Taiwan"s pro-independence ruling Democratic Progressive Party suffered a big defeat in the local elections on the island, winning only six of the 22 cities and counties, forcing Tsai Ing-wen to announce her resignation as leader of the party. Two experts shared their views with China Daily"s Zhang Zhouxiang and Gao Qihui:
DPP"s stance has been at cost of people"s interests
The DPP"s failure this time was rather heavy.
A main reason for this is the DPP has made a series of moves over the two years since it took power that have harmed local residents" interests. In 2017, Taiwan"s GDP growth was 2.65 percent, much lower than the world average of 3.7 percent, which in turn caused the living standards of many local families to fall. At the same time, Tsai"s pension reform cut the welfare for many retirees. And when floods hit cities on the south of the island this summer, the DPP failed to render effective help to residents.
But fundamentally, it is Tsai"s refusal to uphold the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China that has brought the cross-Straits relationship to a halt since she took office, which has prevented Taiwan from benefiting from the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.
As a result, the number of mainland tourists to Taiwan has dropped by 40 percent since she entered office, which has caused the bankruptcy of tourism agencies in Taiwan and rising unemployment rates among tourist guides. Agriculture products, which previously accounted for a high percentage of Taiwan"s products to the Chinese mainland, also became overstocked.
The election shows people on the island consider the DPP"s policies to be a failure. The Taiwan voters know where their interests are and if the ruling party chooses to ignore their interests it will pay.
- Zhang Hua, an associate researcher at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Voters judge administration"s policies a resounding failure
Although both political figures inside and outside the DPP have more than once challenged it, the DPP has continued to pursue "independence" for Taiwan.
That is why, as soon as it took power in 2016, it overturned all the policies of the previous administration that benefited cross-Straits relations.
Politically, it refuses to uphold the 1992 Consensus on one China that has served as the political foundation for the cross-Straits relationship. In economic relations, it has tried to distance itself from the Chinese mainland by curbing cross-Straits trade. While in its external relations, it has tried to get the United States and Japan to act as counterbalances to the Chinese mainland.
Even in education and culture, it introduced new history textbooks for high school students, in which large parts of Chinese history were deleted.
The majority of these measures have aroused the anger of the local residents because they serve the DPP"s selfish political purposes at the cost of the residents" interests, even the island"s future. The Chinese mainland has had to take multiple measures to curb the separatist moves of Tsai and the DPP, and it is the Taiwan residents that have suffered most over the past two years.
Taiwan lost five of the 22 countries with which it had "diplomatic ties", its economy has slowed, the island even had to give up the plan of new nuclear power plants and had to use highly-polluting thermal power plants instead.
Instead of correcting their wrongs, Tsai and her colleagues have continually hyped up the cross-Straits issue and blamed the Chinese mainland for "intervening" in the election, yet they are no longer able to cheat the people.
- Liu Xiangping, a senior professor on Taiwan studies, Nanjing University