Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen Announces Victory in Presidential Vote

Wang Liqiang

Wang Liqiang

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen won a second term in the island's presidential election by a margin of around 20 percent against her main opponent, after roughly 14.3 million locals cast their vote on January 11.

Tsai's margin of victory - she garnered more than 57% of the popular vote - marked a stunning turnaround.

"Today I want to once again remind the Beijing authorities that peace, parity, democracy and dialogue are the keys to stability", Tsai said. "I did not work hard enough and failed everyone's expectations", he said.

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said that China would firmly protect its territorial integrity and opposes any separatist schemes and Taiwan independence, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Tsai responded by saying that Taiwan's 23 million people - who are ruled under the KMT-founded 1911 Republic of China that fled to the island in 1949 after losing the civil war - have no wish to give up their sovereignty.

"Taiwan's DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen is expected to sweep a landslide victory in elections, and analysts from Chinese mainland forecast more obstacles in cross-Straits relations after her reelection, leading to some calling for a firm preparation for reunification", Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times tweeted, just minutes after Tsai officially declared victory.

Lucy Huang, a trading company owner in her late 30s, was at the rally with friends who she said carried American flags at DPP rallies across the island.

While the city's leader Carrie Lam eventually withdrew hated legal amendments that would have allowed extradition to mainland China, protesters now say all five demands, including an end to the description of protesters as "rioters" must be met before they will stand down.

Ying Yu Lin, an assistant professor at National Taiwan Chung Cheng University, said that China has lately become increasingly focused on information warfare and thought control. Taiwan's voters have "shown that when our sovereignty and democracy are threatened, the Taiwan people will shout our determination even more loudly". Overall, the number of countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan dropped from 22 in 2016 to 15 now.

Voters have also cast their ballots in the legislative elections, in which 113 lawmakers - both regional and legislators-at-large - will be elected from dozens of political parties or as independents. Supporters rallied at the DPP headquarters as results came in.

Tsai beat her main opponent Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang party, which favors close ties with China, by more than 2.6 million votes.

Many have described the election as a generational standoff, with older voters supporting Han and the KMT's policies of closer economic ties with China.

Tsai was swift to rebuff that suggestion-a decision vindicated by the tear gas and rubber bullets that have since engulfed the banking and trading entrepôt, boosting her popularity especially amongst younger Taiwanese.

I hope this election result sends China a clear message and that they will understand what Taiwan's people want.

Voters in the world's only Chinese-speaking democracy faced pressure to pick sides in a global power struggle between the U.S. and China. Many overseas Taiwanese flew back to the island to cast their votes.

"It is also related to Xi Jinping's handling of the situation in Hong Kong, because the Taiwanese people have seen the failure of one-country, two-systems in Hong Kong", Wang said. Everyone in Taiwan knows that your phone is not secure. Soong, 77, says maintaining the status quo is the best approach until China is "fully democratized".

"This election is a battle between truth and evil".

"I think the same-sex marriage [policy] is the main point why we made a decision to vote", she also said of Taiwanese young people.

Still, some supporters of independence believe Tsai and her party have not gone far enough.

The legal status of Hong Kong as part of China differs greatly from Taiwan's de facto independence, but Taiwanese see in Hong Kong a potentially dark vision of their own future given Beijing's goal of extending the "one country, two systems" model to Taiwan - a model almost 80% of the Taiwanese public rejects, according to a government survey in March.

Two years ago, Ms Tsai's party lost the local elections, but she is now ahead in the polls - which some observers attribute to the Hong Kong protests.

Han voted in Kaohsiung, where he is mayor.

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