Taiwan: Voices after Presidential Election

March 22 is Taiwan's presidential election held once every four years. The victory finally is belonging to KMT's Ma Ying-jeou, who got 60 percent of votes and 2 million votes than the other candidate, Frank Hsieh from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). KMT lost its dominant political power since DPP became the ruling party eight years ago. Now they are back and complete the second-round transition of political power. After the election, in addition to the brief reports written by Taiwan and international press about the election result, bloggers in Taiwan carry on the discussion and debate on democracy development, the performance of the two parties, and relationship between Taiwan and China. Now, let us have a look at some of their opinions:

2008 taiwan presidential election result

The photo is from http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidonformosa/2352525588/


How wrote a letter to his younger brother [zh]. In the letter, he described the generation differences among family members and how their experience affected their attitudes towards the two presidential candidates. After explaining the social and political context, he wish his brother can understand the coming of a new democratic era marked by the transition of political power form DDP to KMT. Jill0718 also felt that this election indicated Taiwan has reached a most civilized and democratic environment[zh] among Chinese communities. Even though the supporters’ candidate has lost, they were frustrated, they shed tears and complained in the phone on TV call-in programmes, on the second day, people were back to work and shopping as normal. MingWangX shed tears listening to Frank Hsie's remarks[zh] on his election failure:


This election is my personal failure, not Taiwan's failure. Don't cry for me. Let's gather our strength and continue to love Taiwan.

Annpo is very proud of Taiwan's success[zh] in democracy:

我 超級驕傲的啊,其實。老人家們可以毫無恐懼地談著他們的想法,可以輕鬆地面對選舉的結果,便可以感受到這個民主環境的正 向發展:包含一位非台灣出生的「外省人」在日漸本土化的現在還是被大多數選票接受,那麼,我們也可以期待未來台灣會出現「新台灣人」、「原住民」成為我們 的領導者,同時我們也可以開始省思:族群意識真的存在嗎?有必要嗎?我們也可以開始拒絕政客的分化、恐嚇與煽動。

Actually, I feel so proud. The elder generation can talk about their feelings without fear and they can face the result of the election with such a ease. I can feel that the democratic environment has been developing. This time a mainlander born outside Taiwan can be accepted by the majority who are identified with the local. In this vein, we can expect in the future, a “new Taiwanese” or “aborigine” becoming our leader. We can also start to reflect upon the existence of “ethnic consciousness”, whether such awareness is necessary. We can say no to the divide, threat and agitation created by politicians.

Subing saw the coming of media politics era[zh] in Taiwan. A touching speech or spectacular event can win more votes than substantial performance. An inappropriate speech could bring about a disastrous result. VincentChang pointed out that[zh] even though people have changed the political environment by their votes, making society from recession to improvement in the still heavily relies on people's watch, not just media.

Political Parties:

The pictures are always different for the winners and losers after the election. Although the KMT is very happy for their victory, bloggers have more expectation on them. Chet Baker asked KMT a series of questions[zh], to know how KMT will deal with these problems that DPP had faced in the past few years as ruling party:


「在中國強大的陰影下,一方面抵禦中國的利誘與威脅,一方面維持台灣的主體性及參與國際政治事務的空間」 「如何在採認中國學歷的情況下,維持台灣諸多大學的競爭力」


Finally KMT takes the political power back. Mr. Ma has accomplished the dream of being a complete politician with ruling power. Now we can examine if KMT can:
“Eliminating the tragedy of polarization between rich and poor under the nightmare of globalization.”
“Stopping the chaos in skyrocketing prices of raw materials under the rise of China.”
“In the shadow of a strong China, resisting temptations and threats from China on the one hand, and maintaining the mainstay of Taiwan and the space for participating international political affairs on the other.”
“Maintaining the competitiveness of universities in Taiwan after admitting the academic qualification from China.”
“Resisting temptations and pressure on cross-strait direct transport, and keep Taiwan's economic strength at the same time.”
“Letting Taiwan join the common market with China without dwarfing Taiwan's sovereignty”
“Making the Republic of China (ROC) on an equal footing with the People's Republic of China (PRC), and even return to the United Nations in name of ROC.”
“Establishing a completely clean government by the Prosecutor-independent prosecution system.”

