In Taiwan, China Fights the Rising Tide of Resistance

Jan 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen waves to supporters during a campaign rally on Jan. 7, 2020.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party waves to supporters during a recent campaign rally ahead of the island's Jan. 11 elections.

(CHAN LONG HEI/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


  • Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's expected electoral victory on Jan. 11 means tensions between Beijing and Taipei will likely intensify, strengthening U.S. options to counter China's regional influence.
  • Should the ruling Democratic Progressive Party secure a landslide victory, China may consider moderating its pressure campaign against Taiwan to insulate the party's more radical, pro-independence factions.
  • In the long term, however, Beijing will face rising resistance against its unification push, as Taiwan's younger generations gain a greater political voice while the United States works to bolster the island's defense against China.

Relations between China and Taiwan have nose-dived since the election of independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016 and are poised to plummet even further. Tsai's strong defense of Taiwan's sovereignty in the face of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong has helped pull her back from the brink of political death ahead of the island's Jan. 11 presidential elections. Not only is Tsai widely expected to win reelection, but the support garnered by the Hong Kong crisis has also improved her ruling Democratic Progressive Party's prospects in concurrent legislative elections. A victory by Tsai and her party would clear the way for Taiwan to continue inching toward independence with the help of the United States, even if doing so means inviting harder-line policies from China. Regardless of the election outcome, however, growing resistance against Beijing -- especially among Taiwan's younger generations -- will confine the ability of any Taiwanese government to pursue a path toward cooperation...

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