Friday, September 19, 2014

A Taiwanese Politician and Barack Obama Want Change

In the Tucheng District of New Taipei City I recently saw a small part of Taiwan's democracy in action. At one location people busily worked for an election campaign.

people working for Lin Jinjie's (林金結) city council campaign

Lin Jinjie (林金結), a member of Taiwan's Kuomintang party, is running for the position of councilor in the New Taipei City Council.

As I walked around Tucheng, I saw some of Lin's campaign signs. Most seemed run-of-the-mill.

sign for Lin Jinjie's (林金結) election campaign

sign for Lin Jinjie's (林金結) election campaign

One sign campaign sign stood out though.

Lin Jinjie (林金結) campaign "We Want Change" sign with Barack Obama

Yes, that is Lin with U.S. President Barack Obama. And the sign makes it clear both of them are full of hope for change.

During earlier primary elections some questioned Lin's use of Barack Obama's image and suggested it improperly implied Obama supported Lin or may raise copyright issues (see articles in Chinese here and here). Others commented on the prominent use of English on the sign. Despite the criticism, at least the above sign remains and an image of the sign posted on what appears to be Lin's Facebook page remains as well. Whatever its merits, that a Taiwanese political campaign believes it could be helpful to reference Obama says something about Taiwan and speaks to America's potential soft power as well.

On a related note, I have seen Barack Obama's image used for commercial purposes in mainland China. But due to differences in political systems and cultures, I doubt I will be seeing any similar Obama-themed political-campaign signs there anytime soon.

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