Over the past eight years, KMT repeatedly attacked DPP with the above set of problems. Now I wait and see, and believe that many people wait and see, too.

Subing wrote a long “open letter for President-elect Ma[zh]”, hoping he can treat Taiwan and all people living on this land well, firmly sustain Taiwan's sovereignty, don't be seduced by the immediate short-term economic interests and sacrifice the long-term interests, implement transitional justice and realize social justice. Portnoy hoped that[zh] the new president has the courage to reflect, the strength to resist the coercion of authority, and the heart to be more tolerant on people and things.
In the next four years, you must be happy [zh], Ginciao doubted if Taiwan's economic problems would, as Mr. Ma said, be resolved soon after he become the president. Munch worries[zh] the victory of KMT will make those old-era-powers come back again after eight-years of hibernation.

In respond to the defeat of DDP, bloggers call for reflection and evaluation:

Tyc[zh] and SpinalCord[zh] criticized DDP for blaming others for its defeat rather than reflecting on its past. gaidhlig [zh] also agreed that DDP should have self-reflection and give up the strategy of “differentiation”, let everyone love Taiwan in their own voices.


“Differentiation”, only by giving up differentiation we can then see each other. Not only those vote for DDP love Taiwan, those who don't vote for DDP also love Taiwan. Taiwan belongs to everyone, we can love Taiwan with our own value.

noorman urged DDP to say goodbye to old politics[zh] and not to use deep green as its fundamental principle. Naoshi, in DDP disappointed Taiwanese[zh], also urged DDP to reflect upon its past 8 years performance as a ruling party. He suggested that the party should have a new generation of leaders. Timo criticized[zh] that DDP has turned Taiwan into a pure symbol for getting votes, now Taiwan is getting back its blood and flesh.

DDP's supporter phopicking evaluated the party's defeat[zh] and urged for internal reform rather than waiting for the future possible failure of KMT:

民進黨要認清楚,現在就是要一切歸零開始去想。要回到沒有資源只能全省走透透辦演講的民進黨,要想辦法靠論述,靠你的想法與行動去感動台灣人的心。 最重要的是,就不要想說要是國民黨做的爛個四年,他一定會做的很爛…這種心態去思考。 要是要用台灣人民生活的苦痛去換民進黨的成長,這一世人撿角啦。 我們可以好好監督馬英九所開出來的支票有沒有兌現,可是民進黨在思考策略時,必需放棄馬英九執政失敗所以會讓你們重起的這個想法。 我也希望跟我一樣支持綠軍的朋友,在發言時可以思考這一點的不同。

DDP has to recognized that everything has to be back into zero. We have to return to the old days when the party didn't have any resource. Our success demands on our talks all over the province. We have to think deep about our discourse, we have to touch people's heart by our action and thought. More importantly, we shouldn't wait and see the poor performance of KMT in the coming 4 years…. If the only way to make DPP improve is by making people in Taiwan suffer (from the poor performance of KMT), then we shall fail… We can monitor Ma Ying-jeou and check if he has failed his promise. However, DDP has to give up the thought that the failure of Ma Ying-jeou would be the revival of DDP. I hope that friends who support green army like me can consider such difference in strategy.

Relation with China:

During the election campaign, the greatest difference between two candidates was their attitude towards China and the future relation with China. Wandeln agreed[zh] that Ma Yingjeou would bring changes to the across-strait relation, however, whether such change would increase Taiwan's position in the international society is still unclear.

國際社會是現實的,也是短視的。馬英九接 受一中各表,在台灣喊中華民國不等於中華人民共和國,但是在國際上,就是只有一個 China一個已經由將近全世界 包括聯合國承認的China。沒有人有興趣瞭解ROC和PRC有什麼不一樣,除了台灣和「在與台灣談判時的中國」。關起門來和強盜進行談判,會有什麼後果?未來在國際上,恐怕也只有中國的「賞賜」之下,才有可能增加生存的空間。

The international society is very realistic and short sighted. Ma Yingjeou accepted the difference expressions of one China. “The Republic of China” is not equal to “The People's Republic of China” in Taiwan. However, in the international society , there is only one China being recognized by the whole world, including the United Nation. Nobody is interested to know what is the difference between ROC and PRC, except when Taiwan is negotiating with China. What will happen if we negotiate with the robber with a close door? In the future, I am afraid that only if China is kind enough to “give”, Taiwan can have more space in the international world.


