Jan 11, 2020

Taiwan's president wins re-election in retort to Chinese efforts

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen smiles as she leaves after casting her vote in the presidential election on January 11, 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: Carl Court / Staff/Getty Images

Taiwanese voters re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen in the general election on Saturday, as opposition leader Han Kuo-yu conceded defeat and offered his congratulations, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters per Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: After offering voters a stark choice between a democracy with her or dictatorship with China, Tsai has won re-election in a stunning retort to Beijing — she received more votes than any candidate in Taiwan’s democratic history.

The state of play:

  • Tsai's campaign invoked imagery of the months-long Hong Kong protests, and advocated for a Taiwanese identity separate from mainland China's, the Wall Street Journal writes.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping previously signaled the need to bring Taiwan under the control of the Communist Party using the "one country, two systems" model, the same system used in Hong Kong, per the Wall Street Journal.
  • Yes, but: Beijing’s heavy-handed approach with Hong Kong has shown Taiwanese voters what “one country, two systems” really means — and they "don't want Taiwan to become another Hong Kong," voter Chen Ya-ting told the WSJ.

Go deeper: China steps up political interference ahead of Taiwan's elections

Go deeper

China steps up political interference ahead of Taiwan's elections

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Taiwan's Jan. 11 presidential election approaches, the Chinese government is spreading disinformation and taking coercive political maneuvers aimed at convincing voters Taiwan is helpless without China.

Why it matters: China is meddling in the internal political affairs of numerous countries around the world. In Taiwan, China's multi-pronged campaign to sway voter behavior demonstrates Beijing's growing ability to challenge the foundations of democratic governance.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

Hong Kong reports first coronavirus death as hospital workers strike

Doctors register on Monday for the medical workers strike in support of closing the border with mainland China. Photo: Aidan Marzo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong reported its first death from the novel coronavirus on Tuesday morning local time.

Why it matters: The second reported death outside of mainland China came as over 2,400 Hong Kong medical workers went on strike to demand authorities fully close the border with mainland China to stop the spread of the virus, per the South China Morning Post.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 4, 2020 - Health

Congress seeks answers from World Bank over hiring rules for Taiwan nationals

World Bank President David Malpass. Photo: Indraneel Chowdhury/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Congress asked the World Bank to clarify its hiring practices, following an Axios report in December that revealed the international financial institution told staff, contractors and consultants from Taiwan to present Chinese travel documents to maintain or pursue employment.

What's new: Bipartisan leadership on the Foreign Affairs Committees in both chambers sent a letter to World Bank President David Malpass on Jan. 7, citing concern that the rule could be considered "discrimination based on nationality," which would be inconsistent with the World Bank Group's Code of Conduct and Articles of Agreement.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020