Archives for posts with tag: taiwan

I haven’t blogged in a long time, but since Google+ doesn’t seem to have too wide an audience, maybe I’ll write more stuff here.

I went to Taiwan a few weeks ago and was surprised, once again, how un-Chinese it is in so many ways.  I’ve been reading some more stuff about Asia and politics in general (recommend “The Dictator’s Handbook”, if you have a chance) and started thinking more about the crazy and often times illogical approach the US has taken towards China, and specifically the Republic of China (ROC).  I wanted to lay out the history as I see it.  I’ll do it in 3 posts, 1 about the mainland days of the ROC, 1 for Taiwan days of the ROC, and 1 for recommendations on how both the US and Taiwan can improve their relations.  Yes, I’m a complete nerd.

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Taiwan just wrapped up its municipal elections for city councilors and mayors in all the “tier 2” counties across the island. Tier 1 cities – Taipei, Xinbei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Tainan – have their municipal elections next year. Mayors and councilors serve four year terms.

Much like the American midterm elections, municipal elections are believed to represent how people feel towards the president’s policies. President Ma Ying-jeou was elected in 2008 with a huge majority in almost ever city and immediately set out on a crusade to improve relations with mainland China. Postal links have been restored, and now you can take a flight directly from Taiwan to mainland China. Ma wants to take the relationship even further, proposing a free trade agreement between the two territories. Though not official, Ma hinted at his desire to meet directly with Chinese president Hu Jintao within the next few years. This would be the first time in over 60 years that the leaders of the Chinese Communists and the Chinese Kuomintang would meet each other. The political implications are HUGE.

So indirectly, you could look at the municipal elections as a referendum on “Do we really want to be friends with China?” The Taiwanese response: “I guess?” The election ended with the Kuomintang losing the mayorships of Hualian and Yilan counties.  Hualian was lost to independent Fu Kun-chi, a former KMTer that got booted from the party after being found guilty of insider trading.  Yilan county went to a DPP member, though this is the 4th time a DPP member won the post in 5 elections. Not exactly a KMT friendly location, although they did support Ma for the presidency in 2008. The KMT held its other 11 counties, and DPP now controls 4.  In total, the KMT won 298 municipal seats to the DPP’s 128.

To me, this is the kind of result I’m expecting in the US 2010 midterms. Voters are saying “we don’t like the guys in charge, but the opposition is even worse.” Not exactly glowing praise, but you take what you can get. Although anything can happen between now and 2012, Ma is looking at a pretty easy reelection so far, and will probably maintain his legislative majority.  China is very happy with these results, no doubt.

Full election results here: http://vote2009.chinatimes.com/people/people.aspx

tw-map

The third “China” on the list is what is now referred to as Taiwan. Although the legal name of the territory is the “Republic of China,” “Taiwan” will be used for clarity’s sake in this article.

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