A recent international poll shows that Taiwan is the only country that supports Donald Trump over Joe Biden, despite Taiwanese people knowing that Trump has had more negative than positive impact on the world. Various analyses suggest that this is because of Trump’s anti-China policy. However, it also reveals something alarming: To the Taiwanese people, being anti-China is all that is left to the meaning of democracy.
The people of Hong Kong are no less aware of China’s encroachment on democracy than the Taiwanese people, and the people of other Asian countries are no less wary of Beijing’s attempts to expand power than the people of Taiwan. However, in the same poll, Hong Kong’s support for Biden exceeds that for Trump by 6%, not to mention the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand, where support for Biden is at least 20% higher than support for Trump.
The main reason for such a gap between Taiwan and other Asia-Pacific nations is that the Democratic Progressive Party has long equated Taiwan’s democracy with opposition to China, distorting Taiwan’s view on democracy. Last year, prior to the election, Tsai Ing-wen said that China fears three things: First, the unity of the Taiwanese people; second, Taiwan’s democracy; and third, a strong Taiwan. Since then the words “national security” have become a high-sounding justification for the Tsai administration to restrict freedom of speech and disregard human rights.
Pulling up Trump’s various anti-democratic acts in the United States, we can see how the Democratic Progressive Party has used the same type of model to restrict the Taiwanese people. Trump calls his opponent party “communists,” accuses his critics of writing fake news, wishing to use this as an excuse to regulate social media, discriminates against foreign immigrants and suppresses Chinese students. These same tactics are used by the Democratic Progressive Party: labeling its rivals as “red hats,” suppressing news media with opposing positions, using the Law for Maintaining Social Order as a means to discourage voices on the internet, as well as discriminating against Chinese students and children with a Taiwanese parent but of Chinese nationality — all of this leading to hostility, and all of it under the guise of wanting to protect democracy and to counter the CCP’s conspiracies.
Amid such an atmosphere, opposing China and consolidating the Democratic Progressive Party’s administration have been equated with protecting democracy and freedom. To praise the mainland for its epidemic prevention efforts must mean you are cuddling up to China. Questioning the legitimacy of the triple stimulus vouchers (三倍券) is just a way for certain political parties and “red” media to disrupt social order. You are labeled as “following China’s agenda” as soon as you make any mention of the cruelty of war: that if a war were to begin, China would end it before the U.S. even had time to think about helping. In the long term, Taiwan’s democracy will end up being redefined by the Democratic Progressive Party, and, hand-in-hand with Trump, Taiwan will end up only able to “walk alone” in the world.
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