Democratic Progressive Party
This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)
|Founded||28 September 1986|
|Headquarters||10F-30, Beiping East Rd.|
Zhongzheng District, Taipei, Taiwan
|Think tank||New Frontier Foundation|
|National affiliation||Pan-Green Coalition|
|Regional affiliation||Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
62 / 113
3 / 6
4 / 16
238 / 912
40 / 204
^ a: The DPP has also been characterized as centrist on an international political spectrum because of its historical positioning as the major big tent opposition party supporting democracy. In general, the DPP is often described as a centre-left party, and is accepted as part of Taiwan's left-wing camp.
|Chairperson of the Central Headquarters of |
the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan
|Status||Head of party|
|Appointer||Direct party members vote|
(as Opposition Party)
President hold the position
(as Ruling Party)
|Term length||Two years, renewable once|
|Formation||November 28, 1986|
|First holder||Chiang Peng-chien|
|Unofficial names||Chairperson of the DPP of Taiwan|
|Salary||$1.5 million TWD annually|
|Democratic Progressive Party|
|Commonly abbreviated in Chinese as|
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)[I] is a Taiwanese nationalist and centre-left political party in Taiwan (Republic of China). Controlling both the Republic of China presidency and the unicameral Legislative Yuan, it is the majority ruling party and the dominant party in the Pan-Green Coalition as of 2020.
Founded in 1986, the DPP is one of two major parties in Taiwan, along with the historically dominant Kuomintang. It has traditionally been associated with strong advocacy of human rights, and a distinct Taiwanese identity. The incumbent President and three-time leader of the DPP, Tsai Ing-wen, is the second member of the DPP to hold the office.
The DPP is a longtime member of Liberal International and a founding member of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats. It represented Taiwan in the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. The DPP and its affiliated parties are widely classified as socially liberal because of their strong support for human rights, including support for same-sex marriage. They are also proponents of a Taiwanese national identity. In addition, the DPP is more willing to increase military expenditures to defend against a potential Chinese invasion, and on foreign policy favours closer ties with the United States and Japan.
The DPP's roots were in the "tangwai" – or "outside-the-KMT" – movement, which formed in opposition to the Kuomintang's one-party authoritarian rule under the "party-state" system. This movement culminated in the formation of the DPP as an alternative, but still illegal, party on 28 September 1986 by eighteen organizing members at Grand Hotel Taipei, with a total of 132 people joining the party in attendance. The new party members contested the 1986 election as "nonpartisan" candidates since competing parties would remain illegal until the following year. These early members of the party, like the tangwai, drew heavily from the ranks of family members and defense lawyers of political prisoners, as well as intellectuals and artists who had spent time abroad. These individuals were strongly committed to political change toward democracy and freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association.
The tangwai were not a unified political unit and consisted of factions which carried over into the early DPP. At its founding the DPP consisted of three factions: the Kang group (a moderate faction led by Kang Ning-hsiang), New Tide faction (consisting of intellectuals and social activists led by Wu Nai-ren and Chiou I-jen), and the Progress Faction (led by Lin Cheng-chieh, a waishengren opposed to independence). Moderates would later coalesce around the Formosa faction, founded by those arrested during the Formosa Incident after their release from prison. In the early days of the party, the Formosa faction focused on winning elections by wielding the star power of its leaders, while New Tide would focus on ideological mobilization and developing grassroots support for social movements. As a result, the Formosa faction would become more moderate, often bending to public opinion, while New Tide would become more ideologically cohesive. By 1988 the Formosa Faction would dominate high-level positions within the party.
