TAIPEI, TAIWAN - JANUARY 11: Tsai Ing-Wen waves after addressing supporters following her re-election as President of Taiwan on January 11, 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan. Tsai Ing-Wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been re-elected as Taiwans president as voters displayed their disapproval of Beijing by opting for a leader who had campaigned on defending their country from China. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen may not owe her entire record-breaking landslide reelection victory to Hong Kong’s democracy demonstrators, but she owes a good part of it to those courageous young people.

They made her reelection a referendum on China’s leader Xi Jinping’s harsh reaction toward protest in that famed city only 450 miles west of Taiwan.

The Taiwanese had already taken notice of the sudden decline in tourism to their island from the mainland. Last summer, the People’s Republic of China restricted individuals from traveling to Taiwan lest they learn too much about what was happening in Hong Kong. Only groups that could be more closely watched were allowed to go.

Democracy can be catching. (As I type this, it seems to be spreading all the way from Taipei to Tehran.)

You have the sense here the day after the election, as I prepare to leave Taiwan, that possibilities are expanding and positive change is afoot.