Reports on 'regional leader' reflect concern
Mainland media offered timely reports on the election of Taiwan's 'regional leader' yesterday - with analysts saying the coverage reflected mainlanders' concerns about the future of cross-strait ties and their interest in Taiwanese-style democracy.
State-run China Central Television did not cover the election in its main newscast, but Xinhua released a four-paragraph report at about 11am as voting was under way.
It also reported at about 8pm that Kuomintang incumbent Ma Ying-jeou had declared victory, followed by a later report that his main rival, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, had resigned as chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party after failing to unseat him.
Other media carried extensive and even real time reports on the election. The websites of China News Service and the Global Times, published by People's Daily Group, ran updates of the vote count.
The website of People's Daily also had a section dedicated to election reports, which included items such as former Taiwanese leader Lee Teng-hui casting his vote.
Many internet users kept themselves posted about the election through the Sino, 163.com and Sohu portals, which offered real-time vote counting results.
Sina also provided links to a webpage that offered live broadcasts from major Taiwanese news channels. Transmission was not blocked through the day, but it was suspended when the three candidates held rallies after the results were out.
'All people around me are following up the election through microblogs,' one internet user said.
'All information can be disseminated immediately after it is out. I guess this did not happen four years ago.' Professor Sun Yun , from Xiamen University, said major mainland internet portals had put up extensive reports because cross-strait ties had improved over the past four years but had also faced uncertainties before Ma's re-election
'Many mainland citizens are concerned whether cross-strait ties will deteriorate. The neck-and-neck race between Ma and his rival Tsai Ing-wen is another reason why they are concerned,' he said. 'And mainland citizens are also curious about the democratic election in Taiwan. They love to watch debates and learn more about Taiwan's democracy.'
Many mainland internet users supported Ma instead of Tsai.
'It is good for Ma to be elected because Tsai is not conducive to better cross-strait ties,' one internet user said. Others expressed their support for Taiwan's democracy.
'The democratic election makes me feel proud as a Chinese,' one user said. 'I look forward to seeing the day that the wind of democracy will be blown to the mainland, which will make us outstanding in the world.'
Mainland analysts expect smooth cross-strait ties following Ma's re-election. Sun said the mainland and Taiwan may deepen the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement signed in June.
'The mainland has some expectations of post-election cross-strait ties,' he said. 'Even though signing a peace agreement is still not possible, the two sides may step up military exchanges, such as staging joint rescue exercises.'
Yang Lixian , of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the result meant the 1992 consensus was widely recognised by Taiwanese people. 'Taiwanese people do not want cross-strait ties to deteriorate,' she said. 'It is also related to the economic interests of Taiwanese people.
'The result is also a recognition of mainland policies towards Taiwan.'
But Sun said that with Tsai getting about 45 per cent of the vote, Beijing needed to be aware that her party remained an important political force.
'Both Tsai's party and the mainland have to seek ways to communicate with each other to enhance mutual trust,' he said. 'The DPP needs to seriously think how to better handle cross-strait ties.'