Tuesday 19 Feb 2019 | 09:18 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 19 Feb 2019 | 09:18 | SYDNEY

Digital Asia links (Taiwan election special): #Tsainami, Weibo, online trolls, cats and more



22 January 2016 09:45

The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • A Twitter #Tsainami welcomed Tsai Ing-wen upon her 16 January victory in Taiwan's elections.
  • The Chinese Cyberspace Administration allegedly ordered online media outlets not to go over the Strait to cover Taiwan's elections, but some of them did anyway.
  • Collated Instagram and Twitter photos from the Wall Street Journal of pre-election rallies.
  • Popular Chinese social media platform Weibo censored results for 'Taiwan' and 'Tsai Ing-wen' during the election.  
  • Before delivering her acceptance speech on 16 January, Tsai Ing-wen spoke to media (with live English translation). Watch for her comments (including in the Q&A) on cross-Strait relations and the South China Sea.
  • During this media briefing she also spoke strongly about the  the alleged coerced apology made by teenage Taiwanese pop star Chou Tzu-yu (a K-pop band member) for waving a Taiwanese flag on South Korean TV, stating: 'this particular incident will serve as a constant reminder to me about the importance of our country's strength and unity to those outside our borders. This will be one of the most important responsibilities for me as the next President of the Republic of China.'
  • The Tzu-yu incident caused an uproar in Taiwan on the eve of the election, becoming an unexpected last-minute election issue. The apology, which has racked up more than 6.5 million YouTube views, can be watched here with English subtitles. 
  • China-cautious digital diplomacy played out internationally as congratulations were offered by world leaders (Japan, Honduras), presidential offices (the US), foreign ministers (Germanythe UK, Japan) and foreign ministries (US, CanadaSingaporeAustralia, the EUFrance etc.).
  • Tsai Ing-wen merchandise, including cat backpacks and cat calendars, have sold out online.
  • Reuters has reported that the popularity of the phrase 'use force to unify Taiwan' has soared on Weibo.
  • Following the election, Tsai Ing-wen's Facebook page was trolled by Chinese netizens. The President-elect's response to the 40,000- hostile comments: 'The greatness of this country lies in how every single person can exercise their rights.'
  • Online petitions 'to recognise Taiwan as a country' have been filed with the White House and the UK Government. The UK petition is on track to reach 100,000 signatures which means it may join Donald Trump and be debated in UK parliament.

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