Tsai Ing-wen, the President of the Republic of China (R.O.C), commonly known as Taiwan, won her reelection by a landslide on Jan 11th, 2020. Obtaining more than 8 million votes, Tsai became the president who won the most amount of the popular vote since 1996 when the Taiwanese directly elected their president for the first time. Tsai’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also maintained its majority in the Legislative Yuan (the Congress).
The triumph of Tsai and her pro Taiwan-independence DPP was a massive slap in the face to Beijing, who claimed that Tsai’s government was corrupt and unpopular and implicitly supported the more pro-China Kuomintang (KMT) and its presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu. It’s relatively rare that a President can obtain more votes in his or her reelection compared to the first election in a competitive democracy. The voters of Taiwan have sent out a strong and clear message to Communist China and the world: they completely reject what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) proposed as the “One Country Two Systems” policy and they fear the aggression from the authoritarian CCP government
There has been a complicated relationship between China and Taiwan in the past seven decades. In 1949, the R.O.C government under the KMT, which has ruled the entire territory of China (including Taiwan) for three decades, retreated to Taiwan and the CCP declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C) in Beijing during the same year. After the P.R.C substituted the R.O.C as the sole legitimate representative of China to the United Nations in 1971, the P.R.C has declared the “One China Principle” as its bottom line when dealing with diplomatic affairs in the world.
The “One China Principle” shows the arrogance and ignorance of the CCP government and its counterproductive to its goal of reunification with Taiwan. Taiwan is excluded from the majority of international organizations due to the objection of China, which considers it a Chinese province with no right to participate in international organizations as a separate entity. There have been three cases of the deadly Wuhan Coronavirus reported from Taiwan recently but the R.O.C government is unable to participate in an emergency WHO meeting about the new virus. The exclusion of Taiwan in crucial organizations such as the WHO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) could prevent it from obtaining first-hand information on diseases control and travel safety and therefore putting the life of 23 million Taiwanese people and Taiwan’s public safety at risk. Additionally, China has sent its aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait and conducted multiple military exercises in the South China Sea, to both show off its military power and deter Taiwan. The CCP’s intimidation and suppression of Taiwan’s sovereignty, which are primarily derived from the “One China Policy” will only make the Taiwanese, especially those younger generations that were born and raised in Taiwan, develop more hostility toward mainland China and a stronger identification as Taiwanese.
Beijing should start to alleviate its suppression and allow Taiwan to join more and more international organizations as a sovereign political entity. Beijing should also acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China as a sovereign nation in Taiwan. This is a historical fact. Beijing is acting like an immature bully by self-deception and claims that the territory not under CCP’s control as part of its “territory.”
Just to be clear, I’m not advocating for Taiwanese independence since it’s already part of a sovereign state of the Republic of China as defined in its own constitution. People from both mainland China and Taiwan share the same ancestry and culture. Taiwan, to a certain extent, represents a better version of China: A China that is democratic, more diverse, and more inclusive. I am reminding Beijing to learn the lessons from Hong Kong and Taiwan, that first, it’s impossible to have a democratic system within an authoritarian regime, and second, the more the CCP suppress and intimidate, the stronger the people, who are committed to democracy and freedom, will react against its will.
The author of this piece expressed to the Tripod the need to publish anonymously due to fear of retaliation from the Chinese government