The Student News Site of Taipei American School




How the Hong Kong protests shaped the 2020 Taiwanese election and Taiwan’s future relationship with China


Taiwan’s long awaited election resulted in a decisive victory for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday evening (Jan.11), against Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang (KMT) and James Soong from the People First Party (PFP). This will be Tsai’s second presidential term. 
Tsai won 8.17 million votes (57.1%) while her main competitor, Han, received 5.52 million votes (38.6%) and Soong 608,590 votes (4.3%). 
In her victory speech, Tsai’s message was loud and clear: Taiwan will continue defending its sovereignty in spite of China’s increasing pressures for a “one country, two systems” policy in Taiwan. 
I hope that the Beijing authorities understand that democratic Taiwan, and our democratically-elected government, will not concede to threats and intimidation,” she said. “Positive cross-strait interactions founded in mutual respect are the best way to serve our peoples. The results of this election have made that answer crystal clear.”
Tsai ultimately listed four conditions-peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue-that would help maintain peaceful and stable cross-strait relations. 
‘Peace’ means that China must abandon threats of force against Taiwan. ‘Parity’ means that neither side of the Taiwan Strait should deny the fact of the other’s existence. ‘Democracy’ means that the future of Taiwan must be decided by our country’s 23 million people. ‘Dialogue’ means that we must be able to sit down and discuss the future development of cross-strait relations,” she said. 
Despite making history as Taiwan’s first female president in 2016, her first term came with major ups and downs. In the 2018 midterm election, she had to resign as DPP chairperson after suffering major defeats in Kaohsiung and Taichung. She lost many supporters and her re-election seemed completely unlikely –until the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong began. 
It was clear that this year’s election reflected strong anti-Beijing sentiment among citizens themselves; many were driven by fear. 
“Like in Hong Kong, China wants a ‘one country, two systems’ policy implemented in Taiwan. However, with everything happening and the crackdown of anti-government protesters, it is clear that this policy isn’t working anymore,” Hu Yen-Chen, a 46 year old from Taipei, said. “Taiwanese citizens have recognized this, and their support now stands with the DPP instead of the KMT. They fear that Taiwan will become the next Hong Kong.”
Some citizens-worried about Taiwan’s future-even returned from overseas to vote for this election. 
“I was coming back at the end of January to celebrate the new year with my family,” Eric Chuang, a 28 year old who resides in San Francisco, California said. “However, I decided to fly home earlier in order to vote in this election. This election [was] probably one of the most-if not the most- important election in the history of Taiwan; it will definitely shape Taiwan’s future relationship with China.”

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