Taiwan goes to polls in closely watched local vote ahead of presidential election

Voters headed to the polls across Taiwan on Saturday in a closely watched local election that will determine the strength of the major political parties ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Taiwanese citizens are picking their mayors, city council members and other local leaders in all 13 counties and the six major cities. There’s also a referendum to lower the voting age from 20 to 18. While international observers and the ruling party have attempted to link the elections to the long-term existential threat that is Taiwan’s neighbour, many local…

China threat looms in Taiwan’s local elections as voters weigh island’s future

On Sunday afternoon 150,000 people gathered in front of the Taipei city hall. Harley motorcycles, giant floats, balloons and mascots led the parade to a soundtrack of music banned in China. It looked like a concert, but on this day the main act was a politician. The crowds were there to support Taipei mayoral candidate Chen Shih-chung, a former minister of health with the governing Democratic Progressive party (DPP). Supporters excitedly waved flags and screamed “win the election!”. One of Chen’s main rivals for the seat, which is considered a…

Beloved giant panda given to Taiwan by China dies aged 18 after seizures

A panda given to Taiwan by China 14 years ago as a symbol of what were then warmer ties died on Saturday, after suffering seizures, Taipei zoo said. Tuan Tuan and his breeding mate Yuan Yuan were given to Taiwan by Beijing in late 2008, at a time when relations between the two were more cordial. China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day bring the self-ruled democratic island into its fold, by force if necessary. “Our medical team has confirmed that Tuan Tuan’s…

Beijing Signals Optimism for U.S. Ties After Biden-Xi Meeting

beijing signals optimism for u s ties after biden xi meeting

The prominent position of the photo on the front page of China’s main official newspaper spoke volumes: In it, the nation’s leader, Xi Jinping, smiled and shook hands with President Biden against a backdrop of Chinese and American flags. For months, the newspaper, People’s Daily, has featured Mr. Xi’s warnings that China must steel itself militarily and politically for an era of strife, denunciations of American policy and Communist Party officials’ warnings that “hostile forces” — that is, the United States — were eager to sabotage China’s rise. A day…

As Xi Jinping begins a third term, Australia must push to engage China on common interests | Jennifer Hsu

For Australia, everything can seem China-adjacent. But the reverse is hardly ever true. It is unlikely Xi Jinping – confirmed as China’s national leader for a historic third term this week – is up to speed with the latest developments in Australia-China relations, and perhaps not even those with the US, despite the number of recent flashpoints in bilateral relations, from Taiwan to US restrictions on technology exports to China. But China’s centralisation and consolidation of power has major implications for Australia and the rest of the world. Xi is…

Why People Are Flocking to a Symbol of Taiwan’s Authoritarian Past

why people are flocking to a symbol of taiwans authoritarian past

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Ringed by barbed wire and high gray walls, and once the site of a secretive military detention center, the museum just south of Taipei makes for a surprising tourist hot spot. The Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park, housed on the campus of a former military school, is a chilling reminder of the excesses of Taiwan’s not-so-distant authoritarian past when its rulers imposed martial law for four decades. The moldering concrete buildings with fading paint were once the site of secret tribunals where political dissidents were tried and…

Xi Jinping’s party purge prompts fears of greater Taiwan invasion risk

Xi Jinping’s purging of political rivals and elevation of loyalists to the top ranks of the Chinese Communist party has raised fears that his now unfettered and unquestionable power could increase the risk of an attack on Taiwan. Beijing has pledged to annex Taiwan under a disputed claim that it is a Chinese province, and in recent years has increased its military activity and other forms of harassment and coercion. No timeline has been set, but senior defence figures have said China could be capable of invasion as early as…

Xi Jinping Now Holds Near-Absolute Power in China, Creating Risks

xi jinping now holds near absolute power in china creating risks

When China’s leader, Xi Jinping, led six dark-suited men onto a bright red stage on Sunday, the scale of his victory became clear as one by one he introduced the country’s new ruling inner circle. Each was an acolyte of Mr. Xi, making his grip over China’s future tighter than ever. Mr. Xi’s groundbreaking third term as leader, following a weeklong Communist Party congress, was entirely expected. But even seasoned observers who thought that they had taken the full measure of Mr. Xi have been astonished by how thoroughly he…

Could Xi follow Putin’s example and try to annex Taiwan? – video explainer

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, struck a more assertive than usual note at the 20th Communist party congress in Beijing on Sunday, as he laid out his vision for the country’s relationship with the self-governing island of Taiwan. The ‘wheels of history’ were moving towards reunification, he said, and ‘complete reunification of the motherland must be achieved and can definitely be achieved’. Tensions over the island hit a nadir this summer when the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, embarked on a controversial visit to Taipei, provoking a fierce response from…

How Taiwan’s Ambitious Diplomacy Aims to Keep the Island Safe From China

how taiwans ambitious diplomacy aims to keep the island safe from china

TAIPEI, Taiwan — To maintain diplomatic ties with Guatemala, Taiwan pays the country’s lobbyists in Washington. With its allies in the Pacific, Taiwan has promised to help preserve indigenous cultures, and to thank Lithuania, Taiwan’s newest unofficial ally, the government and local shoppers have embraced its imports, from lasers to bacon-flavored schnapps. The fear of being swallowed by China — increasingly adamant in its authoritarian claims over the self-ruled democracy — focuses the diplomatic mind. Few places in the world can claim to be as scrappy with statecraft or as…