The party did not at the outset give explicit support to an independent Taiwanese national identity, partially because moderates such as Hsu Hsin-liang were concerned that such a move that could have invited a violent crackdown by the Kuomintang and alienate voters, but also because some members such as Lin Cheng-chieh supported unification. Partially due to their waning influence within the party and partially due to their ideological commitment, between 1988 and 1991 the New Tide Faction would push the independence issue, bolstered by the return of pro-independence activists from overseas who were previously barred from Taiwan. In 1991, in order to head off the New Tide, party chairman Hsu Hsin-liang of the moderate Formosa faction agreed to include language in the party charter which advocated for the drafting of a new constitution as well as declaration of a new Republic of Taiwan via referendum (which resulted in many pro-unification members leaving the party). However, the party would quickly begin to walk back on this language, and eventually in 1999 the party congress passed a resolution that Taiwan was already an independent country, under the official name "Republic of China," and that any constitutional changes should be approved by the people via referendum, while emphasizing the use of the name "Taiwan" in international settings.
Despite its lack of electoral success, the pressure that the DPP created on the ruling KMT via its demands are widely credited in the political reforms of the 1990s, most notably the direct popular election of Republic of China's president and all representatives in the National Assembly and Legislative Yuan, as well the ability to open discuss events from the past such as the February 28 Incident and its long aftermath of martial law, and space for a greater variety of political views and advocacy. Once the DPP had representation in the Legislative Yuan, the party used the legislature as a forum to challenge the ruling KMT. 
Post-democratization, the DPP shifted their focus to anti-corruption issues, in particular regarding KMT connections to organized crime as well as "party assets" illegally acquired from the government during martial law. Meanwhile, factions continued to form within the DPP as a mechanism for coalition-building within the party; notably, future President Chen Shui-bian would form the Justice Alliance faction.
2000–2008: in minority government
The DPP won the presidency with the election of Chen Shui-bian in March 2000 with a plurality, due to Pan-Blue voters splitting their vote between the Kuomintang and independent candidate James Soong, ending 91 years of KMT rule in the Republic of China. Chen softened the party's stance on independence to appeal to moderate voters, appease the United States, and placate China. He also promised not to change the ROC state symbols or declare formal independence as long as the People's Republic of China did not attack Taiwan. Further, he advocated for economic exchange with China as well as the establishment of transportation links.
In 2002 the DPP became the first party other than the KMT to reach a plurality in the Legislative Yuan following the 2001 legislative election. However, a majority coalition between the KMT, People First Party, and New Party prevented it from taking control of the chamber. This coalition was at odds with the presidency from the beginning, and led to President Chen's abandonment of the centrist positions that he ran his campaign on.
In 2003, Chen announced a campaign to draft a referendum law as well as a new constitution, a move which appealed to the fundamentalist wing of the DPP. By now, the New Tide faction had begun to favor pragmatic approaches to their pro-independence goals and dominated decision-making positions within the party. By contrast, grassroots support was divided largely between moderate and fundamentalist wings. Though Chen's plans for a referendum on a new constitution were scuttled by the legislature, he did manage to include a largely symbolic referendum on the PRC military threat to coincide with the 2004 presidential election. President Chen Shui-bian would be narrowly re-elected in 2004 after an assassination attempt the day before the election, and in the later legislative election, the pan-blue coalition opposition retained control of the chamber.
President Chen's moves sparked a debate within the party between fundamentalists and moderates who were concerned that voters would abandon their party. The fundamentalists won out, and as a result the DPP would largely follow Chen's lead. The DPP suffered a significant election defeat in nationwide local and county elections in December 2005, while the pan-blue coalition captured 16 of 23 county and city government offices under the leadership of popular Taipei mayor and KMT Party Chairman Ma Ying-jeou. Moderates within the party would blame this loss on the party's fundamentalist turn.
The results led to a shake up of the party leadership. Su Tseng-chang resigned as DPP chairman soon after election results were announced. Su had pledged to step down if the DPP lost either Taipei County or failed to win 10 of the 23 mayor/magistrate positions. Vice President Annette Lu was appointed acting DPP leader. Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun was elected in a three-way race against legislator Chai Trong-rong and Wong Chin-chu with 54.4% of the vote.
