Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou’s re-election for his second term in office on January 14th, 2012 was the big story last week. Chinese Netizens across the Taiwan Strait, of course, are not hardly out of touch. Despite Beijing’s ban on the topic, Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) is buzzing with tweets about this race to victory.
Leaving aside the volatile issue of Taiwanese independence [aside], Chinese mainland Netizens want to see improvement in the PRC’s relationship with Taiwan. President Ma, head of the Kuomingtang Party, focuses on maintaining and improving relations with China through economic collaboration. Ma’s defeated opponent, Tsai Ing-Wen, head of the Democratic Progressive Party candidate, thinks differently. Tsai and her party believe that the KMT is treating its relations with China naively, which “will become a source of conflict for Taiwan people later,” as she stated in her otherwise gracious concession speech.
The more China-friendly of the two candidates is, obviously, President Ma. He said “this isn’t a personal victory” but “a victory for the Taiwan people.” Chinese Netizens, according to their blogs and tweets, might want to add that this is also a victory for the Chinese people.
There is, however, a rather fascinating undertone to Chinese Netizen’s avid and watchful eye — beside their concern for peace and economic prosperity. Yaxue Cao, a Chinese microblogger, points out “many mainland Chinese are highly invested in [the election results] because they look to Taiwan for what China can become one day.” Here, Cao is referring to Taiwan’s democratic political system, which China lacks completely. So every election that Taiwan has reminds Chinese people what they do not have: democracy. No wonder the Chinese Communist Party has an official – if rather ineffective — ban on the topic of election in Taiwan.