March 20 Taiwan Election

Take a look at this TV Comercial from Taiwan: TW_320.WMV (1M in size).

What is your comment?

I was shocked when I see this. I begin to realized my previous perspective of the strait issue is not complete.

21 thoughts on “March 20 Taiwan Election

  1. This commercial is a joke. And the Referendum in Taiwan is a joke. Yeah, let’s all vote. Taiwan can vote to its hearts content and see how many missiles mainland will remove from their launch pads. And south koreans can all vote to ask north korea to stop its nuclear program and reunite with the south. The iranians can all vote to request America withraw from Iraq. The russians can all vote to demand the americans destroy all their nukes. Wouldn’t it be much happier world if voting alone can solve all the conflicts in the world?

    Grow up, Taiwan!

  2. I believe a friendly Taiwan (as either an independent republic or a province) is better than a rebellious Tibet (as an “autonomous region) for the people of regions concerned. Jianshuo, though we may not agree on this issue, it’s nice to note you are collecting info and viewing a subject from different angles.

  3. Being very close to both Taiwan and China I see this as political grand standing. This is a commercial from the Green party which the current leader Chen is from. Like the Democrat party (Senator Kerry, President Clinton and Carter) in the US they try to appeal to emotions versus the mind. This appeals to the uneducated or the young who tend not to think of the consequences of their action. As you know Chen ran on the platform on independence then quickly backed down. It’s election time and they are trying to get support again. Since they have very different views on various issues they can only be general and appeal to the emotions.

    The Blue party is very conservative and is hoping for election to normalize relations again. This tends to be business owners and the educated. Like the Republican (Presidents Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, Nixon) party in the US they are smaller but better funded and more focused. With 1,500,000 Taiwanese business men living in China the vast majority are Blue Party.

    Regardless of the outcome don’t expect major changes in Taiwan’s movement toward normalizing relations.

  4. There are direct flights between mainland and most of other countries, but you still have to fly between Shanghai and Taiwan via Hongkong, which seems quite weired and ridiculous.

    Business interest of both the airlines and those frequent flyers between mainland and Taiwan sacrifices for the damn politic concern.

    Personally, I think, the taiwan govt. wants independence more than its people.

  5. Just came back from Taiwan, It is quite an experience before the election. Bob had pretty good summarization of the two parties. Here are some additional observations:

    1. Most people I met are very emotional and sincere about their own choice.

    2. Most of the TV commercial and Talk show will be classified (in U.S) as negative campaign on steroid.

    3. Even the poll shows very close race, it seems that nobody believes that. The conspiracy theory is very popular over there.

    It is easy to make fun of almost “circus?like atmosphere in Taiwan, however, I think it is part of the growing pain to becoming democratic society both culturally and politically. At the end of day, the people did make the choice and every vote did count.

  6. I have to admit I know very little about Taiwan. I am afraid the more I claim I know about the Taiwan issue, the more likely I didn’t see the truth.

  7. I don’t see anything wrong with that commercial. What’s wrong with pointing out the obvious truth? It is also funny that certain people talk about “not knowing the consequences of your action” I mean since when did appeasement ever worked at stoping aggressive nationalist countries ruled by dictators? Maybe you should consider the consiquences of your INACTION.

    Oh and another thing about the so-called “educated business owners”, since when did they really care about anything other than their profits?

    Good Luck with your childish reasoning.

  8. If a school bully came up to you and threatened to take your books and toys away: what would you do?

    A) obey their commands

    B) stand up for your rights

    If you chose A, the bully will get to you again in the future. If you stand up for your rights, you are defining your territory and standing up to unreasonable requests.

    Why any Taiwanese would want to unify with China is a puzzle to me. That’s saying to the bully- “hey, keep on bullying me, in fact I will join your camp!”.

    Historical perspective

    China SECEDED Taiwan to Japan. Meaning Taiwan was effectively Japanese territory Taiwan was NOT leased to Japan. Hence when the Japanese left, Taiwan was on its own- that is, INDEPENDENT! Hong Kong was “leased” to Great Britain, therefore, HK was to be returned when the lease was up!

