Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Taiwan Voters Show A Mixed Willingness to Anger Beijing

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Taiwan Voters Show A Mixed Willingness to Anger Beijing

Article excerpt

TAIWAN'S pro-independence opposition captured control of Taipei, the island capital, in a weekend election that sets the stage for intensified rivalry with China.

The poll, in which the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) kept provincial governorship and the mayor's seat in the second-largest Kaohsiung city, heightens the growing power of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which advocates Taiwan's independence, and the standoff with China over Taiwan's future.

Beijing has refused to renounce the possible use of force to retake Taiwan, which it considers a part of China, and has watched with mounting alarm the gradual, often tumultuous evolution from autocracy to a democratic system since the KMT lifted martial law in 1987. "We are moving toward some kind of stable democracy," says Diane Ying, editor of Commonwealth magazine. "But China is still across the {Taiwan} Strait and makes development of democracy risky."

This latest step toward more democracy, coupled with the island's rising economic wealth, comes as a growing number of Taiwanese favor an official call for independence from the mainland. This popular shift has led the long-ruling KMT to downplay its old claim that Taipei is the legitimate government of all China and instead urges that Beijing recognize Taiwan as a separate and equal political entity in a divided nation.

Saturday's poll was also a forerunner for the 1996 presidential contest, which will cap Taiwan's democratic transition and could be viewed as an open provocation to Beijing. Regarding Taiwan as a renegade province, China is unlikely to tolerate an elected national government, analysts say. The popular incumbent, President Lee Teng-hui, is touted by the KMT as a certain winner, although the DPP holds one-third of the island's legislative seats, controls Taiwan's largest counties, and now, its capital. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.