My notes from this livestream (about 16 minutes) which can be found here: https://theduran.com/elections-in-taiwan-ruling-party-suffers-massive-defeat/
AC: let's talk about what's going on in China with the protests, it's getting a ton of coverage; and about the local elections in Taiwan, which is not getting much coverage. The ruling party of President Tsai Ing-wen got demolished. I think she said it was a referendum on her government and on Taiwan and its alignment, how it approaches China and deals with the collective West and US.
I think the Taiwanese people have spoken. You wrote me a message earlier today saying this shows the Taiwanese people do not want that island to become the next Ukraine. It's interesting that one of the things that China may have gained in its dealings with Russia wrt the conflict in Ukraine is how the Taiwanese is now not so gungho on the idea of confronting China directly.
AM: I think that's correct and that these elections have come as a surprise to everyone at least outside Taiwan. I don't know what the mood in Taiwan is, no doubt there are domestic issues at play and that they're affected by the worldwide economic problems, the global inflation and the rest. But the elections were conclusively won by the
Kuomintang, the former ruling party of Taiwan from the 1950s but one that's been losing power over the past couple of decades to the current ruling party, the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party).
The Kuomintang thinks of itself as a Chinese party, it considers Taiwan to be the Republic of China, that was its original position, it's where it retreated to after it lost the Chinese civil war in the 1940s and it's absolutely committed to One China. The Kuomintang won in all the big cities across the north, it did extremely well in these elections.
I think it's inconceivable that the people of Taiwan, as they voted, were not thinking about events over the past couple of years, especially the past year - Nancy Pelosi's visit, the Chinese military maneuvers and air flights around Taiwan when it was briefly encircled by the Chinese and basically placed under a kind of blockade, the fact that the current government has tried to import more weapons from the US, the way the US has been surreptitiously supporting the ruling party's drive toward independence.
I can't believe these events weren't at the top of people's minds when they voted and of course they would have seen what's happened with Ukraine being led up the primrose path. Even those with misgivings toward China might prefer a government that accommodates China and don't want to be another playground for the Washington neocons.
As a result President Tsai Ing-wen has had to step down as the leader of her party though she remains president of Taiwan. I think this was clearly a vote for peace by the Taiwanese people.
AC: all the focus is on the protests in China, not many Western outlets are focusing in on these elections.
AM: absolutely. I was looking at British media this morning, the Guardian has finally gotten around to writing an article about the elections and I gather there's a few others tucked away. There are BIG stories about the protests in China when in fact protests in China happen quite regularly so this is not unusual. Chinese authorities are very skilled at maintaining control, and they know very well how to let some protests take place and then clamp down on them after some steam has been released.
No article I've read has given exact numbers for how many people are protesting. My impression is these protests were relatively small, that they're isolated in a few big places like Shanghai and Beijing; they're related to an event in Urumqi in Xinxiang province (https://www.itv.com/news/2022-11-26/rare-protests-in-chinas-xinjiang-province-spark-lockdown-easing) but I don't get a sense that a critical mass of Chinese people are joining them or that they're any sort of serious challenge to the authority of the Chinese government of Xi Jinping himself.
What it may do, hopefully, is make the Chinese government realize that its lockdown policies are not only mistaken but seriously counterproductive and unsustainable. And there are signs that the Chinese government is making moves to tentatively relax the policy without going through the massive embarrassment of admitting it has failed. I think these protests will drive that process faster.
AC: because it's a failed policy.
AM: exactly. In 2020 they imposed these draconian lockdowns and bragged about how it had brought the coof under complete control. Now in 2022 China is unique in trying to keep to this policy when everywhere else to a greater or lesser degree people have come to accept that coof is here to stay.
So China has boxed itself into a corner because whenever there's an outbreak somewhere - and there's a big one at the moment, they're inevitable because China has to have contact with the outside world - they have to go back into lockdowns. People are getting impatient, they can see it's failing, creating too much disruption to people's lives, hurting the economy and so on. I think the Chinese government, like all governments keen to perpetuate its own power, will take this into account and moderate its policies even more.
AC: have the Taiwan elections signalled an end to the speculation that Taiwan is next after Ukraine?
AM: I don't think so, any hope in that direction would be premature. The neocons will see the elections as a defeat, and the invariable response of the neocons to any kind of setback is to double down and increase the pressure. I think what we'll see over the next months and the two years before the next presidential elections in Taiwan, I think there's a real risk we'll see attempts to exacerbate tensions even further.
These elections are important in showing what the Taiwanese people want but consider that Zelensky won on a peace platform in Ukraine, he was a repudiation of Poroshenko's neocon policy. And it caused all the forces that wanted a confrontation with Russia to redouble their efforts and brought about the current war. It's not impossible that something similar ended up happening in Taiwan.
AC: good analogy, I hadn't thought about that. Zelensky won with 70% plus of the vote, he campaigned 100% on Minsk and peace with Russia. That election was a referendum on what the people wanted, so the parallels are definitely there.
AM: but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that if there is a conflict, it will be against the wishes of the Taiwanese people.
there doesn't seem to be anything here