Premier Frank Hsieh, DPP election organizer and former mayor of Kaohsiung twice tendered a verbal resignation immediately following the election, but his resignation was not accepted by President Chen until 17 January 2006 after the DPP chairmanship election had concluded. The former DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang was appointed to replace Hsieh as premier. Hsieh and his cabinet resigned en masse on 24 January to make way for Su and his new cabinet. President Chen had offered the position of Presidential Office Secretary-General (vacated by Su) to the departing premier, but Hsieh declined and left office criticizing President Chen for his tough line on dealing with China.
On 30 September 2007, the DPP approved a resolution asserting a separate identity from China and called for the enactment of a new constitution for a "normal nation". It struck an accommodating tone by advocating general use of "Taiwan" as the country's name without calling for abandonment of the name Republic of China.
2008–2016: back to opposition
In the national elections held in early months of 2008, the DPP won less than 25% of the seats (38.2% vote share) in the new Legislative Yuan while its presidential candidate, former Kaohsiung mayor Frank Hsieh, lost to KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou by a wide margin (41.55% vs. 58.45%). In May, the DPP elected moderate Tsai Ing-wen as their new leader over fundamentalist Koo Kwang-ming. Tsai became the first female leader of the DPP and the first female leader to lead a major party in Taiwan.
The first months since backed to the opposition were dominated by press coverage of the travails of Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-jen. On 15 August 2008, Chen resigned from the DPP and apologized: "Today I have to say sorry to all of the DPP members and supporters. I let everyone down, caused you humiliation and failed to meet your expectations. My acts have caused irreparable damage to the party. I love the DPP deeply and am proud of being a DPP member. To express my deepest regrets to all DPP members and supporters, I announce my withdrawal from the DPP immediately. My wife Wu Shu-jen is also withdrawing from the party." DPP Chairperson followed with a public statement on behalf of the party: "In regard to Chen and his wife's decision to withdraw from the party and his desire to shoulder responsibility for his actions as well as to undergo an investigation by the party's anti-corruption committee, we respect his decision and accept it."
The DPP vowed to reflect on public misgivings towards the party. Chairperson Tsai insisted on the need for the party to remember its history, defend the Republic of China's sovereignty and national security, and maintain its confidence.
The party re-emerged as a voice in Taiwan's political debate when Ma's administration reached the end of its first year in office. The DPP marked the anniversary with massive rallies in Taipei and Kaohsiung. Tsai's address to the crowd in Taipei on May 17 proclaimed a "citizens' movement to protect Republic of China" seeking to "protect our democracy and protect Republic of China."
2016–present: in majority government
On 16 January 2016, Taiwan held a general election for its presidency and for the Legislative Yuan. The DPP gained the presidential seat, with the election of Tsai Ing-wen, who received 56.12% of the votes, while her opponent Eric Chu gained 31.2%. In addition, the DPP gained a majority of the Legislative Yuan, winning 68 seats in the 113-seat legislature, up from 40 in 2012 election, thus giving them the majority for the first time in its history.
Programs supported by the party include moderate social welfare policies involving the rights of women, senior citizens, children, young people, labor, minorities, indigenous peoples, farmers, and other disadvantaged sectors of the society. Furthermore, its platform includes a legal and political order based on human rights and democracy; balanced economic and financial administration; fair and open social welfare; educational and cultural reform; and, independent defence and peaceful foreign policy with closer ties to United States and Japan. For these reasons, it used to be considered a party of the center-left economically though its base consisted largely of the middle class. The party also has a social liberal stance that includes support for gender equality and same-sex marriage under Tsai's leadership, and also has a conservative base that includes support from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
Stance on Taiwanese independence
The primary political axis in Taiwan involves the issue of Taiwan independence versus eventual unification with China. Although the differences tend to be portrayed in polarized terms, both major coalitions have developed modified, nuanced and often complex positions. Though opposed in the philosophical origins, the practical differences between such positions can sometimes be subtle.
