The issue of identity re-entered the presidential campaign yesterday after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) defined himself as “Taiwanese” in response to a campaign slogan introduced by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last week that highlights her intention to enhance her public identification as Taiwanese.
Writing on his Facebook page, Ma, who is seeking re-election in January next year, dismissed Tsai’s accusations that he was undermining the nation’s sovereignty and identity, saying he identified himself as Taiwanese and a citizen of the Republic of China (ROC).
“I am a descendant of the Yellow Emperor in blood and I identify with Taiwan in terms of my identity. I fight for Taiwan and I am Taiwanese,” Ma wrote. “In nationality, I am an ROC citizen and I am the president of the ROC.”
Tsai last week introduced her “I am a Taiwanese” campaign slogan, which follows up her two earlier slogans “Taiwan NEXT” and “Taiwan, what do you want?”
Tsai has vowed to devote more resources toward enhancing Taiwanese recognition in the international community if the DPP regains the presidency next year. At a campaign event on Friday last week, she accused Ma and the government of damaging the nation’s sovereignty and identity, adding that the president “finds it difficult to say the word ‘Taiwanese’ out loud.”
Ma’s posting was in contrast with a posting by New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) on Monday, who clearly identified himself as Chinese.
“I am Yok Mu-ming and I am Chinese,” the head of the New Party, which is closely aligned with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), wrote in a text message sent to reporters.
Amid tensions between the People First Party, another party in the pan-blue camp, and the KMT over cooperation in the legislative elections, Yok said Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, and Tsai should clarify their stance on national identity and he urged the two parties to defend the ROC.
Ma campaign office spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” was the Ma administration’s constant position and that “one China” referred to the ROC.
Also yesterday, Ma’s campaign office introduced four members who will focus on Ma’s online election campaign via social networking platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and Plurk.
Yin said the four members, who are all in their 30s, would work with the team to promote campaign events via the Internet and allow younger voters to learn more about Ma and his campaign platform, and to communicate with the president in a more creative and direct way.