Notes on the 2012 Taiwan Presidential Election

By WRIC Jing Zhang


The winner does not take it all, and the loser is not always in the wrong.


On the evening of January 14th, the results of the thirteenth presidential election of the Republic of China revealed that Ma Ying-jeou, the current president, had won re-election by defeating Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) and James Chu-yul Soong of the People First Party(PFP). Ma Ying-jeou and his partner Wu Den-yih won 689,1139 votes, with a vote rate of 51.6%; The DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen and his partner Su Jiaquan received 609,358 votes, with a vote rate of 45.6%; The People First Party’s James Chu-yul Soong and his partner Lin Ruixiong, received 366,958 votes, with a vote rate of 2.8%. The election of three overseas doctorates to compete for the presidency has pioneered the history of Chinese. The three doctorates are: Ma Ying-jeou, a law PhD from Harvard University, Tsai Ing-wen, a law PhD from the London School of Economics, and James Chu-yul Soong, a political science PhD from Georgetown University. The election was conducted simultaneously for the President and the Legislator, that is, the simultaneous election. Nearly 15,000 polling stations were set up in various parts of Taiwan, with nearly 200,000 staff members and a total voting rate of 74.38%.


Before the election, some people analyzed that if the Kuomintang(KMT) lost, it would mean the end of this century-old shop. The KMT would be divided into two parts. The nativists, led by Wang Jin-Pyng, would lead the KMT in Taiwan. The KMT will be transformed into a political party in Taiwan to join hands with the DPP people to settle down on this Treasure Island surrounded by the four oceans. Another group of KMT people with the great dream of the Republic of China will be vanished. They will die, drift abroad or return to the mainland China.


On the eve of the election, a mainland veteran walked alone on the Ketagalan Boulevard under the night, carrying a sign with the words “stand up for the Republic of China.” In fact, every time the people of the KMT and the people of the DPP compete for the presidency, they will be regarded as the “Republic of China” defense battle by some Taiwanese who still have a great Chinese complex. Every link of the campaign will affect the thousands of years of Chinese blood in their bodies, and they often shed tears when talking about the fate of China.


On the other side, Tsai Ing-wen lost, but the total number of votes exceeded 1 million votes in the 2008 Presidential Election. This time the Green Camp won another 13 seats in the legislator election. In fact, the Blue Camp also lost more than 10 seats, and Ma Ying-jeou lost nearly 1 million votes compared with 4 years ago. As a female soldier, Tsai Ing-wen, despite her glorious defeat, has achieved such good results after years of wrangling over Chen Shui-bian’s corruption scandal in the DPP. In this regard, Tsai Ing-wen is not only an important contributor, but also a well-known leader.


On the evening of the announcement of the presidential election results, Taipei, which had been sunny for several days, suddenly experienced heavy rain, such as the tears of 6.09 million people who supported the Green Camp. Tsai Ing-wen stood on the stage to announce the loss of the presidential election. She said humbly that the main reason for our loss was that we did not make it clear to the voters, and that we did not do a good job in campaign propaganda and layout. The DPP will submit a detailed review report later to provide vigilance. Congratulations to Mr. Ma Ying-jeou on his election as the President of the Republic of China. I hope he can better lead the people of Taiwan forward. The DPP has lost, but we never give up. She said, “Although I can’t lead you on, I would like to thank you personally for your company along the way. Taiwan can’t live without the voice of opposition and the power of checks and balances. In the next four years, although we have no way to practice our ideals from the perspective of the ruling party, this does not mean that there will be no more power. I believe that as long as you stand behind us and give us support and encouragement, we will have a future and we will win next time. I will shoulder the responsibility of losing the election. I announce that I will resign as the Chairman of the DPP. Under the stage, the young people’s tears and the rainwater from the sky merge into a vast ocean, so sad and strong!


Ma Ying-jeou was elected president of the Republic of China 2012. (Photos by WRIC Jing Zhang)



In 2012 Taiwan presidential election, the winner is righteous and vigorous, while the loser is decent. There are no past cries of injustice and shout curses, no pre-election incidents, Taiwan’s democracy is maturing and the world is witnessing!


  1. Election playback


Taiwan poll/ Quiet before the election

I arrived at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport at 11:30 PM, because I had a lot of luggage, our hotel was far away from the north end of the city, and it was a lot of trouble to go downtown by Kuo-Kuang eBus, so I just took a taxi. The taxi driver, a thin man in his 30s, spoke Minnan mandarin with enthusiasm.


There was no presidential election poll published on this day. According to Taiwan’s 2006 Election Recall Law, no organization is allowed to publish poll results until 10 days before the poll begins.


