Taiwanese Presidential Election Is a Victory for Democracy

Friends of Freedom, all hail a modern-day David—tiny, democratic Taiwan—which continues to confound its big bully of a neighbor—communist China.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen overwhelmingly won reelection, The Wall Street Journal reported, by promising to defend the island’s freedoms against threats by mainland China.

Communist officials accused
Tsai of stealing victory through smears of her rivals, fearmongering against
China, and foreign interference by—surprise—the United States.

Tsai calmly responded that
her government was prepared to start a dialogue with Beijing if the communist
regime respected Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy.

Fuming at such insolence,
the government-run Xinhua News Agency directly warned Tsai and her Democratic
Progressive Party “not to act willfully and rashly because of a temporary
fluke.”

So much for free and open
elections, a vigorous two-party political system, and an independent news media,
all of which prevail in Taiwan.

A panel of China experts meeting at The Heritage Foundation agreed that the election provided new opportunities for U.S.-Taiwan relations, starting with a free trade agreement between the two countries.

One panelist suggested that the U.S. might reconsider its 1979 action of recognizing China and move toward Taiwan, short of formal recognition. For example, a national committee on U.S.-Taiwan relations could be started, or an assistant secretary of state position for Taiwan might be created.

Stanley Kao, Taiwan’s “ambassador” to the United States, said the presidential election demonstrated that democracy works—and works well—in Taiwan because “we don’t take it for granted.”

Tragically, the Chinese Communist Party, 90 million strong, ruthlessly stamps out the smallest sign of democracy on the mainland. Meanwhile, Taiwan stands out as a brilliant beacon of democracy, infuriating Beijing, which does not dare take direct action so long as the Taiwan Relations Act ensures that the U.S. supports a peaceful resolution of the China-Taiwan conundrum.

Tsai and her colleagues are
to be congratulated for trusting the people of Taiwan to reject Mao Zedong’s
axiom that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and to put their
faith in the ballot box and the democratic process.