This picture of a voting slip used in the Taiwan 2012 election was retweeted more than 2,000 times on Sina Weibo.
Two days after Ma Ying-jeou’s successful re-election, Chinese internet users still can’t stop talking about Taiwan’s 2012 presidential election. On Sina Weibo, China’s largest microblogging platform, the election has remained the top trending topic as Chinese netizens look across the Taiwan straits and ponder over their own democratic future. Here is a selection of some of the most viral posts on Sina Weibo on the Taiwan election:
Author Qin Biaoxi (覃彪喜):
When I saw Sinopec’s 12 million RMB chandelier, I was not jealous; When I saw Guo Meimei’s Maserati, I was not jealous; When I saw the 3,000 square metre luxury apartment bought by the former chief engineer Zhou Shuguang of the Ministry of Railways in the US, I was not jealous; When I saw that the former Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun had been sleeping with actresses from the Dream of the Red Mansion, I was not jealous; When I saw the son of an official trample upon the law saying “My dad is Li Gang”, I was not jealous; When I saw the people of Taiwan elect their own president under a one-man-one-vote system, I was jealous.
Traveller and cyclist @行者谭迁:
When Ma Ying-jeou got elected, his wife Zhou Meiqing resigned from her position as Megabank director, his sister Ma Yinan quit from her post as Deputy General Manager of China Chemical & Pharmaceutical Co, and his brother-in-law Zhou Weiqi resign from his job as director of United LPG, all because they wanted to avoid suspicion of conflict of interest. Their total combined monthly salary was at least RMB850,000. To uphold fairness and justice and to avoid being caught in compromising situations, they laid it all down. Compare all that with the cronyism and nepotism on the mainland.
Author Murong Xuecun (慕容雪村):
If it’s at all possible to assign scores for democracy, then today’s Taiwan is probably a lot more democratic than many of the more established democracies of the world. These people are like you and I — yellow skinned, brown-eyed, speak Mandarin, and eat Chinese food. Those people that think democracy is not suitable for the Chinese people can now shut up. Those people that say democracy is not possible because the Chinese people are not well-educated enough, or that China is too unique for it, can now shut up. Those people that are still going on about how socialism is superior — please, either go to North Korea for a taste of real socialism, or shut up.
Hong Kong-based Phoenix Media @凤凰东方传媒：
In one of Ma Ying-jeou’s rallies, he said, “If everyone just wanted to take from the nation without giving back, how will this country see better days ahead? If everyone were corrupt, would this nation be strong? Wherever I go, I have rejected special treatment. Wherever I go, I eat out of my own pocket, and out of my own expenses. If I take your car, I’ll pay you for the cab ride; If I stay at your hotel, I’ll pay you for the accommodation; If I eat at your restaurant, I’ll pay you for the meal. I won’t take a single cent from this country.” Is there any official on the mainland that dares to say the same thing?
Private investment banker Wang Ran @王冉：
Look at Taiwan and think about the future. Democracy does not require a 90% turnout rate. Neither does it need well-educated voters who do not spit. Nor does it need to be accomplished overnight. At a certain stage, you don’t even need multiple parties. It only requires two things to function: freedom of the press, and more than one choice. It may not be the best system, it may not be the fairest system, and it may not guarantee economic prosperity. But it gives every citizen the power to avoid the worst outcome.
In the re-election of Ma Ying-jeou, 18 million Taiwan voters were co-stars, while another 1.3 billion mainland residents became a captivated and openly envious audience. The shouts of democracy and election that have rung day and night are like a big tight slap across our face, one that leaves our cheeks burning and our ears ringing. There is hope for democracy on the mainland. Come, everybody, let’s talk about democracy and elections on Sina, Tencent, NetEase and Sohu.
Beijing Film Academy professor and social critic Cui Weiping (崔卫平)：
Even if you don’t have the vote in your hand, you’re not completely without choice. If you can’t elect your own leader, you can still choose how you will live. You can choose to live your life with dignity, reason and responsibility. You have your eyes, your mouth, your heart, your stand and your judgement. China’s future has everything to do with the next step that your feet will take.