The “Lost Outlying Island” of the Tachen Diaspora

Written by Kai-yang Huang. As Taiwan’s identity debates are slowly eking towards a consensus, it is essential to also pay attention to the diverse marginal voices of the people of Taiwan. Thus, because discourse about Taiwan as a “maritime nation” is increasingly common, more attention has been paid to marine conservation—for example, the IOC established the Maritime Protection Agency and has preserved traditional fishing techniques (for example, the Marine Science Museum exhibits traditional Han fisheries). For the Tachen diaspora, the ocean has long been an important part of their customs and a poignant reminder of their forced migration from their homeland due to the Chinese civil war and their subsequent migration to the United States. Supposing that Taiwan perceives itself as a “maritime nation.” In that case, these narratives deserve a place in Taiwan’s modern historical understanding.

The Penghu Migrants Behind Kaohsiung’s Post-war Boom

Written by Tshinn-Hun Miguel Liou. Strictly speaking, there’s nothing inherent about the connection between the people of Kaohsiung and Penghu, and the route that many people from Penghu took from Kaohsiung was often more treacherous than the path for those emigrating within Taiwan. However, the consensus linking people from these two places should give pause for thought. So, why is Kaohsiung the first choice for people from Penghu who move to Taiwan? 

At the Edge of State Control: The Creation of the “Matsu Islands”

Written by Sheng-Chang Lin. As well as creating Matsu as a region, the Cold War also tied Matsu to Taiwan. Communication had been minimal between the two before the war—Taiwan was a colony of Japan, whereas Matsu was part of Fujian—but not both regions were part of a new post-war state. Especially due to the prosperity on Taiwan Island, migration from Matsu to Taiwan has become increasingly common. Nowadays, the Bade district of Taoyuan City(桃園市八德區) and Keelung City (基隆市)are known for their large Matsu population.

Tao People’s Fight for Environmental Justice and Subjectivity on Orchid Island

Written by Mei-Fang Fan. At the meeting of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee in March 2018, the convener of the cabinet-level Fact-Seeking Committee and other committee members urged the government to formulate compensation regulations as soon as possible to compensate the Tao tribe. The Executive Yuan had approved guidelines for the compensation and that a fund management board that includes residents will be established. However, Tao elder anti-nuclear activists said that the Tao tribe rejects the compensation at a protest in front of the Executive Yuan on 29 November 2019.

Remembering Tragic Spirits: The Worship of Nationalist and Communist War Dead in Kinmen

Written by Junbin Tan. would know, Kinmen was the Republic of China’s (ROC Taiwan) battlefront against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 1949 to the 1990s. Thus, the residents of Guningtou, a cluster of villages a short drive from Kinmen’s north-western shoreline where one could see Xiamen’s skyscrapers, were first-hand witnesses of battles, artillery bombardments, and decades of militarisation.

Making Narrative out of History: Green Island and the White Terror

Written by Shawna Yang Ryan. Green Island, part of the archipelago of Taiwan, lies roughly 33 kilometres off Taiwan’s east coast. During Taiwan’s martial law period, this was a notorious prison for political prisoners. In my novel, Green Island, the narrator’s father is imprisoned by the KMT for advocating democracy during the transition to KMT rule. Still, the title also functions as a metaphor for Taiwan itself during the martial law era. 

‘The New Normal’ and New Governance Models in Taiwan

Written by Chih-chien Lin. Mark Twain once said ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.’ On December 31st, 2019, the WHO office in Beijing reported unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. On February 23rd, 2020, right before Chinese New Year, governments enforced large-scale traffic control (aka lockdown) in Wuhan. On February 27th, the Central Epidemic Command Centre in Taiwan gave its highest alert. It was a serious warning about the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic.

A Fourth U.S. Communiqué on the Sovereignty of Taiwan?

Written by David Pendery. This work will examine the possibility of a new announcement by the United States, which on the surface may appear to be an agreement between the United States and China but which is not, in fact, that. In a word, it is not a formal treaty or concord. It would instead express a US view on the reality of international relations. I will call it a “Fourth Communiqué,” and like the well-known first three communiqués, it would in large measure deal with relations between the US, Taiwan, and China, with other essential considerations.

In the Wake of the Afghanistan Withdrawal, the US Must Send the Right Signals on Taiwan (Part II)

Written by Corey Lee Bell. In part one of this series, I discussed how important it is for the US to move quickly to convince China that its withdrawal from Afghanistan is not symptomatic of a retreat towards isolationism but rather part of a strategy of redirecting American resources to the Indo-Pacific and the defence of Taiwan in particular. However, with the Biden administration likely to stop short of formally declaring ‘strategic clarity’ (i.e., that it will definitely fight China if it invaded or embargoed Taiwan), and with China thus far having a low estimation of America’s resolve and capacity to defend the island, I suggested demonstrating this through actions that show that America is not only strengthening its regional presence, but also its preparedness and combat readiness.

In the Wake of the Afghanistan Withdrawal, the US Must Send the Right Signals on Taiwan (Part I)

Written by Corey Lee Bell. There is little doubt that America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a propaganda boon for Beijing. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Chinese state media’s efforts to draw parallels between Afghanistan’s abandonment and the potential fate of Taiwan. Already, Chinese press, and pro-China media and political allies in Taiwan, are telling the Taiwanese people that America cannot be relied upon, with one article, from China’s state-mouthpiece Global Times, warning that if “total war” broke out in the Taiwan Strait, “America will not rush to the rescue.”

Taiwan and the Instrumentalization of the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Written by J. Michael Cole. With all that renewed focus on Taiwan, however, also comes responsibilities. Taiwan’s elevated importance does not signify that it can take a backseat and let others ensure its security. As President Tsai remarked recently, “Taiwan’s only option is to make ourselves stronger, more united and more resolute in our determination to protect ourselves.” If there is one thing that the US experience in Afghanistan can teach us, it is that even the world’s top superpower cannot bend reality to its will, no matter how hard and long it tries.

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