Taiwan’s 2012 election eve.  (Photos by WRIC)


When the taxi was driving at a high speed in the dark, I asked the driver who he was going to vote for. He did not hesitate to answer “James Chu-yul Soong”. The reason for this was that he sympathized with the weak. Needless to say, he has concluded that James Chu-yul Soong was the weak side in this trilateral game.


The next day when I went out, I met a quiet young man on the bus, who had just graduated from college and was waiting for military service. He guided us all the way to the MRT for fear that we had misdirected the route. In the subway car, I asked him who he would vote for, he said “Ma Ying-jeou.”


When I returned from Liberty Square, I took a taxi and went on to do the poll. The driver’s answer was “I choose Tsai Ing-wen”, because “Ma Ying-jeou did not do well in the past four years. Try Tsai Ing-wen instead. If she can’t, she will not be chosen again in the next four years.”


After returning to the hotel, I contacted a monk in Tainan and asked him who he would vote for. The answer was James Chu-yul Soong, because he was tired of the Blue Camp and the Green Camp, so he changed his color.


A few days later, I randomly surveyed five Taipei people, 2 votes for Tsai Ing-wen, 2 votes for James Chu-yul Soong, 1 vote for Ma Ying-jeou, the voting rate was 20%. As a purely personal act, I understand that the result should be a blind person’s impression, which inappropriately magnifies a part of Taiwan’s political ecology so seriously that no polling agency dares to publish such results, especially in Taipei, the base of the KMT.


The founder of WRIC Jing Zhang interviewed Taiwan’s senior female Congressman Tian Qiuyu On January 16, 2012.

WRIC founder Jing Zhang was interview by Taiwan Radio to talk about the China women’s rights movement on January 18, 2012.


On the morning of the 13th, I came to James Chu-yul Soong’s campaign headquarters in the center of Taipei. Zhang Junyi, the head of the Overseas Department of the People’s Democratic Party of China, who served as chairman of the Mongolia-Tibet Committee during the Lee Teng-hui era, said that it was predicted that James Chu-yul Soong would get 1 million votes. This was a small number in Taiwan with a population of 23 million. It was absolutely impossible to match the ratio of 40% that I randomly asked. Zhang Junyi blamed Ma Ying-jeou for his behavior in the past ten days before the polling day. He said that James Chu-yul Soong’s election was very good. Unexpectedly, on the eve of the vote, Ma Ying-jeou published a poll result that was very unfavorable to him. The next day, the voters turned to others and ruined James Chu-yul Soong’s presidential dream. Of course, Zhang Junyi’s statement was immediately refuted by the original New Party legislator who accompanied us. It was pointed out that James Chu-yul Soong’s defeat in the same year was entirely due to Lee Teng-hui’s suppression of him by using the Chunghsing Scandal.


In terms of how to obtain public opinions in Taiwan, I listened to four methods summarized by polling experts of Chung Hua University in Taichung City.


  • Institutional polls: The results are widely known.
  • Trading Futures: Candidates are considered futures. It was accurate in the past few years, but now it’s getting out of line with outside intervention.
  • Local gambling: The combination of local and foreign products that combines modern politics into black deals. Some suspect that the two bullets in 2004 were related to it.
  • Official Investigation Station: It collects the Bureau of Investigation of the Republic of China from all over the country and submits it to the ruling authorities for reference. It is said that the accuracy is very high, but it will not be published.


Some Taiwanese believe in the accuracy of the Exitpolls of the United States. In 2004, an American stood outside the voting booth and asked the voters who had voted. He came to the conclusion that Chen Shui-bian could not win the presidential election. On the contrary, some people believed that in the 2004 presidential election, the two bullets were just a blind alley. The real reason was vote counting fraud.


However, an expert from Chung Hua University said that the Exitpolls might work in other countries, but definitely not in Taiwan. Taiwan’s voters are not easy to tell the truth. The reasons are gangster manipulation or money buying. The voters who are controlled are certainly not willing to say their true choices.


  • Lin chuo-shui’s Syllogism on Cross-Strait Relations

Lin chuo-shui, a “Taiwan Independence Theorist” and a prominent figure in the DPP, considers his seniority in the party to be the same as that of Chen shui-bian, but the second generation. In March 2008, Ma Ying-jeou defeated Hsieh Changting, and the DPP, which suffered heavy losses, was in mourning. At that time, I arranged an interview with him in an office next to the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China. Instead of the decadence of a defeated man, there is a freshness of wisdom in the Arabic-educated member of the DPP. He talked about the DPP’s push for political change in Taiwan, and about the collision style that led to Taiwan’s sovereignty. The difficult task facing Taiwan today no longer requires confrontation, but painstaking work.


