Taiwan’s Highly Anticipated Historical TV Drama ‘Island Nation’ to Premiere on 20 January

Written by J. Michael Cole. A long time in the making and after many challenges, a major politico-historical TV drama about Taiwan’s democratization will finally hit TV sets nationwide on 20 January. Based on political developments and figures from the 1990s, “Island Nation” (國際橋牌社) follows the hopes, fears and travails of a wide set of fictional characters in the dramatic years of Taiwan’s transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy.

Taiwan’s Immigration Policy: support, concerns and challenges

Written by Timothy S. Rich and Madelynn Einhorn. Taiwan’s 2020 election was its first with immigration as a salient issue. The country’s immigration challenges are not unlike those in other developed nations, where the demand for immigrant workers faces a domestic backlash. Meanwhile, immigrant workers, predominantly from Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, increasingly have been more vocal about concerns of unfair treatment, including protesting labour conditions  and the broker system for employment.

‘Why Wasn’t She Nominated?!’ The Disillusion of an Immigrant Leader in the Electoral Politics of Taiwan

Written by Isabelle Cheng. For most Taiwan election observers, mid-November 2019 was full of high drama and factional struggle as the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) adjusted their nominations of non-constituency legislators (bufenqu daibiao, 不分區代表) on party representative lists. It was probably less likely, though, that observer attention would be drawn to how immigrant candidates featured on the list. However, for immigrant leaders, such as the one who rang me at 2:20am on Monday 18 November 2019, the two parties’ nominations caused a strong sense of disillusionment.

The Rise and Fall of a Populist Leader

Written by Po Lin. These three challenges, the collapse of a populist structure, human rights issues in the PRC, and the systematic changes in the international system all impacted Han Kuo-yu’s presidential campaign. These reasons explain why Han will be swamped in the trench fight during this presidential campaign. Han’s rise was unexpected and the outcome of his current political journey will be revealed on 11 January. The result of ROC’s presidential election will influence the stability of the region and the US’s Asia-Pacific grand strategy.

Taiwan’s 2020 Elections: A Losing Battle for Han Kuo-Yu and the KMT in Opposition?

Written by Mei-chuan Wei. Han’s campaign strategies were ‘unconventional’, especially given his position as the KMT candidate. For example, his rhetoric intentionally appeals to ‘common folks’ (shumin), the majority of whom are working class people and have been the main social base of the DPP’s political support. Han’s anti-elitist position was also considered unusual, for although the DPP is generally seen as increasingly elitist, the KMT has always been perceived to be the elitist party.

Tsai’s Cross-Strait Policy: One China, Evolving Strategies

Written by Jeremy Huai-Che Chiang. Tsai and the DPP currently see China as a destabiliser not only in cross-Strait relations, but also the global order. Tsai, however, has still stuck to her policy of maintaining the status quo. Besides diversifying the country’s economic networks through the New Southbound Policy, Tsai’s administration has also built ties with like-minded democracies such as the US, EU and its member states, Japan and Australia. These efforts help build international support for Taiwan’s continued autonomy.

Han’s Cross-Strait Policy: Peace, Prosperity, and “No Politics”

Written by Jeremy Huai-Che Chiang. The KMT is tied to the idea that peace with China is the only way out for Taiwan, and should be maintained despite its heavy political costs. This has led them to avoid openly refuting Xi’s infringement of the “1992 Consensus” in January 2019, instead placing significant focus on the domestic opinion front against it being associated with Beijing’s framework. For Han and many in the KMT, China is a non-issue, and putting too much constraints on this will only cost Taiwan’s future. Economic ties with China are crucial and necessary.

Taiwan’s Presidential Election: the View from Southeast Asia

Written by Ratih Kabinawa. Taiwan’s presidential election is just around the corner and the entire world is watching this highly contested democratic event that will determine not only Taiwan’s domestic politics but also foreign affairs direction. While the presidential debates mainly covered the future of cross-Strait relations with Beijing, little attention is given to Taiwan’s relations with countries in Southeast Asia. How will the result of the presidential election affect Taiwan’s engagement with Southeast Asian countries?

The Limits of Gender Bias in Perceptions of Candidates

Written by Timothy S. Rich and Alexandrea Pike-Goff. Taiwan is notable in the region for its successful efforts towards gender parity for elected offices. The 2016 Legislative Yuan election resulted in women winning 38% of seats, comparable more to democracies in Northern Europe than other East Asian democracies. For example, women comprise only 17.1% of seats in South Korea’s 2016 National Assembly election and 10.2% of Japan’s 2017 House of Representatives election. Taiwan’s progress in this regard has been attributed to multiple factors, including gender quotas at the national level where parties allot half of their party list candidates to females, as well as local level quotas that develop a pool of female candidates with the experience to be competitive for higher offices.

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