[quote=“Ed Lakewood”]First, you’ll excuse my ignorance - Taiwanese politics is not my forte and although I’ve got Denny Roy’s Taiwan - a Political History here in front of me, I haven’t cracked it open yet (it’s on the list). So, here’s my question…
Is it fair to say that democracy here came about through US pressure?
I’m guessing the answer is ‘no.’ I suppose it came about from a variety of factors.
(I just skimmed through the relevant section, but couldn’t find a satisfactory answer.)
Answers? Articles? Opinions? Links? Sarcastic remarks?
I don’t think it was due to US pressure. I think LTH met up with a bunch of students demanding reform, decided they had a point and that was it
[quote]1990 saw the arrival of the Wild Lily student movement on behalf of full democracy for Taiwan. Thousands of Taiwanese students demonstrated for democratic reforms. The demonstrations culminated in a sit-in demonstration by over 300,000 students at Memorial Square in Taipei. Students called for direct elections of the national president and vice president and for a new election for all legislative seats. On March 21 Lee welcomed some of the students to the Presidential Building. He expressed his support of their goals and pledged his commitment to full democracy in Taiwan. The moment is regarded by supporters of democracy in Taiwan as perhaps his finest moment in office. Gatherings recalling the student movement are regularly held around Taiwan every March 21.
In May 1991 Lee spearheaded a drive to eliminate the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion, laws put in place following the KMT arrival in 1949 that suspended the democratic functions of the government. In December 1991 the original members of the Legislative Yuan, elected to represent mainland constituencies in 1948, were forced to resign and new elections were held to apportion more seats to the bensheng ren. The elections forced Hau Pei-tsun from the premiership, a position he was given in exchange for his tacit support of Lee. He was replaced by Lien Chan, then an ally of Lee and the first native Taiwanese to hold the premiership.
The prospect of the first island-wide democratic election the next year, together with Lee’s June 1995 visit to Cornell University, sparked the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis. The previous eight presidents and vice-presidents of Taiwan had been elected by the members of the National Assembly. For the first time Taiwan’s leader would be elected by majority vote of Taiwan’s population. The People’s Republic of China conducted a series of missile tests in the waters surrounding Taiwan and other military maneuvers off the coast of Fujian in response to what Communist Party leaders described as moves by Lee to “split the motherland.” The PRC government launched another set of tests just days before the election, sending missiles over the island to express its dissatisfaction should the Taiwanese people vote for Lee. The military actions disrupted trade and shipping lines and caused a temporary dip in the Asian stock market. The 1996 missile launches boosted support for Lee.
On March 23, 1996, Lee became the first popularly elected ROC president with 54% of the vote. Many people who worked or resided in other countries made special trips back to the island to vote.[/quote]
And I also think that Zhao Ziyang had much the same reaction to the protesters at Tiananmen - he basically thought they were right. Other people in the Chinese Communist Party panicked, locked him up and run the protesters over with tanks. But that wasn’t what Zhao Ziyang wanted to happen. If Gorbachev quoted him accurately he intended to do what LTH did a year later.