In the 2012 presidential election, he ran for the eighth legislator in Xinzhuang, Xinbei City after serving as Taiwan’s legislator for five consecutive years. In this election, Tsai ing-wen, the third-generation leader of the DPP and presidential candidate, attacked Ma ying-jeou’s 1992 consensus with “Taiwan consensus”. Lin chuo-shui did not deny that the Taiwan consensus was intended to advance the process of Taiwan’s founding, but he said its effect would be tested in the future. Lin chuo-shui, an important legislator of cross-strait policies of the DPP, said on the eve of the election that cross-strait relations would not change much regardless of the outcome of the presidential election in Taiwan. Due to the limitations of the two frameworks of “the reality of separation between the two sides of the strait and the difficulty of Taiwan’s independence gaining international recognition”, the three parties, the Communist Party, the KMT and the DPP, were forced to move towards a pragmatic direction in dealing with the Taiwan issue”.

As the polling day approached, we came to Lin chuo-shui’s campaign office in Xinzhuang, Xinbei City. Although he was busy with the tickets, he took the time to greet us. The topic naturally focused on the presidential election and cross-strait relations. He summarized the difficulties of cross-strait relations that have been entangled since 1949 as “separate separations and different opinions on sovereignty.” He divided the cross-strait relations for more than 60 years into three stages, and thought that in terms of trend, no matter how loudly politicians quarreled, they could not hide the fact that they were heading for easing.


Lin chuo-shui said: “The early solution is to solve by force. Beijing says it wants to liberate Taiwan by force, and Chiang Kai-shek’s counterattack on the mainland China was also a military solution. In the era of Chiang Ching-kuo and Deng Xiaoping, the general direction has changed to a peaceful settlement. Taiwan says it wants the Three Principles of the People to reunify China, while the mainland China says it wants one country, two systems and peaceful reunification.”


These two stages of change not only occurred in the ruling KMT and the Communist Party, but also in the DPP. Although during the martial law period, the early Taiwanese democracy movement could not clearly express their sovereignty claims, according to the Taiwan Overseas Associations, which were related to the high-level movements of the party outside the party, their mainstream supporters advocated the armed revolution. After the Formosa Incident, overseas advocates of force gradually returned to Taiwan to engage in a peaceful and democratic movement.


According to Lin chuo-shui, whether it is the Communist Party, the KMT or the DPP, they are developing at almost the same pace in the first two stages.


The third stage of cross-strait relations began in the 1990s, characterized by the gradual concealment of sovereignty issues by economic and trade issues, but Beijing has not relaxed its precautions against Taiwan’s independence. Lin chuo-shui said that at this stage, Beijing promulgated the Anti-Secession Law, which was widely considered by the KMT and the DPP to be the legal source of the mainland’s use of force against Taiwan, but he did not think so, because no legal source was needed to launch war. What surprised Lin chuo-shui was that the Anti-Secession Law stipulated that the mainland China would adopt non-peaceful means to deal with Taiwan’s independence under three conditions. He believed that this was in conflict with the constitution of mainland China, because the Chinese constitution could not allow bargaining on the issue of sovereign independence. Why did Beijing unconstitutionalally formulate the Anti-Secession Law with additional conditions? In Lin chuo-shui’s opinion, it is to send an important message to Taiwan: At the present stage, we should abolish the use of force, put aside the question of reunification until the future, and put the main focus of cross-straits relations at the present stage on economic and trade relations.


Lin chuo-shui believed that the mainland China successfully achieved the united front effect of promoting unification by business, governing by business and economy and trade in this election. Before the election, prominent industrialists in Taiwan expressed their support for the 1992 consensus. In line with Beijing, the KMT’s policy of “no unification, no independence, no military force” also put aside sovereignty and vigorously promoted cross-strait economic and trade relations. The DPP has also moved from a radical approach to a peaceful and pragmatic one without giving up on its nation-building efforts. Tsai Ing-wen even said that she could generalize the ECFA signed by Ma Ying-jeou and the mainland China.


Lin chuo-shui said: “In the three stages of cross-strait relations, each stage lasts for one or two decades or thirty years. This shows that the trend is so. I think it is not easy to overthrow the separation of the two sides of the strait. Local people want to pursue independence eagerly. However, it is not easy to obtain international recognition. The limitations of the framework of these two conditions have forced the three parties of the Communist Party, the KMT and the DPP to gradually move toward a pragmatic direction to deal with the Taiwan issue. Therefore, I believe that regardless of the outcome of the presidential election in Taiwan, cross-strait relations will not change much”.


Taiwan’s public opinion also seemed to confirm Lin chuo-shui’s statement. A poll in December asked if cross-strait relations would be reversed if Tsai Ing-wen was elected. As a result, only a few people answered yes.