    By the way, Bob, I am a medical doctor, and I vote to say no to reunification, and I vote for defining Taiwan’s role as and independent nation. There is no middle ground.

  9. It doesn’t matter who ceded what to whom. Every individual and country has the right to self-determination and democracy. If Taiwan wants to be independent, it has that right. If Hong Kong wishes to be independent, it has that right. Freedom and democracy can not be constrained by “historical claims” or treaties or supposed cultural identity. The right to self-determination trumps all other claims at all times. Taiwan has the right to determine its own future.

  10. I definitely agree about freedom of choice. But our world doesn’t always work perfectly when everyone has everything their way – does it? Sometimes we have to compromise. Look at Scotland, Whales of the UK? If they had remained independent, whos to say there may not have been more wars, leading to cycles of violence? A compromise was reached that benefitted everyone. In Hong Kong, and Macau, a compromise was reached.

    All I’m saying is every situation is different. I don’t think stating independence, when virtually already independent, just to start a bonfire, is needed right now. The losers won’t be China, nor the U.S., nor anyone else, so much as the people of Taiwan, who will suffer under the instability of being the so-called ‘battleground’ between ideologies of China and the U.S., or whatever. If they state independence, they may perhaps become locked in a direction they can’t deviate from or work to compromise in the future, even when China is a friendly green giant to everyone else.

  11. Taiwan’s President Shot

    TVBS:總統車隊台å-掃è¡?傳出意å¤- Asahi:台湾の陳水扁総統、銃撃ão れ?負傷総統選の遊説ä¸?BBC:Taiwan’s President Chen wounded CNN:Taiwan’s President Chen shot Der Spiegel:Attentat auf Taiwans Präside…

  12. isnt it sad that one issue alone decides the future of 23 million people in taiwan? does it really matter that i call myself taiwanese, chinese, or both? the pitall of the so called democracy in taiwan as i see it, is that it really does not matter with policy, corruption, simple logic, peoples warefare, economy, integrity, or even legality and morality, but what truly matters is whether you can divide the people on their perceived identity to gain power, even if (not saying if he actually did) you have to stage an assasination.

  13. It is funny how people try to pretend like they know something just to seem smart. I suggest that next time one will gain at least some understanding of the situation before they post. What you guys are trying to say is if people born in taiwan do not stand up to the “bully” (china) they are pussies. However, i bet you did not know that many of the people born in taiwan consider themselves to be chinese and do not want to become a seperate country. The pro-independence (green) party consists of native taiwanese who hate the chinese who originally came to taiwan after being driven off the mainland by the communists. therefore, they are using the issue of independence to sway and rally their party members who are not particularly well educated. the nationalist or kmt is the well educated taiwanese of chinese decend, and they are the ones that are responsible for developing taiwan’s economy into one of the economic “tigers” of the pacific. the only issue regarding pro independence is is that it is created by the green party in yet another attempt to sway the populus to their side. by the way, did anyone hear about that ridiculus assassination claim made by chen? supposidly the bullet went through the front windshield and struck him “sideways” across the abdomin causing a minor scratch… sounds pretty fishy since most bulliets do not turn 180 degrees

  14. It is extremely hard to stage an assasination which only caused superficial wounds? If the bullet missed by just a little bit, major organs would be damaged. The vehicle was moving, the president was waving, there were supporters who were moving too. So many variables! I would say that it was easier to kill him and to cause a minor wound.

    By the way, how do you know that the bullet turned 180 degrees?

    PS. In response to claims that the people who run the Green Party being “uneducated”, Annette Lu has a law degree and also masters from Harvard.


