Beijing co-opted the elite and big business in Hong Kong to create dependence and ensure compliance. With four more years of KMT rule, the same could happen in Taiwan
The jury is still out on which factors were predominant in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) inability to regain power in Saturday’s election.
Pundits have put forth sundry explanations as to why presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) did not do better, from a failure to allay fears in Taiwan and abroad of the potential impact of a DPP win on stability in the region to “gatekeepers” making it nearly impossible for her to access the information she needed from the intellectuals on her team.
The extent to which those aspects undermined Tsai’s efforts remains unknown and will be better understood in time. What cannot be denied is the impact of big business on the election. This is a serious challenge that the DPP will have to address if it is to regain high office. And that challenge will only become more formidable now that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has been given four more years to further liberalize relations across the Taiwan Strait.
One clear theme that emerged from the elections is that Taiwanese, in general, desire stability. Rather than jump into the unknown by electing Tsai — notwithstanding her efforts to allay those fears — voters showed a preference for continuity and went for the devil they know.
One group, above all, that made the case for continuity, or the “status quo,” was the corporate sector, which resents instability and stands to benefit tremendously from closer ties between Taiwan and China.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.