Taiwan votes for a new president and legislature next January, and expectations are growing that the main pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will win by a wide margin.
               
Wu'er, a Taiwan citizen of nearly 20 years, and a rival from the DPP have struck a gentlemen's agreement whereby the one with the least support will endorse the other in a bid to unseat the incumbent from the ruling pro-China Nationalist Party, also known as Kuomintang (KMT), in a district of central Taiwan.
               
"The KMT needs to be normalized. It is an enormous monster," said Wu'er, an ethnic Uighur who fled China and ultimately made Taichung his adopted home in 1996.     
               
"The biggest mission in this campaign is to deepen the democracy of Taiwan," said Wu'er, who officially launched his campaign for a legislative seat on Friday.
               
A clamour of voices, from Taiwanese youths to new political parties, have been critical of the KMT's vision of a shared future with China.
               
Police clashes with pro-democracy protesters in China-ruled Hong Kong last year have only deepened the political and military suspicions many islanders have toward Beijing.
               
Wu'er was 21 when he joined the 1989 democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, which were forcibly suppressed when PLA troops and tanks fired on the unarmed, mainly student protesters.

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