Tsai Ing-wen, the front-running opposition candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election in January, said on Wednesday that trolls from China attacking the republic’s democratic politics on her Facebook page were welcome to a taste of democracy and freedom. As chair of the main opposition pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai, 59, commands a comfortable lead in the polls, and if elected has promised to uphold Taiwanese democratic values while maintaining exchanges with China. “There were a lot of ‘netizens’ from the other side of the Taiwan Strait visiting my Facebook page last night and I welcome them to do so,” Tsai said on her Facebook profile on Wednesday morning.
“I hope our ‘new friends’ will be able to see Taiwan’s democracy, freedom and versatility more completely with the rare experience,” she said, attaching a picture showing the word freedom with the letter f represented by the Facebook logo.
While Facebook and some other global social media sites are officially banned in China, people there can circumvent the Great Firewall of China using virtual private network (VPN) services.
It is widely believed that social media and news sites outside China have on occasions been accessed with official connivance to attack figures and opinions Beijing does not like.