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    Young Taiwanese Voters Worried About Jobs, Not China


    by NTDTelevision

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    As election day fast approaches in Taiwan, the two presidential candidates are targeting young voters and attempting to appeal to their concerns. And the issues are plain: they want good jobs and better wages. For young voters, these immediate economic concerns are above the hot button issue of cross-strait relations with China.

    With Taiwan's presidential election on Saturday, the race between opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen and incumbent Ma Ying-jeou is neck-and-neck.

    The camps of the two candidates are furiously competing for the votes of a key demographic—young, first-time voters aged 20 to 24.

    Political debate in Taiwan has traditionally been dominated by the question of Taiwan's identity and relations with Mainland China. The Chinese Communist Party sees the self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province that should be reunited with the Mainland by force if necessary.

    But for young Taiwanese voters, it's jobs and wages at the top of their list of concerns.


    Unemployment for this group is roughly at 13 percent, which is way above the national average of just four percent. And salaries for many young, college-educated professionals are so low that they cannot hope to afford to buy a home.


    But some voters want more independence for Taiwan's economy.

    [Chiu Li-fen, Pharmacist]
    "I don't think we can rely on the ECFA to change Taiwan's economy. China promised to spend billions to buy our fruit but it did not happen."

    Tsai advocates a Taiwan consensus, arrived through Taiwanese people's democratic will, as the basis for future negotiations with Mainland China.

    But given the DPP's pro-independence history, Beijing remains suspicious of Tsai and her party, preferring Ma for his pursuit of closer economic relations with the Mainland.