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Ma Ying-jeou’s Presidential Discourse

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Author(s): Jonathan Sullivan | Eliyahu V. Sapir

Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
ISSN 1868-1026

Volume: 41;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 33;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Political science | Taiwan | cross-Strait relations | automated text analysis | presidential discourse | 300 | 320 | Taiwan | Contemporary

ABSTRACT
Despite the substantial advances made in cross-Strait relations during Ma Ying-jeou’s (Ma Yingjiu) first term, the ROC president’s rhetoric varied considerably as he grappled with the difficult reality of implementing campaign and inauguration pledges to establish better relations with China while striving to maintain national respect and sovereignty. In this article, we put forward a framework for measuring, analysing and explaining this variation in President Ma’s first-term discourse. Analysing a very large number of Ma’s speeches, addresses, etc., we provide empirical assessments of how the content of Ma’s public pronouncements has developed over time, how his rhetoric varies according to the strategic context and timing of a speech, and how his discourse compares to that of his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian (Chen Shuibian). In addressing these questions, the article contributes a quantitative perspective to existing work on political discourse in Taiwan and to the growing methodological and applied literature on how to systematically analyse Chinese political text.
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