Taiwan’s local elections began on Saturday, with President Tsai Ing-wen framing the event as a message to the world about the island’s determination to defend its democracy in the face of China’s rising bellicosity.
The elections for mayors, county chiefs, and local councilors are ostensibly about domestic issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and crime, but those elected will have no direct influence over China policy.
Tsai, on the other hand, has reframed the election as more than just a local vote, claiming that the world is watching how Taiwan defends its democracy amid military tensions with China, which claims the island as its territory. Tsai told supporters late on Friday that “Taiwan is facing strong external pressure.
The expansion of Chinese authoritarianism is challenging the people of Taiwan every day to adhere to the bottom line of freedom and democracy.”