  15. 調查319槍擊事件進入第四天,刑事警察局今天在台南市警局召開記者會表示,事發地點確定在金華路高島健康生活館,歹徒一人身高約170公分左右,使用小手槍在147公分的高度,第一槍在右前52度方向射破車窗玻璃,打到呂秀蓮(新聞、網站),第二槍直射到陳水扁(新聞、網站)。




  16. 320總統大選結束至今,由連宋主導的群眾抗議事件仍在總統府前繼續,,這是連宋利用「選舉無效之訴」,進行一場不讓中生代接班的鬥爭,也是連宋藉故推卸總統敗選的下台責任,親民黨立委借機壯大聲勢,以發展親民黨政治實力和版圖的陰謀作為。連宋主導的這場醜陋政爭根本不合法、不合理、不正當,乃國人皆知。幾天來政爭群眾大會出現的訴求荒謬無稽,可笑十分,也是眾所皆知。如他們的主要訴求中,認為因為廢票過多,所以是政府作票,認為槍擊案是扁陣營「自導自演」,為勝選而操作。他們故意忽略掉也和他們具有盟友關係的廢票聯盟選前呼籲全民投廢票,他們自己主導的國會訂定嚴格的正副總統選罷法,方才導致廢票增加;他們質疑阿扁總統槍傷,說是欺騙,要求驗傷,現在彈道比對、總統就醫照片都已公開,他們還是振振有詞,違背常識。這就可見連宋主導的群眾大會,目的不在計較選票多寡,而是想維護敗選後繼續掌權的權力,壓制國民黨中生代出頭,順便也讓阿扁總統必須面對一個族群遭到撕裂、經濟遭到重創、社會和諧受到傷害的國家。


  17. Taiwan: Recounts, fights, shredded democracy

    By Laurence Eyton

    TAIPEI – Taiwan is suffering its gravest political crisis in 25 years and on Tuesday three days after the disputed presidential election, this capital city was all but paralyzed by supporters of the losing side, protesting alleged irregularities in voting and demanding a recount. Both sides, while agreeing in principle on a recount, are wrangling over how to organize it, how long it will take and who will do it. Nobody knows. The law is silent: there has never been a national recount.

    In a sign of how the situation has deteriorated, a fist fight broke out in the legislature Tuesday after President Chen Shui-bian, narrowly reelected Saturday, asked his governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to introduce a revision to the election laws providing for recount. His proposed amendment would apply retroactively to his own case and would mandate a recount if the margin of victory was less than 1 percent.

    Chen, who was shot in an apparent assassination attempt last Friday, the day before voting, was reelected by a margin of 0.228 percent over his challenger, Lien Chan of the opposition alliance of the Kuomintang (KMT) and People First Party (PFP), known as the pan-blues (from the color of the KMT emblem). The outcome was immediately rejected by the pan-blue losers. After small riots in two cities Saturday night and island-wide protests, Taipei is still in near paralysis.

    Depending on where one stands in Taiwan’s political spectrum – either with Chen’s DPP and its allies, the so-called pan-greens (after the color associated with Taiwan independence) or the pan-blues – what is happening is either a party that failed at the ballot box attempting to organize a “people power”-style coup d’etat, or a party cheated at the ballot box demanding justice.

    However this fracas is eventually resolved, and only now is it becoming clear how it might be, Taiwan’s reputation as a model democracy has been shredded. This has major regional implications since it allows anti-democrats in Hong Kong to inveigh against its territories moving toward the entirely elected legislature that it is allowed under the basic law from 2007.

    Setback to democratic tendencies in China

    It also deals a major setback to vaguer hopes of democratizing tendencies in China itself, allowing leaders comfortable with authoritarianism to exploit traditional Chinese fears of social chaos as a reason for avoiding political change.

    All this is rather beside the point in Taiwan itself however. Here the focus is on finding a solution to the current crisis that prevents it from spiraling into something much, much worse – ethnic violence or even civil war.

    The fist fight on the floor of the legislature appeared to be a ruse by the pan-blues to force the president into dropping the idea of a revision to the law and instead declaring a “state of emergency” – which to all intents and purposes means martial law – and using the huge powers such a declaration would give him to order a recount on his own initiative. The DPP on Tuesday evening was mulling how to handle this challenge. It sees the pan-blue proposal as hugely damaging to the idea of democracy. The irony is that pan-blues governed under a state of emergency for 38 years in Taiwan’s less democratic days.

    The DPP is keen to get a recount under way, it says, since it has little to fear from the result. Whatever the result, Chen said at a Tuesday midday news conference, the DPP will abide by the result. But could the pan-blues give the same guarantee? As of Tuesday evening, there was no pan-blue response.