The current official position of the party is that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country whose territory consists of Taiwan and its surrounding smaller islands and whose sovereignty derives only from the ROC citizens living in Taiwan (similar philosophy of self-determination), based on the 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future". It considers Taiwan as an independent nation under the name of Republic of China, making a formal declaration of independence unnecessary. Though calls for drafting a new constitution and a declaration of a Republic of Taiwan was written into the party charter in 1991, the 1999 resolution has practically superseded the earlier charter. The DPP rejects the so-called "One China principle" defined in 1992 as the basis for official diplomatic relations with the PRC and advocates a Taiwanese national identity which is separate from mainland China.
By contrast, the KMT or pan-blue coalition agrees that the Republic of China is an independent and sovereign country that is not part of the PRC, but argues that a one China principle (with different definitions across the strait) can be used as the basis for talks with China. The KMT also opposes Taiwan independence and argues that efforts to establish a Taiwanese national identity separated from the Chinese national identity are unnecessary and needlessly provocative. Some KMT conservative officials have called efforts from DPP "anti-China" (opposing migrants from mainland China, who DPP officials did not recognize as Taiwanese, but Chinese). At the other end of the political spectrum, the acceptance by the DPP of the symbols of the Republic of China is opposed by the Taiwan Solidarity Union.
The first years of the DPP as the ruling party drew accusations from the opposition that, as a self-styled Taiwanese nationalist party, the DPP was itself inadequately sensitive to the ethnographic diversity of Taiwan's population. Where the KMT had been guilty of Chinese chauvinism, the critics charged, the DPP might offer nothing more as a remedy than Hoklo chauvinism. The DPP argues that its efforts to promote a Taiwanese national identity are merely an effort to normalize a Taiwanese identity repressed during years of authoritarian Kuomintang rule.
Since the democratization of Taiwan in the 1990s, the DPP has had its strongest performance in the Hokkien-speaking counties and cities of Taiwan, compared with the predominantly Hakka and Mandarin-speaking counties, that tend to support the Kuomintang.
The deep-rooted hostility between Taiwanese aborigines and (Taiwanese) Hoklo, and the effective KMT networks within aboriginal communities contribute to aboriginal skepticism against the DPP and the aboriginals tendency to vote for the KMT. Aboriginals have criticized politicians for abusing the "indigenization" movement for political gains, such as aboriginal opposition to the DPP's "rectification" by recognizing the Truku for political reasons, where the Atayal and Seediq slammed the Truku for their name rectification. In 2008, the majority of mountain townships voted for Ma Ying-jeou. However, the DPP share of the aboriginal vote has been rising.
The DPP National Party Congress selects, for two-year terms, the 30 members of the Central Executive Committee and the 11 members of the Central Review Committee. The Central Executive Committee, in turn, chooses the 10 members of the Central Standing Committee. Since 2012, the DPP has had a "China Affairs Committee" to deal with Cross-Strait relations; the name caused some controversy within the party and in the Taiwan media, with critics suggesting that "Mainland Affairs Committee" or "Cross-Strait Affairs Committee" would show less of a hostile "One Country on Each Side" attitude.
For many years the DPP officially recognized several factions within its membership, such as the New Tide faction (新潮流系), the Formosa faction (美麗島系), the Justice Alliance faction (正義連線系) and Welfare State Alliance faction (福利國系). Each faction endorsed slightly different policies. The factions were often generationally identifiable, representing individuals who had entered the party at different times. In 2006, the party ended recognition of factions. The factions have since stated that they will comply with the resolution. However, the factions are still referred to by name in national media.