In addition to the comments on election result, Taiwan bloggers also have other perspectives:

The election reminded Sun Qiong-Li of election songs in the past[zh], the bloggers then analyzed the background and elements of those songs.Phopicking and BillyPan want to hold a “warm” party for the netizens[zh] for the friends who support DPP so that they can comfort and cheer up each other.

BillyPan discovered that the rate of votes is very closed to the ratio google search results with the names of two candidates. He therefore concluded that google is an accurate predictor of voting result[zh].
PipperL recorded the progress of vote numbers reported by different press[zh], and discovered some interesting phenomena at different points of time. Yorkxin also performed a similar observation[zh]。

Yeanhan launched a ” nude-photos linking programme for the celebration of victory”[zh], and let netizens share their own nude photos for the celebration of victory. Katejane, who support DPP, also launched a similar programme[zh] in order to condole the defeat of DPP with nudity.

The author would like to thank GV chinese team and Oiwan for data collecting and translation.


  • […] In Taiwan, you post pictures of yourself naked when your party wins: […]

  • david

    It’s a great challenge for Mark to make a big change. I hope he will strengthen the overal Taiwan economy in the near future.

  • alicia

    hope Mark will make a big change.

  • The full translation of Subing’s “Open Letter to President Elect Ma Ying-jeou”:


    Dear President Elect Ma,

    First, I must admit that I’m not one of your fans. Although the day before being elected, you said on CNN that “Taiwan is a sovereign country”, you’ve also said that “the future of Taiwan is to be decided by the people of both sides of the Strait.” In the past you even issued a press release saying that Taiwanese should not carry our national flag to support our athletes in front of the PRC team. So, I’m not sure whether or not you will protect Taiwan’s sovereignty. In addition, I believe that developing a self-sustainable economic model is a much better approach and will serve Taiwan’s long term interest better than placing Taiwan’s economic future at the mercy of the PRC’s goodwill and its tourists. Finally, although you’ve apologized for the 228 Massacre many times, your party still refuse to change the name of legislation from “228 Compensation Act” to “228 Atonement Act” which implies that the KMT government admits the mistake and apologizes for it. For this reason, I am very doubtful about your recognition of the transitional justice and your intention to achieve it.
    Yet the outcome of the presidential election is clear, the majority of the Taiwanese people chose to believe you. Although I don’t understand their choice, I respect it. Although I am hurt, I do not hate. I toss and turn sleeplessly in bed, but I don’t think about going out in the streets to protest or to vent my emotions because for the 23 million people living in Taiwan, our common interest is more important than our mutual differences. We will suffer together if Taiwan is unstable.
    As a citizen, over the next four years not only will I not retreat but, as long as it’s in Taiwan’s interest, I will help. Like when President Lee Teng-hui was fighting for the democracy of Taiwan, although many people did not identify with the KMT, they would volunteer to help without thinking of their personal gains or setbacks.
    The future of Taiwan over the next four years is entirely in yours and the KMT’s hands. Absolute power means complete responsibility. Besides, in the next four years we pretty much lost all the power of check and balances. So we can only hope. Hope that you will treat Taiwan well. Protect its sovereignty. Do not just consider immediate, short-term economic advantages and sacrifice long-term interests. Achieve transitional justice and Practice social equality. I hope that you can prove my doubts about you were needless and wrong.
    As for Taiwan, my only motherland and home, the land of my children and grandchildren, no matter what I will do whatever it takes to protect you.

    God Bless Taiwan.

    Note: this is a collaborative translation. I made an original trans. and Subing replied with edits on 04/02.

  • […] March 31, 2008 titled as “Taiwan: Voices after Presidential Election” (sections translated). “This time a mainlander born outside Taiwan can be accepted by the majority who are identified with the local.  In this vein, we can expect in the future, a ‘new Taiwanese‘ or ‘aborigine‘ becoming our leader.  We can also start to reflect upon the existence of ‘ethnic consciousness’, whether such awareness is necessary.  We can say no to the divide, threat and agitation created by politicians. […]

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