    Talk of deepening crisis, ethnic violence or even civil war is not hyperbole. The fact that the situation has not turned seriously violent since Saturday night is largely because of the low-key attitude of the government. But as the pan-blue protests continue, the pan-greens are wondering whether they have to mobilize to protect their victory. “We are waiting for someone to give the word,” one female DPP supporter told me Tuesday night. “My father and my brother are waiting for the word.”

    How responsible are the pan-blues?

    Much depends on how responsible the pan-blues are. So far the evidence is ominous. Pan-blue demands have shown a lack of logic and the behavior of the pan-blue leaders has been incendiary. Their problem is that they have whipped up supporters to a fever pitch of indignation, promising that they will not stop their protests until their demands are met – while the machinery for meeting those demands in accordance with the law and the constitution is rather slow, and in some areas totally untested.

    This means that they either hope to force the government to put aside parts of the election law to deal with the case speedily, which the greens and even dovish blues – there are some – see as a victory for mob rule. Or else they will have to tell their supporters to disperse on the basis of promises from a government they have spent the last 72 hours telling their supporters they cannot, under any circumstances, trust.

    The pan-blues make claims not all of which are consistent either with the law or with each other, including:

    That Friday’s assassination attempt might have been staged to win a sympathy vote for the president and it was not right for the election to go ahead until all the details of the affair were known. Because of this they argue the election should be annulled.

    That the margin of the pan-green victory – 30,000 votes out of 12.9 million cast – was so small that the votes should be recounted.

    That the number of spoiled ballots at 310,000 was unusually high compared with past elections, and the ballots should be inspected and the votes recounted.

    That the government raised the national security alert level after the president’s shooting Friday, thereby unfairly preventing some 200,000 troops from voting. The election should be annulled and authorities should order a new vote in which the troops are allowed to vote.

    That polling stations were badly run and the vote-counting systematically flawed, and for these reasons the election should be annulled and another one called.

    Contradiction between recount and annulment

    There is obviously a contradiction between wanting a recount of the ballots and wanting an election annulled – though pan-greens predictably claim the pan-blues will try to get the election annulled if a recount does not go their way. Confusingly, the pan-blues have launched legal action to bring about both eventualities.

    In a meeting with foreign journalists Monday night, Lien Chan, KMT chairman and the pan-blues presidential candidate, seemed to imply that a recount of the ballot would suffice for the pan-blues to concede the election if necessary. But it appeared at the conference that neither he nor his running mate James Soong, chairman of the PFP, had actually given thought to the contradictory nature of their demands.

    Taiwan’s election laws do have ways in which the pan-blues’ grievances might be addressed. But some of the complaints are simple non-starters. For example, an election cannot be canceled, even after an assassination attempt, unless the president is killed. So Chen’s injury – he had a deep flesh wound in his stomach – did not constitute legal grounds for halting the voting Saturday. To have done what the pan-blues now suggest should have been done – and it is noteworthy that they made no suggestion of suspending polling before the election – was illegal.

    Some pan-blues likened Chen to Hitler, Saddam

    As to the idea that the attack was staged, that some people would think that Taiwan’s president had himself shot in the stomach to win an election is comment more on the irrationality whipped up by the hysterical pan-blue election campaign – which likened Chen to Hitler and produced posters saying that Osama bin Laden approved his action and that his call for a referendum was a tactic he copied from Saddam Hussein. Former soldiers have pointed out that “shooting to injure” in the stomach doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

    The complaint that 200,000 service personnel were unable to vote was a canard laid to rest Monday by the Ministry of National Defense. The heightened security status after the assassination did not affect troop deployment and only some 13,000 troops were unable to vote as a result if having to be in a state of combat readiness, which is standard procedure during a national election. Furthermore, even if the election were to be annulled and another one called, under Taiwan’s laws (and all these laws were passed by the KMT when it was in office) only those who voted in the first election could vote in the second. So the troops still could not vote and pan-blue demands that they should be allowed to do so are basically demands for the government to set aside aspects of the election law that one of the contenders deems inconvenient.

    The pan-blues are on firmer ground when it comes to irregularities with the voting. But there are a number of problems for the pan-blues that might well deny them the overturning of the election result they seek.