- Current Chair: Cho Jung-tai (since January 2019)
- Current Secretary-General: Luo Wen-jia (since January 2019)
Legislative Yuan leader (caucus leader)
|Election||Candidate||Running mate||Total votes||Share of votes||Outcome|
|1996||Peng Ming-min||Frank Hsieh Chang-ting||2,274,586||21.13%||Defeated|
|2000||Chen Shui-bian||Annette Lu Hsiu-lien||4,977,737||39.30%||Elected|
|2004||Chen Shui-bian||Annette Lu Hsiu-lien||6,446,900||50.11%||Elected|
|2008||Frank Hsieh Chang-ting||Su Tseng-chang||5,445,239||41.55%||Defeated|
|2012||Tsai Ing-wen||Su Jia-chyuan||6,093,578||45.63%||Defeated|
|2016||Tsai Ing-wen||Chen Chien-jen ( Ind.)||6,894,744||56.12%||Elected|
|2020||Tsai Ing-wen||Lai Ching‑te||8,170,231||57.13%||Elected|
|Election||Total seats won||Total votes||Share of votes||Changes||Party leader||Status||President|
21 / 130
|Huang Hsin-chieh||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
51 / 161
|2,944,195||31.0%||30 seats||Hsu Hsin-liang||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
54 / 164
|3,132,156||33.2%||3 seats||Shih Ming-teh||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
70 / 225
|2,966,834||29.6%||16 seats||Lin Yi-hsiung||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
87 / 225
|3,447,740||36.6%||21 seats||Chen Shui-bian||Minority||Chen Shui-bian|
89 / 225
|3,471,429||37.9%||2 seats||Chen Shui-bian||Minority||Chen Shui-bian|
27 / 113
|3,775,352||38.2%||62 seats||Chen Shui-bian||Minority||Chen Shui-bian|
40 / 113
|4,556,526||34.6%||13 seats||Tsai Ing-wen||Minority||Ma Ying-jeou|
68 / 113
|5,370,953||44.1%||28 seats||Tsai Ing-wen||Majority||Tsai Ing-wen|
61 / 113
|4,811,241||33.98%||7 seats||Cho Jung-tai||Majority||Tsai Ing-wen|
|Election||Magistrates and mayors||Councillors||Township/city mayors||Township/city council representatives||Village chiefs||Party leader|
1 / 3
52 / 175
12 / 23
114 / 886
28 / 319
1 / 2
28 / 96
9 / 23
147 / 897
28 / 319
1 / 2
31 / 96
6 / 23
192 / 901
35 / 319
1 / 2
33 / 96
4 / 17
128 / 587
34 / 211
2 / 5
130 / 314
220 / 3,757
13 / 22
291 / 906
54 / 204
194 / 2,137
390 / 7,836
6 / 22
238 / 912
40 / 204
151 / 2,148
285 / 7,744
National Assembly elections
|Election||Total seats won||Total votes||Share of votes||Changes||Party leader||Status||President|
66 / 325
|2,036,271||23.3%||66 seats||Huang Shin-chieh||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
127 / 334
|3,121,423||29.9%||33 seats||Shih Ming-teh||Minority||Lee Teng-hui|
127 / 300
|1,647,791||42.52%||28 seats||Annette Lu Hsiu-lien||Plurality||Chen Shui-bian|
- Liberalism in Taiwan
- Human rights in Taiwan
- Culture of Taiwan
- Taiwan independence movement
- Taiwanese people
- Taiwanese identity
- Resolution on Taiwan's Future
- Referendums in Taiwan
- Foreign relations of Taiwan
- February 28 Incident
- Formosa Incident
- Sunflower Student Movement
Words in native languages
- "DPP governance, committed to excellence". www.dpp.org.tw.
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- "Progressives: Taiwan Would Like Your Attention". The Nation. 9 January 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- Casey, Michael (12 June 2016). "Time to Start Worrying about Taiwan". The National Interest. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- Taiwan International Review, Volume 5. Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan, Mission in the United States. 1999. p. 13.
The DPP resembles a cross - mix of Western social democratic and liberal values .
