TAIPEI (Reuters) – The world is watching what selection Taiwan makes as the one Chinese language-speaking democracy, President Tsai Ing-wen stated on Friday, the eve of elections during which Tsai stated a vote for her can be a vote for freedom.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen waves to supporters from a car throughout a marketing campaign rally forward of the election in Taoyuan, Taiwan January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary polls on Saturday within the shadow of each a ramped up effort by China to get the democratic island to simply accept Beijing’s rule, and anti-government protests in Chinese language-ruled Hong Kong.
“To decide on Tsai Ing-wen and Enoch Wu is to decide on to face along with democracy and freedom,” Tsai advised reporters at a marketing campaign occasion. Wu is an up-and-coming member of Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Get together (DPP), a former banker who’s standing for parliament.
“Extra importantly, it reveals our willpower to defend our nation and sovereignty,” added Tsai, who’s looking for a second time period.
Tsai stated Taiwan is the “solely democratic nation in all Chinese language-speaking societies on the earth”.
“The entire world is watching how we make our selection.”
Tsai toured the streets of the capital, Taipei, early on Friday on the again of a truck, with vibrant flags and boisterous supporters making their approach by way of busy site visitors.
China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory, to be taken beneath Beijing’s management by pressure if wanted. Taiwan says it’s an unbiased nation, known as the Republic of China, its official identify.
Tsai is being challenged by Han Kuo-yu of the principle opposition Kuomintang social gathering. He favours shut ties with Beijing and says that is the one approach to make sure Taiwan’s safety and prosperity.
“Please come out to assist Han Kuo-yu, whose imaginative and prescient for the nation is ‘Taiwan secure, folks get wealthy’ and ‘cross-strait peace’,” Han marketing campaign secretary basic Tseng Yung-chuan advised a information convention.
The difficulty of China is entrance and centre within the marketing campaign, particularly after President Xi Jinping warned final yr China might assault Taiwan, although including he would like a peaceable “one nation, two programs” formulation for the island.
The previous British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese language rule in 1997 beneath a “one nation, two programs” formulation aimed toward making certain a excessive diploma of autonomy.
However that mannequin has by no means been in style in Taiwan and it’s even much less so now after months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, largely triggered by fears that Beijing is slowly eroding town’s freedoms. Beijing denies that.
The Hong Kong protesters have widespread public sympathy in Taiwan, and each the DPP and Kuomintang have pledged to assist any Hong Kong individuals who flee to the island.
Each Tsai and Han have rejected “one nation, two programs”. The DPP has painted a vote for the Kuomintang as successfully a vote for the mannequin, one thing Han has angrily denied.
Tsai and Han will each maintain mass rallies on Friday night – Tsai in Taipei and Han within the southern port metropolis of Kaohsiung, the place he’s mayor.
Voting begins at eight a.m (0000 GMT) on Saturday and the polls shut at four p.m. (0800 GMT).
Reporting by Yimou Lee; Extra reporting by Ben Blanchard; Enhancing by Robert Birsel