Written by Yao-hung Huang. The Taiwanese director Wei De-Sheng burst onto the international scene over a decade ago with his critically acclaimed musical drama Cape No. 7. The movie was an unexpected box office success, and saw Wei held up as a beacon of hope for Taiwan’s beleaguered film industry. Nonetheless, Cape 7 came under fire in some quarters for painting the legacy of Japanese colonial rule in a positive light.
Written by YU Nai-Hui. My PhD studies involved anthropological fieldwork in Japan focused on the social issues of Wansei 湾生, a Japanese term referring to Japanese born in Taiwan before 1945. The term Wansei became an overnight sensation in Taiwan following the release of the documentary film Wansei: Back Home (2015).
Written by Francesca Congiu. The political emancipation of labour unions was followed by a progressive erosion of worker rights and has resulted in Taiwan racing to the bottom of global labour standards. Organised labour in Taiwan is characterised by its continuing low rate of unionisation, which has caused a profound void of worker representation since the beginning of democratisation.
Written by Kevin Lin. In mid-August 2018, over 250 labour activists from more than a dozen countries across Asia spent three days in Taipei at the first Labour Notes regional conference. The gathering was meant to highlight the serious labour organising in Asia and discuss the ways forward. It was a unique occasion in many ways.
Written by Chin-fen Chang. The female labour force participation rate in Taiwan has in recent years increased and is now over 50%. Women account for 44% of total employment and the proportion of women holding degrees of university education is almost equal to that of men. The socio-economic and legal status of Taiwanese women has improved over the past few decades and Taiwan’s Gender Equality in Employment Act was implemented in 2002. Global gender equality indices show Taiwan ranking high and topping East Asian states.
Written by Santanu Sarkar and Mei-Chun Liu. The independent labour movement is at a crossroads. The DPP’s campaign for independence will reduce jobs as the mainland will curb exports and investment in Taiwan, whereas defending unification will rob Taiwanese jobs as the mainland friendly KMT will not hesitate to liberalise the economy so that the outflow of foreign investment increases alongside privatisation.
Written by John F. Copper. In July, Taiwan’s two main political parties, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT), held primaries to select their presidential candidates for the coming election. President Tsai Ing-wen won for the DPP. Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu will represent the KMT. At that juncture, pundits opined that January 11, 2020 would be a seminal event or “election of all times”. They said that the prevailing issue and one that cleaves Taiwan’s soul in half is independence versus unification. Clearly the two candidates mirrored the two sides of this seeming irreconcilable difference.
Written by Lara Momesso.
As Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections approach, major and minor parties are busy defining their agendas, electoral campaign strategies, and potential interest groups. New immigrants have emerged as an increasingly important constituency in Taiwanese political debate In January 2016, new immigrants with Taiwanese citizenship comprised 1.33% of the total electorate. Although this does not yet constitute a major constituency, the portion is predicted to increase next year.
Written by Polina G. Karimova and Kuang-Chung Lee. The Satoyama Initiative’s introduction to Taiwan in late 2010 became a timely and much anticipated solution to the revival of Taiwan’s SEPLS. The Initiative’s social-ecological systems thinking was similar to that of local and indigenous communities and it benefited from Taiwan and Japan’s shared historical and cultural bonds, as well as Taiwan’s comparable socio-ecological threats and agricultural patterns.
Written by Tzu-Ming Liu. The traditional culture of the local aboriginal Tao tribe on Lanyu Island has a very strong cultural taboo regarding the Green Sea Turtles. Their habitat is close to the local population’s traditional cemetery and the area is regarded as the living space of evil spirits. The organisms living in these areas, such as green sea turtles, are believed to have devil spirits.
Written by Natalie Wong.
The economic boom and intensive urbanisation of the late 1970s generated a mountain of garbage in Taiwan. Improper waste disposal and poor municipal solid waste management (MSW) led to sanitary problems and environmental pollution. Although the Taiwanese government implemented a municipal waste policy in 1984, the citizens protested industrial landfills and open dumping sites for years. Later, the Taiwanese government implemented a recycling and waste scheme and the volume of waste was successfully reduced.
Written by R. D. Cheng. On March 31, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) warplanes flew across the “median line” in the Taiwan Strait that has long served as an unofficial airspace boundary between Taiwan and China. This behaviour was unusual and provocative move on China’s part — the first time in 20 years that such a deliberate incursion took place.