Battle for the KMT: For election or ideology?

Written by Adrian Chiu. It was generally thought that political parties are either election-based or ideology-based, depending on the factions dominating the party. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), having lost two presidential elections in a row, are now at crossroads to decide which they are for. As a mainstream party in a two-party system, the KMT is generally assumed to be aimed at winning elections. But as a former authoritarian party, adapting to electoral politics has always been tricky for the party. The increasingly vocal ‘deep blue’ faction within the party also seemed to suggest otherwise. As the general elections draw near, the temperature is rising for the battle for the party.

Can Democracy be fed (or fed up)? Economic Factors Towards Democratic Development and Political Efficacy in Taiwan Presidential Election (1996-2020)

Written by The Fengze Strategy. Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election is approaching. Although candidates from different major parties have yet to stand out representing their parties, economic development has been considered an essential issue in every campaign. Some political entrepreneurs thought that democratic values could not be sufficient for economic development; in other words, citizens who prefer economic development the most would consider the so-called democratic value to be “a castle in the sand”. In this article, we will examine the presidential elections in Taiwan from 1996 to 2020 through the basic factor of economic development, the gross domestic product (GDP).

How Does Recipients’ Corruption Taint the International Image of Taiwan’s Foreign Aid?

Written by Ernie Ko. Taiwan’s foreign aid, officially known as official development assistance (ODA), has rarely been mentioned as a good practice in the circle of international press and international aid agencies. On the contrary, corruption, inefficiency, non-transparency, and unaccountability are often associated with the recipient countries of Taiwan’s aid. So, the question is, does this negative stereotype unavoidable?

Europe’s Dream of Strategic Autonomy

Written by Gunter Schubert. Slowly, the dust settles after French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarkable performance during his state visit to China from April 5-7. However, it is a safe bet that his statements on the danger of the European Union (EU) being drawn into a war by the US because of Taiwan, a place of no interest to Europeans, will have long-lasting repercussions for the transatlantic relationship.

Not A New Story: Tracing the History of Corruption in Tainan

Written by Jonathan Leung. Earlier this year, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Tainan City Council, Chiu Li-li and Lin Chih-chan, were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a bribery case related to the speaker election last December. However, this is not the first time incidents concerning the speaker election in Tainan City Council have made headlines. Accidents and controversies have arisen several times, drawing attention to the Tainan City Council’s speaker election held every four years in December.

From Kuomintang to Democracy: The Evolution of Clientelism and Its Legacy

Written by Matthew Yi-Hsiu Lee. The democratic performance in Taiwan today is evident, but this does not mean that it does not have a dark side. Recently, during the by-election of a legislator in Nantou, some people held cameras to supervise whether others voted, which violated the privacy and rights of the general public. These people are brokers and part of a more extensive authoritarian legacy. They monitor whether voters go to vote, which may also involve vote-buying fraud and serving so-called “local factions.” However, what are the mysterious “local factions”? Why do they appear? And what impact do they have on democracy?

Recognising the ‘Taiwan Issue’: Analysing the Impact of the UK Government’s Integrated Review Refresh

Written by Max Dixon. The British Government’s ‘refreshed’ foreign policy document, released in March 2023, emphasised the increasing parallels drawn between the plight of Ukraine amidst Russian aggression and the threat posed to Taiwan by increasing Chinese assertiveness. The Integrated Review Refresh 2023, the first clear enunciation of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s foreign policy approach, sought to revise the 2021 Integrated Review. The Refresh formally recognises tensions in the Taiwan Strait for the first time in British foreign policy yet addresses Taiwan with a degree of tentativeness that will necessitate greater clarity in the future.

What A 2nd Trump Term Would Mean to Taiwan (and the US)

Written by Daniel Jia. Taiwan does not need and must avoid having a Taiwanese version of Donald Trump. However, Taiwan must be ready for a second Trump term unfavourable to Taiwan’s security. The new Trump administration would resume the economic-centred relationship with China as it did in the first term, likely at the cost of Taiwan’s international status and sovereignty. Taiwan cannot change Trump. But Taiwan can and must show the free world its resolve to defend itself like what Ukraine has been doing. With this unwavering resolution, Taiwan would have the chance to rally international support in the event of a China invasion. Then, and only with this determination, could Taiwan bring the US public and Congress to its side and mandate the lukewarm Trump to act as Biden in the current Ukraine-Russia war.

Opportunities abound to ram up UK-Taiwan relations

Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Phan Van Tim. By and large, there are ample opportunities for the UK and Taiwan to deepen their relationship, given Taiwan’s geopolitical importance and rising prominence as a robust democracy and resilient economy. Moreover, should London genuinely devote its time and energy to pushing its “Indo-Pacific Tilt”, engaging with Taiwan would benefit London as it helps the great power establish a firm footprint in the area while demonstrating the country as a responsible stakeholder in the region.

Taiwan Cabinet Reshuffle, DPP’s Fundamentalist Shift, and Faction Infighting Ahead of the 2024 Election Cycle

Written by Milo Hsieh. On January 30th, the Tsai administration finalised its cabinet reshuffle. With former vice-President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) taking the helm of Taiwan’s Executive Yuan as premier, Tsai brings back a former ally as the four-year tenure of former Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) concludes after a series of electoral fumbles by the DPP. Moreover, with Taiwan’s 2024 presidential and legislative election less than a year away, the party also shifts back closer to its founding principles with the election of Vice-president William Lai (賴清德) as chair.

Judicial Reform in Taiwan in the context of the Citizen Judges Act

Written by John Burn. In her inauguration speech in 2016, it was claimed that Tsai Ing-Wen received her most rapturous applause for her pledges to institute reform of the judiciary and criminal law proceedings. In a climate of widespread public mistrust in a perceived detachment of judges’ interpretations of the law and public morality, Tsai embarked upon her stage of the long and slow relay of reform. So far, her administration’s most significant stride in this direction has been the Citizen Judges Act, which came into effect on the 1st of January this year. Yet this measure is only the latest legislative development in the long, complicated course of Taiwanese judicial reform.

Taiwanese Theatre’s Struggle: The 228 Incident and White Terror Era

Written by Yin-Chen Kang. This year marks the 76th anniversary of the February 28 Incident, also known as the 228 Incident. Occurring 76 years ago, this event was sparked at the end of February, leading to the KMT military’s brutal campaign in March against those they considered dissidents, resulting in the slaughter of numerous civilians. This marked the beginning of an extended period of White Terror. While the incident profoundly impacted Taiwanese society, many people may not be aware of the significant consequences of the 228 Incident and the ensuing White Terror on the development of modern Taiwanese theatre.

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