    First there is simply no evidence of widespread tampering with the ballot. Taiwan’s vote counting procedure is one of the most transparent in the world. Ballot boxes are opened in public. Ballots are withdrawn one by one and shown to the observers. The vote is read out and then credited to whichever side it supports. The openness and generally consensus nature of the counting – observers can protest if they see mistakes being made – means there is very little room for error.

    Systemic fraud by DPP implausible

    Secondly, the charge that has been widely believed by gullible visiting journalists, that the balloting and counting process was in the hands of the DPP and therefore liable to manipulation, is nonsense. The balloting and counting is carried out by local governments, usually using the help, on election day, of teachers from the schools which are usually where polling stations are situated. The majority of these local authorities are pan-blue controlled. A large number of local government workers are KMT members and, because of martial law-era discrimination against hiring native Taiwanese, a very large proportion of teachers are mainlanders and hard-line pan-blue supporters. The idea that there was systemic fraud by the DPP within such a system is highly implausible.

    As for the high number of invalid ballots, Lee Tseng-tsai, secretary-general of the Kinmen County Election Commission, told Taiwan’s Central News Agency that he thought the comparatively high ratio resulted from changes in the election laws passed by the pan-blue dominated legislature last October. The changes significantly tightened the criteria for ballot validity. In the past a ballot was valid if the ink stamp used to vote was placed not just in the appropriate box but also either on the number of the candidate or his picture. The idea was that if an intention to vote for a particular candidate was clear the vote would be counted. The reformed law made only ballots stamped in the proper box meant for the stamp would be considered valid. The March 20 election was the first under which this system had been used.

    On top of the new stringency in voting procedures was also the action of a group of activists the Million Invalid Ballot Alliance, which was encouraging people to spoil their ballots as a protest against what they called “an unfair political system”.

    In theory what happens now should now be up to the courts. The pan-blues have filed their suits against the Central Election Commission. It should now be up to the courts to decide if there is a case to answer, hear evidence and make a judgment whether to annul the election in whole or in part or whether to order a recount, once again in whole or in part.

    The Central Election Commission cannot administer the recount since it is the defendant in the pan-blue’s legal suits. Yet the courts have neither the election-related expertise nor perhaps even the manpower to administer a recount. Each ballot will have to be counted in front of a judge or judges and a panel of observers. Some estimates say that 3,000 judges will be needed. The head of the Taoyuan County local government Chu Li-lun, himself a KMT member, estimates that in his county at least, given the facilities available, a recount would take a month. And the method he envisioned, delegating it to the county election authorities supervised by officers of the High Court, is far speedier than the pan-blues’ preferred method – to have everything recounted by the High Court centrally in Taipei.

    This story will not be over soon.

    (Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

  18. Taiwan is an independent state and the people have the right as guaranteed under the constitution to participate in referenda!

  19. Taiwan is a free and independent country just as much as you wish China is a country on its own feets (for people who don’t know, Taiwanese KMT was in charge of both Chinas until the mainland shut itself out, therefore making taiwan the FATHER of both..but anyway, that’s history)

    And dont anyone mention Tibet which is another country raped by China. This place which we call Tibet 9and which china renamed to Xi Zang) has its own monarch, leaders, race/ identity, language and belief)…all forcibly repressed by the chinese government…Free it…bandits…you are a thief!!

    Last but not least, the same thing goes for Inner mongolia, as the name suggest..this is Mongolia and you have no rights to take their land and rob their people of their racial identity…

    THIEF and RAPIST u chinese

  20. hey…come on. maybe we can only see the bad part of all the present. You know why China became this way? They were victims of war long before you know. They ate nothing but roots and dirt. Blame the Japanese for their failure and blame China for becoming so damn proud of themselves. There is no reason for anyone to be attacking China for their insolence. Only those who live in China can do so. Because i’m Taiwanese i’ll never forget the time when China sold us to the Japanese and firt driven us out of China. I can only say that Chinese presidents are like the American one. Liers, cheats, and victims. Victims of their own country and rules. They can only hope for an early death so they don’t get killed by their own citizens.

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