Taiwan Landslide Signals Bull Market for Democracy

TaiwanTAIPEI, Taiwan—Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen may not owe her entire record-breaking landslide reelection victory to Hong Kong’s democracy demonstrators, but she owes a good part of it to those courageous young people.

They made her reelection a referendum on China’s leader Xi Jinping’s harsh reaction toward protest in that famed city only 450 miles west of Taiwan.

The Taiwanese had already taken notice of the sudden decline in tourism to their island from the mainland. Last summer, the People’s Republic of China restricted individuals from traveling to Taiwan lest they learn too much about what was happening in Hong Kong. Only groups that could be more closely watched were allowed to go.

Democracy can be catching. (As I type this, it seems to be spreading all the way from Taipei to Tehran.)

You have the sense here the day after the election, as I prepare to leave Taiwan, that possibilities are expanding and positive change is afoot.

Interesting ideas are being bandied about, one of which is the possibility of a free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan that would include full intellectual property protections.

This would put tremendous pressure on China in their negotiations. They would have to deal with the specter of a free and democratic Taiwan thriving ever more, economically. (Although not quite booming, Taiwan’s GNP is currently rising faster than its free market neighbors Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong, whose is, alas, declining for obvious reasons.)

Another possibility is increased military aid from the United States. As with Ukraine, the Trump administration has been considerably more generous with Taiwan than its predecessor was. Sixty-six F-16 Vipers are already in the pipeline at Lockheed Martin for manufacture and shipment to Taiwan, the first scheduled for delivery in 2023.

Will more advanced weaponry now be forthcoming to counter China’s increasingly bellicose actions, which include sailing its latest aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait and encircling the island from the air?

It’s certainly in the cards. At the same time, Tsai herself may have to revisit her overly cautious opposition to refugee status for Hong Kong demonstrators who may be facing jail sentences. Many in the public here feel she should. Even her KMT opposition supports it.

Lurking behind all this is ye olde Two China question. In order to appease Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai and open the door to China, Nixon and Kissinger decreed U.S. policy to be one China only—the People’s Republic. Taiwan was left to twist in the wind, figuratively and literally, with but minor exceptions, for decades.

Then Trump broke the code, as he has done with so many things, and called Tsai to congratulate her when she won her first presidential election in 2016, an act of de facto recognition.

The Taiwanese rejoiced and still do. I saw it with my own eyes in the “rock star” status given our delegation leader Steve Yates, who is associated here with Trump’s decision.

This decision to back democracy on the president’s part was echoed this weekend by his immediate tweet of support—in English and Farsi—for the Iran protestors seeking freedom from their despotic government. (Obama, you may recall, was reluctant to do the same during a previous round of demonstrations.)

The year 2020 has begun well for supporters of democracy. Iran and China have been bastions of totalitarianism for decades. Maybe this will be the year we will see that break apart. Stranger things have happened. Remember—the Berlin Wall fell suddenly.

Reprinted with permission by TheEpochTimes.com –  by Roger L. Simon

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6 months ago

Weird how the youth in Taiwan want Democracy and our youth want Socialism. Maybe we could swap them out?

Tom D
6 months ago

Those who yearn for socialism or communism in the U.S. should take note. Why we allow our universities and colleges to be infiltrated with professors and teachers who brainwash our children is unbelievable. And we need to buy products made in countries that we support, not countries that want to defeat us. We created the Chinese monster.

6 months ago

Time to support our partners in democracy and quit appeasing those who oppose them because of false peace and prosperity.

6 months ago

Taiwan, as with Hong Kong, is in a very precarious situation. China is not going to let go. Nor are they going to alter their plans for these to ‘Rogue’ populations. But China is usually, very patient. And they know Trump can’t last forever. They may simply bide their time hoping a liberal like Obama will get into power again. At which time you can expect things to get much worse for not only Hong Kong and Taiwan. But our condition right here at home under liberal rule will most certainly suffer as well.

John Karkalis
6 months ago

Hold the phone! I received a pop up poll from some “source” about Mitch McConnell. From the slanted wording the pollster had no love for Mitch. I did my duty and completed the questionnaire, indicating that Mitch was doing an excellent job as Majority Leader, that Mitch works tirelessly for America, that Mitch should remain Senate leader. I don’t think the pollster wanted this reply even though everything I said about Mitch is true! Here’s the kicker: I was asked to make a contribution to the cause to dump Mitch. I complied. In the space for my contribution I wrote… Read more »

Stephen Russell
6 months ago

with Taiwan in unity with HK protest groups & Iran shaking under pressure, Hooray Yes.
Long overdue & Iran was our own doing since Prior Presidents until Pres Trump Did Nothing.
Boost more trade to Taiwan Yes

John Karkalis
6 months ago

Tom and Jack raise a mouthwatering proposal. Maybe we can trade our Socialist, Collectivist loving children of privilege for the youth of Taiwan, Iran, and Hong Kong who certainly have had first hand knowledge of oppression and tyranny.
Mr Trump is a master of the deal.
If anyone could arrange the swap it is surely our President.

Rick J.
6 months ago

We need to stand by Taiwan and the protestors in Iran. We need to help keep Taiwan free and assist
the Iranians in their quest for freedom.

6 months ago

It would be a hoot if the “one China” Beijing has insisted on would finally happen, but not under the communist flag but instead under the traditional Chinese flag of Taiwan because the Chinese have had enough of serfdom, censorship, religious persecution, and genocide.

Lowell Naito
6 months ago

Thank you Pres, Trump. Live long an prosper.

6 months ago

More winning by President Trump not covered by the media. Sick and tired of their lack honesty and integrity.
They are already crying about being put in a pen during impeachment.
This is going to be tense and I hope the Senate stands strong for our President. Is anyone else worried besides me?

6 months ago

Cherie, as long as the Democrats have the press in their pockets I will worry about everything. The press has abdicated their sacred duty to keep and eye on all of government. Not only that, they have become the lapdogs for Democrats and liberals.

Brenda Blunt
6 months ago

Perhaps they can teach our youth what it means to be to dream without being told what they will do versus what they would like to do.

6 months ago

Very astute comments here. The Chinese have always considered Tiawan to be the barometer of how they are regarded by the west.
Any effort to bring popular government to Taiwan has always caused a freakout by the Chicoms. They go beserk. In the meantime, as the
Chinese economy begins to shrink due to US sanctions , key outposts such as Hong Kong , Taiwan, and North Korea are under much greater
pressure to resist oppression. The Chicoms know, I think , that their worst event is a military display against dissidents.

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