Sunday, January 12, 2020

Taiwan not only rejected China tonight, it rejected populism and demagoguery - and the world should take note

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Yes, historic. It's historic because Tsai not only increased her tally (something previous incumbents have not done), but also netted a record number of total votes for any candidate in the history of Taiwanese elections. And historic because this is the first time the DPP has re-elected a majority in the legislature along with an incumbent presidential candidate.

But there is something else I hope the world will start saying: 



Also, can we please stop calling it "Chinese democracy" or "Confucian/Chinese/whatever values and democracy can mix" (both tweets I've seen tonight) and realize that the results clearly show a desire for the world to see that Taiwan doesn't see itself as Chinese, Taiwanese voters feel an affinity for their unique, Taiwanese culture, and maybe it's time the world listened.

In fact, while China did play a role, can this result please put the world on notice that Taiwan wants to be taken seriously on its own terms, as Taiwan, and media reporting about Taiwan should respect that and stop framing it always, always, always in terms of China? Taiwan is its own thing - its own place with its own culture and history - and that merits respect.

Finally, this election shows that the various causes and pushes for progressive values in Asia - Taiwan independence, marriage equality, Hong Kong self-determination - are all intertwined. You can see that simply by observing the people present outside DPP headquarters tonight. This is why liberals around the world should take note of Taiwan, and support it as they do Hong Kong. It's a different angle of the same fight.

That's really all I wanted to say. I hope the international media picks up on this idea and frames it as "Taiwan shows a better way, Taiwan shows we can defeat populism, divisiveness and disinformation. Taiwan shows that Trump-like figures do not always win."

Who wants to write that story?

Anyway, here are some photos. I'm off to the Maldives tomorrow so that's all you get from me. 







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4 comments:

Jaime said...

Also rejected: interference by a determined hostile totalitarian state. Amazing!

Red Fox said...

Completely off topic, but what is the flight route to Maldives and how much does it cost? I'd love to go USA --> Taiwan --> Maldives at some point, but don't know the logistics of it.

Back on topic: We staved off populism this time, but I think we got lucky. I don't think it was so much a repudiation of populism as it was that Han was a BAD populist, an inept one. A cunning one could have eaten Tsai's lunch.

Jenna Cody said...

We flew on EVA and Hong Kong Airlines via Hong Kong to Male one way. I don't remember the exact cost, maybe US$200 per person? Round trip would obviously be more. We got a particularly good deal by leaving well before Lunar New Year.

We flew from there to Hyderabad via Mumbai on IndiGo (Mumbai international --> domestic connections NOT recommended, I won't do that again) and traveled around India for awhile, returning to Taiwan from Chennai via Bangkok on Thai.

The whole multi-leg ticket cost about US$700/pp with the Chennai-Taipei flight I think costing the most. But we only scored it by buying each flight individually, there's no algorithm in the world that'd deliver that price on a multi-leg open-jaw ticket on its own.

Jenna Cody said...

BTW I don't think a cunning populist could have defeated an incumbent Tsai all things considered. Not just for international affairs reasons, but Tsai really stepped up her PR game, and Taiwan tends to re-elect incumbents.

I do think a smarter one could win an election without an incumbent. In fact, Chen Shui-bian was basically a kind of populist, though he did a bit better on actual governance than a typical populist.