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Cablegate: Kaohsiung College Students Interested in Politics And

VZCZCXRO0581
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHIN #1848 2270638
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150638Z AUG 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6373
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7127
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1284
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 2034
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 6003
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0464
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8375

UNCLAS TAIPEI 001848

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AIT/W, EAP/TC, INR/EAP

FROM AIT KAOHSIUNG BRANCH OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL TW
SUBJECT: Kaohsiung College Students Interested in Politics and
Upcoming Taiwan Presidential Election

1. (U) Summary: Student interviewees told AIT/K that southern
Taiwan's youth are interested in politics and view the 2008
presidential election as an opportunity to make their voices heard
through the ballot box. The students expressed concern about
corruption and the shortage of high-paying job prospects and
suggested greater cross-Strait opening would improve Taiwan's
economy. They stressed the need for increased government
transparency, an unbiased media, and an independent judiciary to
strengthen Taiwan's democracy. End summary.

2. (U) During a recent series of interviews with AIT/K, groups of
students from Wenzao Ursuline College and Sun Yat-sen University
expressed strong dissatisfaction with Taiwan's current DPP
government. Relatively well informed on domestic and international
politics, the students generally agreed that much change is needed
for Taiwan to become a mature democracy. Young KMT and DPP
supporters alike perceived the economy as being in decline and
blamed the Chen administration for the dearth of well-paying jobs.
The students suggested that increased cooperation with China and
establishing direct transportation links would improve Taiwan's
economy.

3. (U) The students voiced concern about corruption and the intense
rivalry between political parties. They favored increased
government transparency, an unbiased media, and an independent
judiciary. Most felt that the 2008 presidential election would
present an opportunity for the younger generation to promote
political reform. A number of students told AIT/K that they plan to
vote for candidates who are in favor of greater opening toward
Mainland China.

4. (U) The students named a variety of venues through which they are
able to voice their concerns and play a role in politics. Many
students said they contribute to their university newspapers and
some join political parties to push for specific issues. Still
others initiate political discussions in the classroom and hone
their political awareness by joining international conferences or
student leadership camps. They told us that a growing number of
students are interested in pursuing careers in government, some for
job security, but others hoping to work in government to try to
promote change. Wenzao and Sun Yat-sen students unanimously agreed
that voting is the easiest and most effective way for young people
to be heard in Taiwan, and they expressed hope that their peers will
turn out at the polls.

5. (U) Comment: Taiwan's younger generation (ages 20-28), which
makes up about 16% of the population, has the potential to
significantly impact the 2008 presidential elections. However,
despite expressing a desire to vote, young voters often do not show
up at the ballot box on Election Day. End comment.


Thiele

Young

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