- "Terry Glavin: Taiwan and its courageous leader a rare bright spot in our dreary COVID world". National Post. 20 May 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
President Tsai went into Wednesday’s ceremony with an approval rating of 70.3 per cent after besting her opponents in a landslide re-election in January, all the while quietly enduring Beijing’s subversive efforts to unseat her and Xi Jinping’s constant threats of war and occupation.The Taiwanese have been blessed with four years of Tsai’s avowedly liberal, mildly social-democratic and happily free-enterprise government.
- Carin Holroyd, ed. (2020). Introducing East Asia: History, Politics, Economy and Society. Routledge. ISBN 9781317409922.
Launched in 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is one of the two main political parties in Taiwan. The DPP is a centre-left, pan-Green party with a Taiwanese nationalist, strongly antiCommunist focus.
- Stephen Mills, ed. (1994). The Australian Financial Review Asian Business Insight. p. 80.
... the charade that Taiwan is simply a province of China-such as the centre-left Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ...
- Qi, Dongtao (11 November 2013). "Globalization, Social Justice Issues, Political and Economic Nationalism in Taiwan: An Explanation of the Limited Resurgence of the DPP during 2008–2012". The China Quarterly. 216: 1018–1044. doi:10.1017/S0305741013001124. S2CID 154336295.
Furthermore, the studies also suggest that the DPP, as a center-left party opposed to the center-right KMT, has been the leading force in addressing Taiwan's various social justice issues.
- Chou, Hsuan-Yi. "Celebrity Political Endorsement Effects: A Perspective on the Social Distance of Political Parties". International Journal of Communication. 9. ISSN 1932-8036. Archived from the original on 26 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- W Jou (2010). "The Heuristic Value of the Left—Right Schema in East Asia" (PDF). American Research Institute for Policy Development.
KMT voters in 2001 scored both the left-wing Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and center-left Democratic Progressive Party above 5.0, ...
- Huang, Li-Li. "Taiwanese consciousness vs. Chinese consciousness: The national identity and the dilemma of polarizing society in Taiwan". Societal and Political Psychology International Review. 1 (1): 119–132. Archived from the original on 16 February 2020. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- Dongtao Qi, ed. (2016). The Taiwan Independence Movement In And Out Power. World Scientific. p. 245. ISBN 9789814689441.
... two party-dominated system, with the center-right KMT and the center-left DPP, has been institutionalized in Taiwan.
- Catherine Jones Finer, ed. (2020). Comparing the Social Policy Experience of Britain and Taiwan. Routledge. ISBN 9781351793971.
Taiwan's main, centre-left, party of opposition (the Democratic Progressive Party) has been committed to securing formal independence for Taiwan from the communist mainland, for all that its latest election success (March 2000) ...
- "Populism comes to Taiwan in election focused on future relationship with China". The Conversation. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
The DPP, on the other hand, is a centre-left party that pushes for Taiwanese autonomy from China and stays closer to the Americans.
- Stephen Mills, ed. (1994). The Australian Financial Review Asian Business Insight. p. 80.
- "Hurry up: Taiwan's president has upset both business and workers". The Economist. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
- "Viewing Taiwan From the Left". Jacobin magazine. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Derbyshire, J. Denis; Derbyshire, Ian (15 April 2016). Encyclopedia of World Political Systems. 1. Routledge. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-3174-7156-1.
- The Economist. Economist Newspaper Limited. 2011. p. 58.
- Business Asia. Business International Corporation. 2001. p. 40.
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Section II-2: "'The Republic of China is an independent and sovereign state. Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to the 23 million people of Taiwan. Only the 23 million citizens of Taiwan may decide on the future of Taiwan.' This statement represents the greatest consensus within Taiwan's society today concerning the issues of national sovereignty and the future of Taiwan. It is also a common position shared by both the ruling and opposition parties in Taiwan. A recent opinion poll shows that more than 90% of the people of Taiwan agree with this position.
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