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Tsai out to vitiate cross-Straits ties further

By ZHANG HUA | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-14 07:32

Tsai Ing-wen's re-election as Taiwan leader might be misinterpreted as public support for her "Taiwan independence" campaign and prompt her to redouble her efforts to achieve this goal. This, if true, will pose a major challenge to future cross-Straits relations.

In the recent election, Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party demonstrated its strong ability to organize votes.

The Tsai administration bought over local media organizations and, by extension, public opinion. It fabricated facts to tarnish opposition Kuomintang candidate Han Kuoyu's image. Also, Tsai viciously exploited Sino-US trade frictions and the riots in Hong Kong, raising anti-Chinese mainland sentiments to trigger panic on the island.

Tsai also trumpeted her achievements, claiming the island's economy grew by 2.64 percent in 2019, creating tens of thousands of jobs. She promised to raise basic salaries across the island and grant subsidies to the children of farmers and fishermen.

Such promises might have helped her garner votes but they could also increase her budget deficit and further hurt the island's economy, which is greatly dependent on foreign trade.

Taiwan's economy faces the risk of being marginalized globally. The budget deficit, along with the low fertility rate and a rising aging population, will not change nor will the gap between the rich and the poor be bridged.

Also, tensions across the Straits owing to the Tsai administration's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China and promotion of "Taiwan independence" will continue.

After the election, Tsai withdrew the proposition of "peace, equality, democracy and dialogue" in a bid to thwart national reunification.

"Democracy" is by no means an excuse to decide the island's future through the will of just 23 million Taiwan residents. The island's future should be decided by compatriots on both sides of the Straits.

-ZHANG HUA, A RESEARCHER OF THE CHINESE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

  
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