Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time to Vote in Taiwan

This Saturday many Taiwanese will do something that can't be done in mainland China. An entry on Wikipedia [choose your own adverb] states: "The election for the 13th-term President and Vice-President of the Republic of China (traditional Chinese:第十三任中華民國總統副總統選舉) will be held in the Free Area of the Republic of China (ROC) on January 14, 2012."

It's an important election, but I'll refrain from writing about the election itself. Instead, I'll simply point you to the informative "Taiwan 2012" section of the blog Ballots & Bullets which is "produced in partnership with the School of Politics and International Relations, the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies and the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham" and can be found here.

In the election spirit a Taiwanese friend of mine who is currently working in Beijing shared the image that currently exists on the homepage for Google in Taiwan:

Google logo modified to indicate people voting in Taiwan

And on Friday she returned to Taiwan to as she wrote "excercise my democratic rights". Apparently she isn't the only Taiwanese to be returning to Taiwan for this purpose. As she shared and CNN reports:
As many as 200,000 people -- most of them mainland China-based Taiwanese - are expected to return to Taiwan this weekend for an election viewed as critical to the future of an economy that has boomed thanks to warmer ties with Beijing.

Taiwan does not allow absentee voting and the growing political clout of Taiwan's expatriate businessmen -- known as Taishang in Chinese -- will be a determining factor in elections that will set the tenor of the relationship with Beijing.

"Because of the closeness of the race, this election has the highest ever number of returnees," says Professor Ray-Kuo Wu of Fu Jen University, adding that estimates could be as high as 250,000 returnees. "Corporate bosses have mobilized their employees to participate in these elections like never before."
It would be interesting to know whether the voting patterns of the returnees from mainland China significantly differ from other Taiwanese.

I won't express my thoughts on which candidates I hope will win. Instead, I'll simply express that I'm happy for the Taiwanese people on their election day.

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