A year ago, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was on the ropes. Pro-Chinese views were bubbling up in Taiwan and Tsai’s pro-independent party was losing ground quickly. But then something happened, and that something was Hong Kong.
As China ignored and then rebuffed the citizen of Hong Kong as the protested against an extradition bill that would allow the Chinese to charge someone in Hong Kong with a crime and then demand they be turned over, the Taiwanese took notice.
Hong Kong is supposed to operate under a separate system until 2047, but it sure looks like the Chinese are enforcing their will today, which has the Taiwanese backing away from closer relations. China maintains that Taiwan is part of the Chinese empire even though Taiwan operates independently, has its own military, and doesn’t agree.
As the protests in Hong Kong continued, Tsia made a comeback. Over the weekend, she was re-elected in a landslide and said she would not cave to Chinese threats. Her party also picked up a majority of seats in parliament.
But the Chinese aren’t changing.
China’s ramped up efforts to get democratic Taiwan to accept Beijing’s rule under a “one country, two systems” model, as well as anti-government protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, dominated the election campaign.
China says Taiwan is its territory. Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name.
Speaking on Saturday after the scale of her victory become clear, Tsai called for talks to resume with China, but said she hoped Beijing understood Taiwan and its people won’t submit to intimidation.
China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement:
“No matter what changes there are to the internal situation in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China will not change.”
The Chinese government will not change its stance sticking to the “one China” principle and opposing Taiwan independence, it added.
“The universal consensus of the international community adhering to the ‘one China’ principle will not change either.”
China hoped the world would understand and support the “just cause” of Chinese people to oppose secessionist activities and “realize national reunification”, the ministry added.