Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Taiwan elections: A wake up call to three nations

Published in www.examiner.com
on November 30th, 2014
By Don Juan Corzo

When Taiwan hosted a successful technology event in Memorial City Mall in Houston
, Texas late September, it was a lauded a sign of advancement in the industry and progress for the island nation in recent years.
But Taiwanese voters sent a different message to their current government on November 29th when the current ruling party, the conservative KMT (Kuomintang) suffered a major loss.
Our economy and technologies are not what it was about ten years ago, said Joan Wong, a Hsinchu county resident and a professional with a double major in business and marketing. All we're known for now is HTC and LG cell phones.
While the U.S. President Barack Obama experienced a similar defeat in early November when his Democratic party lost both chambers of his government to the conservative Republican Party, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou was faced with a more crushing rejection of his administration’s policies by numbers.
The more liberal leaning party, DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) won more seats at all levels of government even in municipalities and regions considered strongholds of KMT for years or decades, including its capital, Taipei.
Many young people are disappointed with what they've seen our government do in recent years, said Leo Zhong, a 32 year old educator from Tainan, a southern city. Many worry our economy is becoming too dependent on China.
Mainstream public opinion felt all President Ma and the Nationalist Party (KMT) have produced was food industry scandals and a lackluster economy. Moreover, Ma has only been successful at materializing cross-strait relations with China by signing 21 trade agreements with Beijing.
The election results in Taiwan have repercussions for China's hopes that island will consider becoming part of China again. And for U.S. is a signal for a good opportunity to establish stronger relations with the Taiwanese nation. However, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told AP the United States continues to support a constructive dialogue between both Asian countries.
A  top Chinese official on Saturday night urged people in Taiwan to protect those gains.
"We hope compatriots across the Strait will cherish hard-won fruits of cross-strait relations, and jointly safeguard and continue to push forward peaceful development of cross-strait relations," said Ma Xiao Guang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.
Despite the closer relationship between China and Taiwan with the KMT  leadership in recent years, that progress is likely to stall, as President Ma tries to forge a good legacy his last two years in office. Beijing leaders have claimed for more than 60 years Taiwan is a province of China, while the democratic island's citizens assert its independence from the authoritarian one-party nation.
Chinese President Xi Jin Ping has offered to replicate the one country, two systems model that exists in Hong Kong, but the ongoing pro-democracy protests in the former British colony have painted a negative picture to Taiwan's 23 million people. They don't want the prospect of losing their democratic way of life if the former Japanese colony ever accepted such agreement with the Chinese government.
It's too complicated to even try to make Taiwan part of China again because we're not really Chinese, said Bob Yang, a young college graduate from Taipei. We are Taiwanese, mixed generations of Japanese, Chinese, Southeast Asians  and aboriginals.

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