Just ahead of the Presidential election in Taiwan scheduled on January 11, tens and thousands of people took on streets to protest in Kaosiung City on December 21. The leading candidate is the incumbent President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen who won primaries beating former Premier William Lai while the city Mayor Han Kuo-yu represented the opposition Kuomintang party. Reportedly, the protesters were divided between two groups, while some expressed support for Han, while others opposing his nomination.
The critics of Han claimed that he abandoned his duties as a Mayor and focusses only on the election campaign. However, another mass demonstration was organised in the support of the Mayor in the noon. Both rallies came at the time when Han has seen falling behind in the polls against Taiwanese President from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Taiwan has been governed independently from China since 1949, however, Beijing views the South Asian country as its province and a part of 'One China' policy. Taiwan maintains its autonomous status and has political as well as economic relations with many nations that also recognise its sovereignty.
According to polling data, Tsai had 46 per cent of the votes while its main rival the mainland-friendly Kuomintang's (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu had 31 per cent of the votes. Han is the populist mayor of Kaohsiung and came to power on a wave of anti-DPP sentiment. DPP 's disastrous showing in the local elections was due to its largely unpopular domestic policies but since those elections, Tsai's political fortunes have changed.
Beijing has always considered Taiwan to be a part of the mainland and has always envisaged reunification, by force if necessary. After the 2016 elections where Tsai came to power, Beijing has suspended official communication with Taipei and claimed by Taiwanese media that it poached seven of its diplomatic allies and reportedly staged numerous war games to intimidate the tiny island State. But all these aggressive tactics have only bolstered Tsai's plans to take back the island. A large section of the party workers and citizens feel Beijing is giving Tsai all the ammunition it needs to win the elections.