The unrest in Tibet has become a hot issue in the run up to Taiwan’s presidential elections. For the second time this week, Frank Hsieh – presidential candidate of the governing Democratic Progressive Party – has attended an event to show his support and solidarity for the people of Taiwan.Around 2,000 people turned out for the event at Daan Park.
Mr Hsieh is using the issue to mobilize his supporters in the final days of this campaign; and believes that it can help him to narrow the gap between him and his rival, election frontrunner Ma Ying-jeou.
While both men have condemned the violence and called for the restraint, Mr Hsieh says the events have implications for Taiwan. He says Taiwan could be the next Tibet and has highlighted the threats that China poses . Her says he's the man who can best safeguard the island’s interests.
Mr Ma – anxious to fend off attacks that he is soft on China says if he is elected and the situation in Tibet worsens, he would not rule out the possibility of a Taiwanese boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games.
But he still wants to purse closer economic ties with China and pursue an eventual peace treaty. He says he’s fully aware of the risks China poses but argues negotations are the best way to minimize the risks and maximize the opportunities
The big question is how much impact events in Tibet will have on voters in the final days of the campaign. Some people told me they were strongly green (ie dpp) or blue (kmt) and that Tibet would not be a factor. But the undecided voters or those referred to as "light green" might be swayed.