Monty: Here we are, back at the WPT.
Anna: Back on my bullshit, as it were. Now you’ve been excited as hell for this weekend’s topic, meaning we’re going to do it EVEN THOUGH the Sussex thing happened yesterday and I have OPINIONS ON THAT. Tell me about another country interfering in an election, a conspiracy-theory-sounding series of unfortunate events that actually happened, and somehow none of this is describing the US.
Monty: As we speak, Taiwan is holding a general election for the President, Vice President, and the legislature, known as the Yuan. Although there are several parties, the main contest is between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, led by President Tsai Ing-Wen, and the Kuomintang, the right-wing party led by Presidential nominee Han Kuo-Yu, a man described locally as “Taiwan’s Donald Trump.”
Taiwan is an unusual country in that most of the world used to recognize it as a legitimate state, but no longer does. Technically speaking, it is the Republic of China, the remnant of Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist government, which has been in exile on Taiwan since the 1949 Communist revolution. As such, Taiwan’s government considers itself the legitimate ruler of present-day Mainland China, Mongolia, and even a small part of Russia called Tannu Tuva. However, this claim has become ever more hollow as the Communist mainland has only grown in power– and used that power to pressure the rest of the world into ceasing relations with Taiwan.
Taiwan’s lingering territorial claims are actually one of the biggest issues in this election, if not the biggest. President Tsai and the DPP have toyed with the idea of salvaging the country’s global relations by renouncing these claims. This was initially pretty unpopular, and it suddenly looked like the Kuomintang might actually win today’s vote.
Then Mr. Wang happened, and all hell broke loose.
In November, a Mainland Chinese citizen named Wang Liqiang was granted asylum in Australia. Wang claims that he is a defecting Chinese intelligence agent charged with rigging the Taiwanese election through online disinformation and covert financial assistance to the Communists’ preferred party. He also claims to have been previously involved in covert activity against the protests in Hong Kong.
For their part, the People’s Republic of China says that Mr. Wang is a convicted fraudster. However, he had no criminal record when China granted him an exit visa to Australia, and video released by the PRC claiming to show him “confessing” is garbled and suspected of doctoring. The Australian government believes this man is credible, and the Taiwanese government and people have been listening.
But it gets weirder: Wang claims that the PRC is trying to rig the election in favor of their historic archenemy, the Kuomintang. Suspciously, Mr. Han has pivoted the KMT toward a much more pro-Beijing policy.
If Ms. Tsai and her Democratic Progressives prevail in today’s election, The People’s Republic could no longer bully the world into abandoning Taiwan: one of the greatest blows to Mainland Chinese power in prestige in decades. This could be one of the most important elections of 2020.
Since these revelations, the DPP has rebounded and is now projected to win in a landslide.
Anna: well monty, the time has come. If this fascinating subject interests me and I want to continue reading, what sources would be good to start with (I’ve spent a whole week yelling SOURCE every time he brings it up because I thought surely this is not real. But NOPE, it is. Here is just one recent article about the allegations https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/09/spy-scandal-rocks-taiwan-ahead-weekend-elections/amp/#aoh=15785962584323&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s but I still like bossing you around so give me another)
Monty: Let’s just link it into the text where it’s relevant.
Anna: (he then proceeded to add in the 60 minutes interview above while I gave him a hard time about it messing with the banter, the only real contribution I made this week)
Monty: Hey, I’ve been gone for a month. I have a lot of time to make up.
Anna: You came back just in time to stop me from writing a dissertation on #Megit
as always, no threats, personal attacks, wishful thinking about other political figures getting assassinated, or red handle violations (personal comments about appearances). If things get scary here tag a mod or email us at avocadomods @gmail.com