Censorship Vault: 2004 Taiwan Election and Fallout

From the features previously untranslated instructions from the archives of the CDT series (真理部指令).

State Council Information Office: We ask that website management personnel in all locales pay attention to the contents of [forum] posts over the next few days. Please delete all posts which touch upon the Taiwan elections! (March 20, 2004)


Taiwan’s 2004 election was an iron-hot race between Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Lien Chan and Democratic Progressive Part (DPP) incumbent Chen Shui-bian. Controversy heated up in February, when Pan-Blue Coalition campaigners were spotted courting businessmen–and Taiwanese fugitives–on the mainland. (The coalition comprises the KMT and other parties in favor of Chinese nationalism.) Then on March 19, the day before the polls opened, Chen and his running-mate Annette Lu were injured in an assassination attempt. Chen won the election by less than one percentage point, leading to street protests and Lien’s call for a recount. Lien’s wish was honored, but Chen still came out on top.

Chen is the only president of Taiwan to date who is not a member of the KMT. Despite its historical enmity towards the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the KMT is now pro-Beijing. The DPP, on the other hand, favors Taiwan independence.

Tang Shou-yi, a suspect in the 2004 shooting, was extradited from the mainland on January 25, 2013. He plead guilty to all charges on March 5.

These instructions, issued to the media and Internet companies by various central and local government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. CDT has collected the selections we translate here from a variety of sources and has checked them against official Chinese media reports to confirm their implementation.

Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The original publication date is noted after the directives; the date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.


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