KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan News) — It’s decision time!
After months of campaigning, claims, and counter-claims, the Taiwanese people will, at last, get the opportunity to determine who will be the country’s next president.
It is a critical moment, not just in the country’s political history but in its history overall. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of Taiwan hinges on the decision its people make on Saturday.
Taiwan’s democracy is still young, but it has had to grow up fast during this campaign.
In 1949, the Chinese Nationalists were driven from China by the brutal communist forces of Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and set up home in neighboring Taiwan.
The Kuomintang (KMT, 國民黨) were no saints themselves and ruled Taiwan as a single-party military dictatorship for more than 40 years, committing numerous atrocities along the way. It was not until 1996 that the first democratic elections were held here, and four more years passed before they were finally removed from power.
Since then, Taiwan’s democracy and burgeoning human rights have been one of the great Asian success stories.
But the KMT has never gone away. The party that once fought to the last breath against communism in China is now working in cahoots with the CCP to bring brutal totalitarianism back to Taiwan, this time under the iron boot of dictator Xi Jinping (習近平).
If you want an idea of the future the KMT envisions for Taiwan, you need look no further than Hong Kong, where the "one country, two systems" model that the KMT has lauded for so long has seen the influence of communist China grow and forced the people onto the streets to defend their freedoms.
The last KMT President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), was a moderate. Yet even his modest pro-China policies resulted in the Sunflower Revolution, forcing young people in Taiwan to take to the streets and occupy the Legislative Yuan to protect their futures here.
Han in brief
The last word you would use to describe the KMT's current candidate, Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), is "moderate." He is an extremist in every possible sense of the word.
He was elected mayor of Kaohsiung under a unique set of circumstances created primarily by anger at the DPP and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) over their pension reforms. These are reforms that, on handing over the reins of power to Tsai, President Ma apologized for not having had the guts to implement himself.
Han seized on this anger with a plethora of lies and false promises. He also capitalized on a huge surge of pro-KMT fake news emanating out of Communist China and intended to help pro-Chinese politicians win the election.
Having won, it surprised few people that one of his first overseas visits was to China, where he met a series of senior Communist Party officials, including the director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Liu Jieyi (劉結一). Tellingly, these meetings were not on his official itinerary, and he has flatly refused to confirm what was discussed.
Since then, Han’s dereliction of duty as Kaohsiung mayor has been astonishing. He has failed to deliver on a single campaign promise, shamelessly avoided scrutiny by trying to get officials to answer questions in his place, and even abandoned the city altogether to pursue his own personal political ambitions.
Little wonder, he looks set to become the first mayor in Taiwanese history to be recalled by his electorate.
Han and the KMT can still win
Yet, despite all this, Han's ebullient style and Chinese support saw him sweep to victory in the KMT primary. It was an unlikely success but one he hopes to repeat.
It is easy to look at the polls and Han’s approval ratings as a candidate and assume that he has already lost this election. But such an assumption would be naïve and highly dangerous.
The KMT has a very effective grassroots campaign capable of incentivizing their core voters in working-class, public sector-heavy, rural, and indigenous areas and getting them to the ballot box. They know this is going to be tight, which is why Han has told his supporters to lie to pollsters and make the election look like a foregone conclusion.
If DPP voters are complacent, Han Kuo-yu has a real chance of winning this election. The consequences of this for the people of Taiwan, its businesses, and the future of the country itself would be grim.
Save Taiwan. Vote Tsai Ing-wen. Vote DPP
If you care about Taiwan, its people, its democracy, its economy, and its future, you must go out on Saturday and vote. And you must vote for Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the DPP.
Don’t be put off by long queues at polling stations. Taiwan needs your vote.
Don’t be put off by fake messages on social media saying that if you don’t have a polling card, you can’t vote — all you need is your ID card and a personal stamp. Taiwan needs your vote.
Don’t assume that your vote won’t make a difference — Taiwan needs your vote!
This is an election where every vote will count. It is an election that the very future of a free and democratic Taiwan depends on.
It is an election where you must make sure your voice is heard, and you must vote for Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the DPP to save Taiwan and ensure the freedoms all Taiwanese enjoy today can be enjoyed by future generations too.