It seems the gods have smiled on Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh Chang-ting. Mr Hsieh, who at one point trailed Kuomintang rival Ma Ying-jeou by more than 20 percentage points in most opinion polls, appears to have turned the tide in the past week. The clash between police and Mr Hsieh's supporters last Wednesday night after four KMT legislators barged into the DPP's campaign office put Mr Ma's campaign in a bad light. The crackdown in Tibet has also cast a long shadow over his pledges to improve the island's relations with the mainland. Mr Hsieh can now cite the Tibet issue as evidence of the 'horror' of the Chinese Communist Party and the likely scenario under 'one-party' rule in Taiwan. DPP supporters are showing renewed confidence in the party, after months of gloom following its massive loss in January's legislative polls. Chen Chien-hsiung, a 41-year-old Tainan native, said: 'I believe those DPP supporters who didn't come out to vote in the legislative election will come out this time to vote for Hsieh Chang-ting. 'The Tibet incident just shows that whatever peace agreement is sealed, it is of no use,' he said, referring to the accord Mr Ma had said should be reached with the mainland. 'Yesterday when I joined the rally, I saw so many young people coming out for the DPP, the number was much higher than last time. I think it's because Ma Ying-jeou's common-market proposal with the mainland has scared many who fear for their chances of employment.' Cheers of support were everywhere yesterday when Mr Hsieh paid tribute to Matsu, the Goddess of the Sea, at Fuyou temple in Danshui during his campaigning. 'Matsu is imported from the mainland, but is also worshipped in Taiwan because Taiwan has religious freedom. But religious freedom is denied on the mainland,' he said, alluding to the situation in Tibet. The campaign has been going so smoothly that the former Kaohsiung mayor seemed to be enjoying himself. Even his long-time feud with President Chen Shui-bian was barely mentioned. Mr Hsieh also held a discussion with renowned Taiwanese marathon runner Kevin Lin Yi-chieh, organised by a youth organisation. No longer bothering to attack Mr Ma in front of the crowd of mainly university students, Mr Hsieh shared his life philosophy, his experience of 'overcoming adversity', and his hopes for an internationally recognised Taiwan. 'I hope that after the election, both Ma Ying-jeou and I can speak out for Taiwan together,' he said. Last night, he joined religious leaders and attended a candle-light vigil in Taipei - again to mourn the victims in Tibet. George Tsai Wei, a political analyst at Taipei's Cultural University, said that as Saturday's election entered its final stage, the outcome would hinge largely on whether Mr Ma's camp would continue to make mistakes or if the Tibet incident would generate more negative headlines.