  1. Yuan Tseh Lee led 200 scholars to support Tsai Ing-wen

Yuan Tseh Lee, the 1986 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry who supported the Green Camp, took the stage in Taichung on the evening of 12th to support the presidential candidate of the DPP Tsai Ing-wen. Yuan Tseh Lee, who has been the president of the Academia Sinica of the Republic of China for 12 years, appeared at 8 p.m. with his wife and became the most important person in the evening party. He spoke in Taiwanese in the cheers of the audience. I did not understand at all, but only understood a sentence that “human beings are facing great difficulties” in Chinese. After that, he continued to speak in Taiwanese, which presumably meant that Tsai Ing-wen was the person who could lead Taiwanese out of trouble.


Taichung has always been ruled by the KMT, and Ho Chi-qiang, a native of the northeast who once served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, has held the position of mayor for more than a decade. In recent years, however, the DPP has become more involved. In Taiwan metropolitan elections of 2010, the DPP’s record in Taiwan scared the KMT. In order to conquer the fortress of the Blue Camp, Su Tseng-chang and You Xikun, the great figures of the Green camp, appeared one after another. Yuan Tseh Lee was accompanied by hundreds of scholars, professors and doctors, the famous Lion Club and Rotary Club. Taiwanese singer Yu Tian also produced a video on how to vote for the DPP voters to teach people not to make mistakes in voting.


Agents, police and the DPP pickets broke a passage through a crowd of 50,000 supporters. Tsai Ing-wen embarked on the big stage at 9:30, and his deputy Su Jiaquan, Yuan Tseh Lee and his wife, who were on the stage again, joined hands and spurred the enthusiasm of the audience. Tsai Ing-wen promised that if she was elected, she would move the Taiwanese parliament to Taichung to become the sub-capital of Taiwan. She said that Taichung has always been the most important constituency. As long as Taichung wins, Taiwan will win. “We were very close to the success in the last metropolitan elections of 2010. Let’s make it together this time, okay?”


“Okay” was a common mantra used in Tsai Ing-wen’s English speech. Next, the whole audience shouted “Okay”. It was in this echo that Tsai Ing-wen said, “Which road will Taiwan take in the next four years? Have you been good in the past four years? Do not make wrong decisions on Saturday. Choosing Tsai Ing-wen is to choose social harmony. Choosing Ma Ying-jeou is to choose social confrontation. Happiness is very simple. When you sleep every night, you know that there will be work tomorrow morning. Tsai Ing-wen will not intimidate the people, but will only bring stability to the people. I have many plans to bring stability and happiness to the people.”


On the venue of a vigorous evening party filled with stinky tofu, people shouted “elected” everywhere.


Compared with mainlanders on the other side, Taiwanese undoubtedly have a national Carnival called the presidential election. Tonight, people unfolded banners and raised flags or raised balloons with the words “Women make the world”, “Taiwan’s new hopes, a female president”, “a Hakka girl, and Tsai Ing-wen will be the president”, etc. At the moment when Tsai Ing-wen appeared, people shouted “Hello, President”.


Among the cheering crowds, the agents were quiet, well-trained and expressionless in black clothes and pants, with submachine guns in black suits in their hands, ready to deal with shots at any time.


I stood near the photographic stand of the press gallery near the stage, not far from his right hand, and there was a 20-year-old white fat young man who sang loudly when the singer sang. When Tsai Ing-wen appeared on the scene, he suddenly rushed to the edge of the stage and shouted to Tsai Ing-wen: “Chen Shui-bian, a corrupt criminal”.


In a riot, the agent dragged him back, and he started shouting again. I heard the agent say, “If you shout again, we will arrest you!” As soon as the voice fell, the fat white boy retreated quickly and disappeared into the crowd.


Until the end, the long and short guns were only quietly lying in the handbags of the agents. The two bullets in 2004 did not happen, and the Taiwan voters were not shocked by new ones.


  1. The Green Camp lost and Blue Camp won in the race for venue on the night before election


January 13th is the night before the election. In all parts of Taiwan, the KMT, the DPP and the PFP have to do the final campaign. The most powerful place is the capital Taipei. In Taipei’s pre-election night, the Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the presidential palace is the most eye-catching. In order to win this strategic highland, all parties must compete for it.


On January 10th, the Liberty Times, an organ newspaper of the DPP, wrote about the night before the election of the Green Camp, saying that “all the venues planned for the night before the election of the Green Camp were stolen by the KMT, and we were eventually forced to be held in the sixteenth peasant farm with a smaller area. As long as the number of people exceeds thirty thousand, the venue will burst”.


According to a Taiwanese politician, there is an episode in the so-called KMT’s preemption of the venue. A few months ago, the Taipei Municipal Government opened its pre-election night venue registration. The DPP staff got up early and arrived at the registration office with the door closed. They were happy that the KMT was still sleeping, and the venue in front of the presidential palace was their own. They carelessly took out their cigarettes and strolled down the streets nearby.


When they returned to the registration office, they found that the KMT people were ahead of them, and they could do nothing about it. Finally, the treasure land in front of the presidential palace was given to the KMT.



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