There was another winner in the election this weekend that handed President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan a second term in office — the faint but unmistakable clamor for democracy in China. Thanks in large part to an uncharacteristically hands-off approach by Chinese Internet censors, the campaign between Mr. Ma and his main challenger was avidly followed by millions of mainland Chinese, who consumed online tidbits of election news and biting commentary that they then spit out far and wide through social media outlets.
Articles about voting issues in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s democratic elections, widely watched in China, will spur the Chinese people to demand reforms and Chinese authorities will be “shocked” into changing their current practices, a mainland Chinese scholar said Saturday. Wang Weinan, a research fellow at Shanghai Academy of SocialScience, said mainland Chinese people are “envious” of Taiwan people’s right to choose their national leaders andparliamentarians. Given the increasing exchanges between the people across the Taiwan Strait and the multiple channels through which the Chinese people can obtain information about Taiwan, more and more Chinese are viewing Taiwan in a favorable light, Wang said.
President Ma Ying-jeou was elected to a second four-year term as Taiwan’s president, giving him a renewed mandate to press for closer ties with China that have eased decades-old tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Ma, the 61-year-old leader of the ruling Kuomintang Party, defeated challenger Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman, by 51.6 percent to 45.6 percent, with all the votes tallied, the Central Election Commission reported on its website. The commission said 74.4 percent of Taiwan’s 18 million eligible voters cast ballots.
Taiwan’s elections were “mostly free but partly unfair,” according to a preliminary report released on Sunday by a group of international observers. Saturday’s election saw incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou defeat opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen by six percentage points. In the report compiled by the International Committee for Free Elections in Taiwan, the observers cited several factors that could have helped Ma gain more votes than the opposition.
Taiwan’s presidential candidates have wound up a packed last day of campaigning in an attempt to lure voters who will decide the outcome of a tight race watched intensely in Beijing and Washington. The choice in Saturday’s vote is essentially between the incumbent Ma Ying-jeou, who has overseen four years of improved ties with China, and his main challenger Tsai Ing-wen, a skeptic on closer mainland relations. Amid swirling campaign banners and cheering crowds, Ma and Tsai, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), crisscrossed the island ahead of a contest that pits Ma’s experience against Tsai’s populism.
Taiwanese voted on Saturday for their next president and parliament, an election being closely monitored by China and the United States as they look for stability in the region at a time of political transition for both superpowers. Opinion polls suggest the presidential race will be tight. But a slight advantage is seen for incumbent Nationalist Ma Ying-jeou, 61, who has fostered warmer ties with China, over Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Taiwan increased security for presidential election candidates Wednesday after a gun scare around opposition hopeful Tsai Ing-wen who is vying to be the island’s first female president, police said. Officers in the central city of Taichung arrested a man after they found him sitting with the weapon in his car, parked along a route planned for Tsai’s campaign motorcade, police said. The man, identified as 34-year-old Tai Kuo-feng, explained that the gun, a potentially lethal modified air gun, was for sports purposes, and he was later released, according to police.
The only thing more striking than the $32,000 diamond-encrusted eyeglasses on display at the Baodao Optical department store here is the bronze statue of Chairman Mao that greets shoppers entering what is billed as the world’s largest eyeglass emporium. That is because Baodao Optical’s owners are from Taiwan, the island whose governing party, the Kuomintang, fought a fierce — and losing — civil war against Mao’s Communist forces before fleeing the mainland in 1949 with more than a million refugees. The rival governments have yet to sign a peace accord.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou’s policy of economic opening to China has frustrated a key constituency: struggling middle- and low-income workers, who could cost him elections this week. That outcome would alarm Beijing and heighten uncertainty in an area that has long been a flashpoint in U.S.-China relations. Following massive rallies Sunday by both the ruling Kuomintang and the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in the capital, Taipei, Mr. Ma and DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen were back campaigning Monday.