The presidential and legislative elections take place on Saturday. Every election is important and the main characteristic of these elections is generational change.
Five years ago, Justin Trudeau, then 43, became prime minister of Canada; in 2017, Emmanuel Macron, then 40, was elected president of France; the same year, Jacinda Ardern, then 37, became prime minister of New Zealand; and last year, Sanna Marin, 34, became prime minister of Finland.
We live in a time of generational change, and the baton is being passed to men and women of the younger generation as they take over to lead people into a new era.
The Taiwanese elections are a clear manifestation of this.
First, from Keelung to Pingtung, there is a difference of almost 25 years in the average age of the candidates of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
This equates to a whole generation and, fittingly, these elections are indeed about generational differences.
The average KMT candidate is 62 years old and the party claims that the experience of its candidates is what makes it the only viable choice.
However, what kind of experience do they have?
By comparison, some of the distinguishing features of the DPP’s candidates are that they have no complicated vested business interests in their baggage, and they have gone to the best schools at home and abroad, graduating from Yale, Harvard and National Taiwan University.
If the DPP’s candidates, whose average age is 38, are elected, their uncomplicated background, capability and energy would allow them to build a new vision for the next 20 years.
Surely all the education and training they received were undertaken with the intent that they should be the nation’s leaders.
Given the wisdom of voters, why should they not make the best of this opportunity for these candidates and themselves?
Another cross-generational characteristic that is closely related to Taiwan is the generational change in China: The 1990s was the decade when China went from poverty to development, and the 2020s are set to be the decade when it slips from development into decline.
Economically, the US’ trade and technology sanctions and the outflow of foreign businesses are likely to result in economic decline in China, just as Japan slipped into decline in the 1990s.
Socially, the turmoil in Hong Kong, China’s inability to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands for direct elections and the reliance on police violence against young protesters would also lead to domestic economic decline and increased unemployment.
The inability to respond to social demands would lead to suppression of the public by the paramilitary Chinese People’s Armed Police Force, and Hong Kong would become the fuse that sets Chinese cities on the path from stability to upheaval.
Tragically, in the face of these generational changes, the older generation in the People First Party (PFP) and the KMT have made it clear that they have no vision for the future
They have slid from opposition to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through fear to friendliness and then sycophancy, making the CPP’s views their own.
As people around the world condemn the CCP and Hong Kong police for their violence and cruelty against young protesters, candidates on the KMT’s legislator-at-large list have expressed their support for Hong Kong’s police force.
While democratic governments respond to the global situation by passing anti-infiltration legislation, the KMT and the PFP are throwing their lot with the White Wolf’s [Chang An-le (張安樂)] China Unitification Promotion Party, using various insinuations to block national security legislation.
Does the KMT not have even one person left with an international outlook?
It is not surprising that such a political party would nominate s its presidential candidate someone who abandoned his position as mayor of Kaohsiung and kneels more than he walks.
It is, in fact, only fitting.
The elections represent a generational change in Taiwan. The nation’s outstanding young people and all Taiwanese have an opportunity to lay the foundations for the nation’s next 20 years.
Mike Chang is an accountant.
Translated by Perry Svensson
When I was in Ukraine filming for an upcoming documentary, I was surprised at how frequently my mind naturally tended to map Ukraine’s war experience onto Taiwan, where I have lived for the past 10 years. There are obvious parallels of an imperial nuclear superpower asserting itself over a smaller non-nuclear state, but there are also small mundane things that would impact everyday life. When I saw Ukrainian elderly people filling jugs of water at a church in sub-zero temperatures and hauling it back to their homes which might not have electricity, I imagined the difficulty of a Taiwanese senior
This is the Year of the Dragon. At the beginning of the year, the Chinese government announced that “dragon” is to be translated as long (龍), in a move meant to erase the supposed negative connotations of dragons. In many Western cultures, dragons are often seen as wicked or demonic. This is not just a mere linguistic adjustment. It is symbolic, representing a change in China’s current political culture. Under the overbearing leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the Chinese government has been undergoing a cultural policy of “de-Westernization.” Although this change in semantics is just one of many
An online petition started by a doctor in Taichung called on lawmakers to halt an amendment that would shorten the time needed for Chinese spouses of Taiwanese to gain citizenship in Taiwan. The amendment could put a strain on Taiwan’s already burdened National Health Insurance (NHI) system, Cheng Ching Hospital thoracic surgery division doctor Tu Cheng-che (杜承哲) said. Doctors have seen many Chinese spouses bring their relatives to hospital emergency rooms, asking for full checkups, he added. “They [Chinese spouses] even tell their relatives that healthcare in Taiwan is free and is easily accessible, and that healthcare providers in Taiwan
On Feb. 15, the UK’s Economist Intelligence Unit released its latest report on the state of democracy around the world. Out of the 167 countries and territories covered by the report, titled Democracy Index 2023: Age of conflict, Taiwan is considered a full democracy, ranking first in Asia and 10th around the world. The index showed that global democracy regressed last year, yet Taiwan countered this trend, a fact that all Taiwanese should take pride in. The report sheds light on the rising tide of authoritarianism, with groups consolidating power within and forming alliances with authoritarian powers without. The international order