Minitrue: Taiwan Elections
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
Do not hype Taiwan’s “nine-in-one” election. Take note to contain [online] commentary, uniformly delete all content attacking the political system of the mainland, and immediately close the accounts of serious violators. (November 30, 2014)
Last Saturday, Taiwanese citizens cast ballots for more than 11,000 seats in various levels of local government, and Beijing kept close watch with pollsters forecasting a tough run for the ruling Kuomintang Party (KMT), who has been forging closer mainland ties in recent years. The KMT did indeed suffer defeat at the polls, winning only six major local races (compared to 15 four years ago), with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party winning 13. Deutche Welle reports that the defeat reflects general public disillusionment with the party that has ruled for 16 consecutive years. The Guardian reports that Taiwan’s premier and cabinet have resigned following the election results:
Premier Jiang Yi-huah resigned hours after polls closed, and president Ma Ying-Jeou announced that he would reshuffle his cabinet.
Both belong to the Nationalist, or Kuomintang (KMT), party, which has long espoused deepening ties with China.
“This is a very strong message, not only to the KMT administration, but also to Beijing,” said Hsu Szu-chien, a Chinese politics expert at the Taipei-based research institution Academia Sinica.
“The Ma administration depends totally on China’s goodwill — that’s his only strategy for Taiwan’s economic development. And he’s done this by paying the price of sacrificing Taiwan’s democracy.” [Source]
Taiwan’s 81-strong cabinet formally stepped down on Monday morning.
The members of the cabinet will continue to serve as caretakers until a new team is selected by the next premier, who is likely to be chosen by the president, Ma Ying-jeou, in the next few days.
“As the cabinet is now entering into the caretaking period, I want to implore you to continue carrying out your roles until the new cabinet is formed … Hopefully the period won’t last too long,” Jiang said in a statement.
Although he defended the performance of his team, Jiang admitted that “voters were not happy”. [Source]
At the Wall Street Journal, Aries Poon, Jenny W. Hsu, and Fanny Liu report on the likelihood that election results have on complicating cross-strait relations:
The drubbing Taiwan’s ruling party took in local elections looks set to complicate the island’s economically robust but politically fraught relations with China in the coming years.
The losses in Saturday’s elections for posts from mayor to village leader are further weakening support for Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, whose approval ratings were already low, and his Nationalist Party. It strengthens the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which has had difficult dealings with Beijing in the past, and it leaves China weighing its options on how to push forward its goal of eventual reunification with the island.
[…] “President Ma will be a lame duck for the rest of his term. Many China-related policies will meet more resistance than ever,” said Wang Yeh-li, head of department of political science at National Taiwan University in Taipei.
One factor in the shift was younger Taiwanese who are concerned that closer ties with China will hollow out Taiwan’s economy and society. […] [Source]
In March, student protesters occupied Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan to express concerns about encroaching mainland influence allowed by President Ma Ying-jeou and his ruling Kuomintang Party—concerns which boiled over after the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement was passed without an agreed upon review. For more on Taiwan and cross-strait relations, see prior CDT coverage.
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. 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.