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Growing Taiwan identity, youth vote key to 2016 presidency: report

Growing Taiwan identity, youth vote key to 2016 presidency: report

Washington, Dec. 31 (CNA) Growing Taiwanese identity and concerns about relations with China as well as more active youth voters are likely to be key factors in Taiwan's 2016 presidential election, according to a U.S. report released Tuesday. The report compiled by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission of the U.S. Congress said Taiwanese voters are increasingly concerned that cross-strait economic ties will harm Taiwan's economy and political autonomy, while their acceptance of a Chinese identity continues to decline. In addition, Taiwan has experienced a resurgence of civic activism in recent years, especially among the youth, it noted. "This trend was on display during the 2014 local elections through strong youth participation in a campaign to enlist citizens for election monitoring and a campaign to recall several legislators, both of which were grassroots initiatives," the report said. Although cross-strait policies were not a major issues in the Nov. 29 elections, the report suggested growing skepticism toward China among Taiwan voters may have driven many voters, especially young people, to turn against the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), which suffered massive losses, retaining leadership of only six cities and counties. It said the outcome of the elections indicates widespread popular dissatisfaction with the incumbent party and with Taiwan's economic performance, placing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in a strong position in the run up to 2016. The report predicted that the Chinese government will expand its communication with the DPP and continue to promote cross-strait rapprochement and economic integration ahead of the presidential election, but there is no indication Beijing will change its baseline policy on the status of Taiwan's sovereignty. Beijing could try to influence the 2016 election by using subtle techniques such as encouraging Taiwanese business people in China, who are largely pro-KMT, to return to Taiwan to vote, the report said. "The Chinese government has learned from previous Taiwan presidential elections that threatening actions and statements directed at a particular candidate and the Taiwan electorate tend not to deter enough voters from supporting the candidate, and may even mobilize voters to back the candidate," it said. (By Tony Liao and Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-09-18 20:00 GMT+08:00