Note: Taiwan local elections of 2018 are scheduled to be held on 24 November 2018. Local elections are held across the country, with elections to 22 local authorities.
China’s pressure campaign looms large as Taiwan holds local elections Saturday in what is seen partly as a referendum on independence from mainland China.
China has long attempted to interfere in Taiwanese elections, through both the direct threat of force if Taiwan votes a way that it does not like, and through espionage attempts within Taiwan. But the unfolding controversy in the United States regarding whether Russia attempted to aid current American president Donald Trump’s election candidacy using digital misinformation has led to increased focus on Chinese attempts to influence elections that employ social media, fake news, and cyber warfare.
Today is the 29 anniversary of the Zhonghe Incident. The year 1989 is a year of great significance for all of us, when the massacre at Tiananmen Square happened on June the 4th. The same year, two important events happened in Taiwan: one, Zheng Nanrong sacrificed his life to safeguard freedom of speech and another on November 22, exactly 29 years today, president of Formosa TV Guo Peihong, then chairman of World United Formosans for Independence in the US, returned to Taiwan under pressure to carry on the mission of his companion Zheng Nanrong.
The same day 29 years ago, Guo Peihong made a speech in public at Zhonghe Statium in Taibei County, the theme of his speech being courageous and shocking: overthrow the Nationalist Party and build a new country!
That was historical and I think he was a hero with the vision. At a time of harsh rule by the Nationalist military, his speech to claim for the overturn of the Nationalist Party was stunning and powerful.
It tells that the progress Taiwan is making requires breakthroughs, breaking down the old system and traditions. His speech,in my view, was unprecedented. It was a swansong.
While everyone was wearing a black mask, to break away from the siege of armed police led by Hao Bocun, it was an Escape to Victory. That can be made into a movie too.
His theme of “overthrowing the Nationalist Party and building a new country” is closely related to the coming midterm elections in 48 hours on Saturday.
Some people might say the Nationalist Party is no longer in power today, already overthrown, and totalitarianism no longer exists in Taiwan. You will see in 48 hours people will come out to vote. But you will also see that the Nationalist Party has stood out aggressively, striving to win and come back in politics again.
Even the top hands from the Democratic Progressive Party have said that it is difficult for them even to defend Gaoxiong.
Have you seen the momentum of the Nationalists? The CCP-friendly Ke Wenze in Taibei has determined to keep his seat in power. So today, we are facing the same question 29 years ago that we will have to sacrifice Zheng Nanrong to safeguard the value we have long treasured.
29 years ago, Guo Peihong risked his life in imprisonment to make that speech to overthrow the Nationalist Party. Today we are at another historical moment when Taiwanese need to use their votes to say NO to the Nationalist Party again. They need to make clear to the Nationalist Party, as well as the Communist Party across the Taiwan Strait, that we don’t want these two parties to control the fate of Taiwan. Those days are over.
Taiwan people need to use their votes to say No to them, to reject them. Taiwan’s objective is to build a new country in future. You may say that is a difficult task. But I am telling you that just because of the difficulty, or no matter how difficult that would be, we have resolved to make that happen.
It was also difficult 29 years ago. Hao Bocun’s armed police encircled the Zhonghe Stadium, attempting to catch Guo Peihong and put him into prison at the Green Island. He faced life imprisonment or execution. That was truly a time of difficulties, and risks.
Today, our risk is one vote only. On Saturday, get up earlier, work a little bit and go to vote! Go to vote to identify that you are a Taiwanese, pick the right candidate of your favour.
You have only two choices: those candidates who represent the Communist Party across the Strait, and those who identify themselves as Taiwanese, two completely different values, towards different systems of government.
You can take part in the referendum to choose the right name for Taiwan in the summer Olympics. This referendum tells the world what most Taiwanese think in their minds. Although difficult too, after 29 years, there has been great progress.
According to many public surveys, over 60% of local residents identify themselves as Taiwanese; over 80% residents think Taiwan is a sovereign state; over 90% residents think Taiwan does not belong to the People’s Republic of China in the mainland.
According to the survey by Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in April, if the CCP government, for reunification of Taiwan, uses military forces to deal with Taiwan, 68% of Taiwanese have expressed their willingness to stand up and safeguard Taiwan. That was amazing!
The courage and determination of Taiwanese is just remarkable! Today is another critical moment. In 48 hours, the courageous Taiwanese will stand up to make history by achieving the aim of Guo Peihong to “overthrow the Nationalist Party and build a new country”, to say NO to the Nationalist candidates with their votes and support the referendum to change the name of “Chinese Taibei” into “Taiwan” in the Olympics.
This will tell the world, tell the international community what the real thoughts of Taiwanese are. So all Taiwanese should stand out to show their courage with votes, and to choose wisely.
By Cao Changqing
Translation by Staff Editor