HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 9 no. 2 (2009)

Taiwanized “New Taiwanese”: The Effect of Taiwanization on the 2008 Presidential Election Campaign of Ma Ying-jeou

Malte Philipp Kaeding

Discipline: Political Studies



This article argues that the 2008 Presidential election campaign of the KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou witnessed a shift in the identity content of the KMT concept of "New Taiwanese" from the civic side of the spectrum towards the ethnic side. In order to become electable, Ma Ying-jeou had to portray a very "Taiwanized" image. This suggests the strong impact of two decades of Taiwanization policies, focused on the ethnic and cultural realm, on the political market of Taiwan. The emergence of the "culturally enhanced" concept of "New Taiwanese" emphasizes the importance of cultural and ethnical discourses in national identity formation. After Ma's election, his stance towards China has lacerated once again the conflict of identities that will continue to shape the future of the islands.