Written by Nicholas Welch. Approaching the January 2020 Taiwan elections, many Taiwanese and international spectators broadly feared PRC-based disinformation operations weakening Taiwan’s democratic institutions. In particular, many feared Russian-style “covert social influence via the use of bots and fake persona accounts,” which would sway public opinion en masse. Nevertheless, when the dust settled, it remained unclear whether the PRC propagated that form of disinformation at all. Before the election, and although no substantial evidence for such claims exists, the international community pre-emptively accused the PRC of spreading disinformation.
Written by John F. Copper. Had the economic numbers not been in their favour, would they have lost the election? Hardly. The fact the U.S. supported President Tsai and her party was an overwhelming advantage, as was China alienating Taiwan’s voters with its harsh statements and actions, which were further exacerbated with anti-China protests in Hong Kong. Both were critical factors. Finally, the KMT was very divided with its top leaders fighting among themselves.
Written by Jacques deLisle. Tsai Ing-wen begins her second and final term as Taiwan’s president buoyed by her adept handling of a pair of crises. But the skill, and luck, of Tsai and the Democratic Progressive Party-led government are likely to be tested on several fronts
Written by Mark Wenyi Lai. What will President Tsai Ing-wen do in her second term? To answer this question, this essay reviewed three previous Taiwanese Presidents’ second terms and attempted to assess how Tsai and Taiwan politics operate in 2020-2024. Tsai is the most formidable Taiwanese President of the last thirty years. Her unprecedented political clout contributes to seven explanations as to why this is the case.
Written by Qi Dongtao. As usual, Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural speech on May 20 maintained her low-key, down-to-earth style without much surprise. From Beijing’s perspective, since she did not explicitly accept the “one-China principle” in the speech, she failed Beijing’s so-called “exam” again and therefore was severely criticised by Beijing. But since Beijing had already concluded that she would never openly accept the “one-China principle,” her speech did not surprise Beijing.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. Her overwhelming victory in the elections already gave President Tsai Ing-wen a solid mandate to push domestic reforms with greater vigor, while the country’s excellent performance in combating the Coronavirus crisis gave Taiwan an unmatched international visibility, which will help in pushing back against China’s mounting political and economic aggressiveness.
Written by Ian Inkster. The conclusion is that the DPP should take the risk of dropping the rhetoric of China whilst seeking ways of beginning more positive diplomatic exchanges. And this should be undertaken on a broad basis. DPP negotiations that are not within a reasonably broad-based consensus at home are unlikely to progress far, for domestic quarrels do not make for confident diplomacy on either side of a table.
Written by Timothy Rich, Isabel Eliassen, Andi Dahmer and Carolyn Brueggemann. We ask to what extent has the public’s view on same-sex marriage changed in recent years and to what extent this influenced the 2020 election? The 2018 local elections clearly indicated a shift in the political saliency of the issue of same-sex marriage legislation over the past several years, while Tsai’s re-election with a continued Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative majority would suggest that opposition to the issue has declined in salience.
Written by John F. Copper. The United States has long (since World War II) played a critical role in Taiwan’s politics, including its elections. The reason is apparent: in 1950 President Truman sent the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to block Mao’s plan to invade the island; he saved Taiwan. America has served as Taiwan’s guardian ever since. Today China’s military could “liberate” Taiwan and make it part of China probably in a few hours if the US declined to intervene.
Written by Sam Robbins. Taiwanese politics has been digital as long as it has been democratic. Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996 was hotly debated on popular BBS systems of the time. More recent elections have been fought on blogs, PTT, facebook and elsewhere. Taiwanese politicians have always been looking for new methods to connect with voters and make themselves visible in an ever-changing digital landscape.
Written by Milo Hsieh. This year’s election season is marked by the two camps of nationalists. On one end, though those in support of formally creating a Taiwanese state were at odds with Tsai in the beginning of the year, they eventually formed a united front after Tsai’s victory in the DPP primary. On the other end, supporters of the KMT and presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu showed more support than ever for the ROC flag.
Written by Adrian Chiu. A large number of Hong Kong people travelled to Taiwan, personally covering experiences, just to share the sentimental moment of the Tsai’s predicted victory. Hong Kongers were present at electoral rallies in Taiwan, waving the anti-ELAB movement flag and slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times.” Although these Hong Kong people may not vote in Taiwan, they nevertheless all campaigned for Tsai.