Taiwan’s Prowess in the ICT Industry  

Min-Hua Chiang examines the growth of Taiwan’s robust ICT industry. China was considered a potentially important competitor to Taiwan’s ICT firms a few years ago. However, China’s effort to reduce its reliance on importing key components was unsuccessful. In July 2021, Tsinghua Unigroup, a state-backed semiconductor manufacturer, filed a bankruptcy request. Chinese chip industry only took 7.6% of total global semiconductor sales. Its equipment and materials for production are still limited to older technologies. The American government has been encouraging manufacturing production at home to reduce imports of key components from overseas. Nevertheless, the high labour cost and lack of qualified workers in the semiconductor industry will make it difficult to reduce its reliance on Taiwan. The greater US-China competition in the high technology industry is only likely to increase the superpowers’ dependence on Taiwan’s semiconductor industry.

Praising Taiwan’s LGBTQ+ Movement in 2021

Written by Phan Van Tim. It has been nearly three years since the Legislative Yuan passed the same-sex marriage bill in 2019, making Taiwan the first and only nation to do so in Asia. So far, over 5,000 same-sex couples have registered for marriage in Taiwan, fulfiling their love of being protected by law. At the same time, the public’s view on the LGBTQ+ community has rapidly changed, with more than 60% of people expressing support for same-sex marriage, compared with the percentage of only 37.4 before same-sex marriage legalization.

Memes and Milk Tea Alliances: Ludic activism in Taiwan in 2021

Written by Genevieve Leung. The Milk Tea Alliance was formed when Mainland Chinese social media users attacked two Thai celebrities to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and Taiwan independence activists. Thai social media users deployed humour to combat the attacks, and Taiwan and Hong Kong users joined in, using the shared custom of drinking milk tea, along with various minoritized statuses, as the cohesive forces that “naturally” drew them together.

Will the TPP Suffer the Same Fate as the NPP?

Written by Brian Hioe. There have been some suggestions that Ko might next seek to run for mayor of Taoyuan or Kaohsiung if a presidential bid seems remote. Beyond Ko’s Taipei mayoral term, however, it is a question as to whether the TPP’s politicians are sufficiently well-known for the party to continue without Ko fronting it in one of Taiwan’s most powerful local government positions. 

Policy or Circumstance?: Covid Impacts and Probable Political Economy Outcomes

Written by Ian Inkster. When attempting a summary prediction of Taiwan’s political economy in January of 2019, I admitted that even annual forecasting can look very foolish, especially during the decline in democratic systems perceived at that time and the importance of complex external commercial relations to the country’s growth and welfare. The forecaster turns idiot with awful speed. I asked to be forgiven during the gentle days of Chinese New Year! Like everyone, I did not predict the coming Covid 19.

One Democracy, Two Interpretations: Making Sense of China’s Response to the Summit and Implications for Taiwan

Written by Yu-Hua Chen. China’s relationship with the liberal international order (LIO) has evolved over the decades. China gradually transformed itself from an order opponent in the Mao era to an order beneficiary in the Deng era to an order reformer in the Hu era. China has mixed feelings toward the LIO built and led by the United States at the end of World War II. On the one hand, leaders in Beijing know that the LIO is the foundation of China’s power and wealth today. Without the United States engaging China by bringing it into this order, the rise of China would have been impossible.

What the December 18th Referendum Means for U.S.-Taiwan Relations

Written by Milo Hsieh. On December 18th, Taiwanese voters headed to the polls to vote on four key referendum topics. They rejected all four referendum proposals in a close but decisive vote. The votes were held on four topics, each of which were put forth by an opponent to a policy change pushed by the Tsai administration. Voters were asked explicitly whether they support: 1) Restarting Taiwan’s defunct fourth nuclear power plant, 2) Rejecting imports of U.S. pork containing Ractopamine, 3) Tying referendums to future national elections or leaving them as separate votes, 4) Rejecting the ongoing construction of a light natural gas ship dock in Taoyuan.

A Pursuit of Housing Justice?

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. If anything is troubling the incumbent government led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), it would not be the external threats imposed by China. On the contrary, China’s continuous assertive actions toward Taiwan have become the DPP government’s greatest asset, enabling the mobilisation of domestic support observed after President Tsai’s National Day speech, which gathered 67.9% of residents’ approval based on a public survey.

Unpacking the Colonialist Undertones of the Indigenous People’s Basic Law: Law as a Tool of Oppression in Taiwan

Written by Aaron Chen. In May 2021, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court considered a high-profile case concerning indigenous hunting rights. First opened in 2013, the Bunun man, Tama Talum, had been convicted for violating the Wildlife Conservation Act, which limited indigenous poaching to solely ceremonial activities. He was also prosecuted under the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act, legislation that only allowed indigenous peoples to hunt using homemade weapons, whilst Tama Talum did otherwise.

Affective Polarized Elites and Rational Voters in Taiwan

Written by Yu-tzung Chang. Adam Enders, an Assistant Professor from University of Louisville, published a research paper in the Journal of Politics this year (2021). Comparing the degree of affective polarization between the political elite and the masses in the U.S., he found out that the political elites’ affective polarization is higher than the general public, and meanwhile the affective polarization is more diverge than ideology. The affective polarization of the Americans is becoming more and more revealing in current political environment.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Issues Concerning the Referendum

Written by Ian Inkster. What may turn out to be the most distinguishing characteristic of the referendums is that none of them directly address the economic catastrophes rendered by the ongoing pandemic. In large capitalist nations elsewhere, especially in the West – not so visible in, say, Japan or anywhere east of the so-called Middle East – the debate on economic futures is primarily centred on anglophone and European concerns. The pandemic in most nations has accelerated debates and deepened the divides concerning employment, technological change, and social outcomes of government policies. In particular, the big question is back to the future: How can workers improve their conditions (from no-contract employment through to spasmodic multiple tasking) and how can or should policymaking contribute?

Taiwan’s Referendums Defeated: A Win for Democracy, International space, and the Environment

Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On Saturday, 18 December 2021, the Taiwanese people went to the polls to vote on four referendums supported by the opposition KMT and opposed by the ruling DPP of President Tsai Ing-wen. The result was a sound defeat of all four proposals and a significant win for the policies of President Tsai. Below is an analysis of what happened.

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