up to observe Taiwan’s Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections.
The committee is tasked with ensuring that the presidential and legislative polls are free and fair, and it will also observe the four-month transitional period after the elections, a role that could prove crucial considering recent reports on Chinese meddling in the elections.
Although President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) denied that Beijing backed his re-election when he was interviewed by the BBC’s Chinese-language Web site late last month, numerous media reports have suggested otherwise.
Following an analysis published on Nov. 25 by Japan’s Sankei Shimbun which said that China is searching for ways to influence Taiwan’s presidential election, the latest issue of the Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday reported that Yang Xiaodu (楊曉渡), head of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) United Front Work Department’s Shanghai office, voiced his support for Ma’s re-election at a meeting with a visiting Taiwanese group headed by Chang Chao-kuo (張朝國), who also happens to be deputy honorary chairman of Ma’s campaign support group.
It now looks as though the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will have to compete not only against Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but also against the CCP, which has apparently decided that its support for Ma no longer needs to be kept secret, the Next Magazine report claims.
People First Party Chairman and presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) said that “Taiwanese need to be their own masters.”
The question is how can Taiwanese be their own masters when the KMT has joined hands with the CCP to campaign for Ma’s re-election.
While it is genuinely touching that so many international friends care enough about Taiwan’s democracy to want to serve on the election watchdog, Taiwan’s fate ultimately rests in the hands of Taiwanese themselves and their votes.
Anyone who takes pride in being Taiwanese and values the nation’s transformation into a genuine democracy is duty-bound to resist China’s threats and inducements, and to stand up and denounce anyone who uses outside forces to influence the outcome of the election. Any such act is clearly detrimental to the health of Taiwanese democracy.
Both Soong and DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday told China to keep its hands off Taiwan’s elections.
Ma’s re-election campaign office also said it is firmly opposed to any Chinese interference in the elections, but that is simply not enough.
As the sitting president, it is Ma’s responsibility to uphold Taiwan’s dignity as a democratic country. It is therefore incumbent upon him to issue a stern statement condemning Chinese attempts to influence Taiwan’s presidential election.
Failure to do so only indicates to Taiwanese that Ma is unable or unwilling to defend the nation’s pride and sovereignty, and the he does not deserve a second term in office.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday last week met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at an APEC summit in Thailand. The meeting made front-page news in Japan the following day. Three years ago, when then-Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited Beijing to meet with Xi, no one questioned Abe’s attitude toward China, as the conservative parties in Japan had been spearheaded by Abe. However, Kishida could easily be labeled as pro-China, as he hails from Hiroshima — a place known for its anti-war, anti-nuclear movements — and was once the director of the Japan-China Friendship Association of Hiroshima.
Superman’s latest flight took him halfway across the world. After an uncertain free agency, superstar former NBA center Dwight Howard finally and surprisingly settled on Taiwan’s T1 League, where the Taoyuan Leopards have welcomed him with open arms and plenty of photographs. In the two weeks since the team announced their latest addition, Taiwanese media and fans have barely been able to contain their excitement. A livestreamed video of Howard visiting a Taoyuan night market and trying chicken butt on a stick (“This is some good-ass chicken!”) not only got thousands of views and extensive media coverage in Taiwan, but
It is quite the irony when former British prime minister Boris Johnson — a buffoon who for far too long was taken seriously — is branded a buffoon for saying something deadly serious. Following Johnson’s withering criticism of China at a business forum in Singapore on Wednesday last week, the event’s organizer, Michael Bloomberg, apologized to attendees, saying that Johnson was “trying to be amusing rather than informative and serious.” However, Johnson’s characterization of China as a “coercive autocracy” that had showed “a candid disregard for the rule of international law” was spot-on. His comments evoked the wisdom of the Austrian-British philosopher
As campaign fever for tomorrow’s local elections turns white hot, supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been going head to head on social media. The latest row was triggered by a Facebook post on Nov. 13 by songwriter and KMT supporter Liu Chia-chang (劉家昌), who rebuked United Microelectronics Corp founder Robert Tsao (曹興誠) for advocating independence. “Although you regained your ROC [Republic of China] citizenship after returning from Singapore, you continue to help the green independents by guarding their flank,” Liu wrote, adding that it was an “insult to the nation.” “When [KMT