Three out of every four voters in Taiwan went to the polls on January 11, 2020. Four panelists looked at what the key issues were in the election and what the election means for Taiwan domestic policies, for cross-strait relations, and for U.S.-Taiwan relations.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen received a record 8.2 million votes, winning reelection with 57% of the ballots. Her Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang) rival, Han Kuo-yu, received 39% of the vote. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party won 61 of the 113 seats in the legislature. The Kuomintang won 38 seats. Several small parties and independent also won seats. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement congratulating Tsai on her victory and “Taiwan for once again demonstrating the strength of its robust democratic system.” Xinhua, China’s state news agency described Tsai’s election as “a temporary counter-current.” Xinhua blamed DPP cheating and said “anti-China political forces in the West openly intervened” and supported Tsai to contain China.
Also available from the USC U.S.-China Institute YouTube channel.
The discussion was moderated by Clayton Dube, the director of the USC U.S.-China Institute. Panelists included:
Tom Hollihan, USC
Hollihan heads the USC Annenberg School doctoral program and observed the Taiwan election as a member of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs delegation. He is a specialist on political communication and is the author of several books including The Dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: How Media Narratives Shape Public Opinions and Challenge the Global Order and Uncivil Wars: Political Campaigns in a Media Age.
Daniel Lynch, City University of Hong Kong
Lynch taught international relations at USC for two decades before moving to Hong Kong where he teaches international relations and Chinese politics. His books include China’s Futures: PRC Elites Debate Economics, Politics, and Foreign Policy, Rising China and Asian Democratization: Socialization to “Global Culture” in the Political Transformations of Thailand, China, and Taiwan. In addition to observing this election, Lynch spent two months in Taiwan in summer 2019 for his current research.
Shelley Rigger, Davidson College
Currently a Fulbright Scholar based in Taipei and Shanghai, Rigger is especially well-known for her book, Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, but she’s also the author of Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy, From Opposition to Power: Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, and Taiwan’s Rising Rationalism: Generations, Politics and “Taiwan Nationalism.
Ray Wang, National Chengchi University
Wang works as an Associate Professor at National Chengchi University, Taiwan. Ray’s major research interests focus on human rights, religious freedom, and transnational advocacy networks. Currently he serves as the executive editor of Mainland China Studies (TSSCI). He is the recipient of an Excellent Young Scholar Research Fund from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (2018-2021) and a part of the research is published in the new book, Resistance under Communist China Religious Protesters, Advocates and Opportunists (Palgrave) in 2019.