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Part #2
Written by Elaine Sue


JUST LIKE SPAIN'S TRAIN MASSACRE on March 11, with it’s election to occur the weekend of, an election was about to be held in Taiwan on March 20 with an assassination attempt on Chen, Shui-bian and his vice president Annette Lu the day before.

IT WAS INCUMBENT CHEN, Shui-bian vs. his competitor Lien Chan. This competition of the presidency, like all close elections got pretty ugly; and just like Korea’s presidential election last year and our U.S. presidential election in 2000, the race was very tight and very close.

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA and views of both candidates: Chen is a pro-democratic and wants to have his island country completely separate from Taiwan. His competitor, Lien, who agrees with him to a certain extent, wants to work a little bit more closely with the Mainland and not separate the island from it. In fact, Chen is so determined to separate Taiwan from China that he even proposed a referendum on the issue. He wanted voters to decide if they agree or disagree.

CHINA, JUST LIKE ITS NEIGHBOR NORTH KOREA, likes to be a bit of a trouble-maker. China is not afraid to use scare tactics to try to get its way, whether believable or not. In a previous election, China tried to shoot missiles off the coast of the Taiwan, which reinforced people to vote for Lee, Teng-hui back into office because of his views in relation to the Mainland.

CHINA IS READY TO FIGHT, and fight to the death. To the death meaning, there are a few weapons, missiles, and other hardware aimed at Taiwan, and a “war” might be on the horizon. That is, if Taiwan seeks a permanent split from China. So China said even before the elections of March 20th took place.


As a graduate of Madonna University in Japanese Studies, Sue took the chance and went to Seoul, South Korea to teach English for Berlitz language schools. She lived there for almost three years gaining lifelong friendships and joining with International Friendship Society.

She has been inspired to not only write about her experiences in various formats found on the Internet and elsewhere about the East Asian region, but to also pursue more higher education (hopefully Master’s Degree and possible Ph.D) concerning the area especially that of the Korean peninsula.

Korean Memories

She feels it is her calling because the people she knows from Korea, Taiwan, an Japan have personally touched and inspired her to speak about it and teach people to look at the unique human, not racial qualities of the Asian people.

CHINA MORE THAN ANYTHING wants the island to follow in the footsteps of Hong Kong and Macau with its “one China two systems” policy.

BOTH CHINA AND TAIWAN SPLIT during civil war in 1949. Since then, relations have been a little tense and not as formal as some had hoped.

ON THE EVE OF THE ELECTIONS, Chen and his female vice-president Ms. Lu were in a motorcade traveling through the southern Taiwan city of Tainan. While parading in the streets, firecrackers rang out in celebration for good luck and prosperity.

WHILE THE FIRECRACKERS SOUNDED, Chen was hit with something. At first he thought it was a fragment from one of the firecrackers, but when he felt something wet and looked down, he knew it was much more than that. He had been hit with a bullet, which luckily didn’t cause any serious damage to his belly.

HOWEVER, HE WASN'T THE ONLY ONE STRUCK. The vice president was also hit, but on her knee, and like Chen, she thought that she too had been hit by a firecracker fragment.

WHOEVER DID THIS probably had a motive. Since the day of the shooting, conspiracy theorists and others have come up with questions like: Was the shooting staged to gain sympathy for the incumbent president? Was it a deranged person, like that of John Hinckley shooting then US President Ronald Regan in 1981, so he could impress someone? Was this person opposed to Chen’s politics?

ONE INTERESTING THEORY has suggested that the shooting was carried out by gangsters who use only homemade guns, placing big bets on the election and wanted to create the sympathy vote for Chen. In fact, there is a vast illegal gambling industry, and millions of these dollars had been placed on the outcome of the race.

HOWEVER, THIS WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME that Chen was accused of capitalizing previously on an illegal assassination attempt. The last time it happened, it was his wife who became the target. Chen charged that political enemies in the Kuomingtang were behind a 1985 death plot in which his wife Wu, Shu-chen, was left paralyzed from the waist down after being run over three times by a truck. The KMT and the truck driver claimed that it was an accident, and thus no charges were filed.

AS FAR AS THE RESULTS, the Central Election Commission said that Chen won 50.1 percent of the vote, while Lien received 49.9 percent. About 13 million ballots were cast for a turnout of 80 percent.

THE REFERENDUM ON THE BALLOT, which some speculated might’ve helped Chen win his victory a little bit more, concerned whether the island should increase it’s defense against China, and seek talks with Beijing. It failed, and was not deemed legal since under 40 percent voted on the issue. This was in part due to the Nationalistic Party’s efforts to rally most people to skip the vote.

WITH THE REFERENDUM now called invalid, the United States is going to be more cautious and conservative toward the China/Taiwan issue. It also shows how split the Taiwanese are about the issue as a whole.

IF THERE WERE THE DOUBLE DEFEAT of Chen and his referendum, it would’ve meant that the majority of people in Taiwan would favor the idea of reunification, which is what it was originally centered around in the first place.

WHAT HAS HURT LIEN CHAN'S PARTY more than anything has been the victory of Chen, Shui-bian’s return to presidency. Lien claims that because of the assassination attempt on Chen, Taiwanese cast their sympathy and the incumbent back to his position. Before the election, he didn’t think it would be possible. But, after losing, he’s changed his mind.

ON TOP OF THAT, some 300,000 ballots were also deemed invalid, and if they were to be a part of the count, it could’ve change the decision that Lien’s party would like to have to his favor, and thus he has asked for a recount in a recent civil lawsuit.

A TOP RULING PARTY OFFICIAL SAID that checking the votes is not a problem if Lien’s party can prove it needs to be done under reasonable suspicion and if it could be found to preserve the integrity of Taiwan’s democracy and the rule of law. Chen has declared that he is willing for a full recount and agreed to allow the Cabinet to propose a revision to the President and Vice President allowing for a retroactive vote recount.

THIS COULD ALL WELL HAPPEN if the legislature worked together to pass the revision immediately and if Lien and his party withdrew their civil suit. This would also allow the ballots to be released from the Taiwan High Court, to which all Taiwanese citizens have been protesting for since the outcome of this close election. The ballots can then be examined through a legal procedure and that could take up to at least six months to complete.

IF A STATE OF EMERGENCY were to occur, the recount could be treated more carefully and perhaps the process would be done faster. The president or a respected, designated representative could also be involved to oversee that there is no forgery. However, from the reports that have come out within the last few days, it doesn’t seem like any side would go that far, claiming that they would “lose face” to Taiwan’s people and the world.

AS FAR AS THE PEOPLE OF TAIWAN are concerned, they’re a little bewildered. From the people I’ve contacted with, Lien’s team got the majority of the vote, but they too wondered if Chen had cheated the system for his own gain and victory.

IF IT TURNS OUT THAT CHEN CHEATED the system, he would fall in the line of where President Bush is now standing in the eyes of some, during his re-election campaign at the moment: a cheater.

WHAT ADVANTAGE does someone have to “cheat” the system? It only makes him look greedy and selfish in the eyes of others.

THE ASSISSINATION ATTEMPT ON CHEN, like any other attempts in the past on leaders is a scary thing, as well as a tragedy in and of it self. But if you are to use a tragedy for only political gains and for votes, you really have lost your face, and your mind.

STAY TUNED. . . . . . .


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