Written by Adrienne Wu and Marshall Reid. For the United Kingdom, 2022 was a year of significant change, particularly in its approach to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Following years of relatively cordial UK-PRC relations, London followed the example of many other European states by shifting to a far more sceptical, confrontational policy toward Beijing. While this transformation was the product of various factors—from growing concerns regarding China’s human rights abuses to rising awareness of the PRC’s coercive economic policies—it was heavily influenced by domestic political manoeuvring. Nowhere was this more evident than in the competition between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, in which both candidates sought to frame themselves as the most tough-on-China. In a move emblematic of this game of China-sceptic one-upmanship, Sunak made the bold claim that he would close all of the UK’s remaining Confucius Institutes, the PRC’s international Mandarin language learning centres.
Author: Yi Yu Lai
Chu Yun-han: Influential Political Scientist, Promoter of Taiwan Studies and Sinology in Europe
Written by Dafydd Fell and Robert Ash. It was with the greatest sadness that we heard of the passing of the influential Taiwanese political scientist Chu Yun-han. He died at home on 5 February 2023 – just two days after his 67th birthday. His loss is irreparable: through his own academic research and his tireless efforts as Executive Director of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, he exerted an enormous influence on East Asian Studies throughout Europe, as well as in many other parts of the world.
“Kind and Gentle Soul”（「謙謙君子，溫潤如玉」）: Remembering My Dear Friend Yun-han Chu (1956-2023)
Written by Tse-min Lin. The news came as a total shock. I had arrived in Taiwan just five days earlier to visit the new Taipei School of Economics and Political Science that Yun-han had helped establish. I knew he was ill and had been hoping to visit him after being unable to do so for five years. That is never going to happen now. Yun-han was a dear friend for 40 years. His passing is a heart-breaking personal loss.
Chu Yun-han (67), An Eminent Scholar and President of Taiwan’s CCK Foundation, Died on February 5th, 2023
Written by Gunter Schubert. It was a spring day in 2007 when I entered the commercial building at Tun Hua North Road, where the headquarters of the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation (CCKF) were located on one of the upper floors. I came to meet Chu Yun-han in his capacity as CCKF president and introduce to him my idea to establish a Taiwan research centre at the University of Tübingen. I had prepared a detailed presentation and pondered every detail that could jeopardise my proposal’s consistency.
In Memoriam: Missing Yun-Han
Written by Yu-Shan Wu. Gone is Yun-han, a true friend. We were colleagues at National Taiwan University and Academia Sinica for over half a century. He is a world-class political scientist, a gentle junzi in the finest Confucian sense of the term, a deep thinker who cares about the fate of the country and the world, and a master of delicate tastes in life. These are the four integral aspects of Yun-han’s personality that I am sure Yun-han would like us to keep in mind when thinking of him.
Revitalising Indigenous Weaving Cultures Across Borders: Conversations and Collaborations between Taiwan and the Philippines
Written by Shau-lou Young. Weaving is a significant material culture in Indigenous Peoples’ society in Taiwan and the Philippines. In the past, hand-made textiles were necessities in their daily lives. However, with the introduction of fabrics into their society, only a few women continued to weave. Today, Atayal weavers in Taiwan and Ifugao weavers in the Philippines are working hard to revive their weaving culture. They brought back and conserved disappearing weaving techniques and knowledge and remade some long-lost textiles.
When You Weave, You Are Planting Seeds on the Land: An Indigenous Weaving Practitioner’s Experience
Written by Ipiq Matay. My name is Ipiq, which means “tiny” in Truku, and I am an Indigenous person from the Truku community of Taiwan. Despite my lack of height, I have a big heart. As a weaver in my community, I’d like to share ‘mhuma’, a Truku weaving skill which translates to “be planting”. This weaving technique can be seen in diamond-shaped patterns on women’s traditional clothing. Learning how to weave and create this pattern began my journey of connecting to my family history and the people of my community.
Tminun: Weaving from My Heart as an Indigenous Male
By Peydang Siyu (Chu, Hao-jie); translated by Huang, Hsing-hua. I am a member of the Truku people; the twelfth officially recognised Indigenous nation in Taiwan. We believe in our ancestors’ spirits (utux rudan) and adhere to their teachings (gaya) throughout our entire lives. Cloth weaving (tminun), similar to facial tattooing (ptasan), is a significant part of Truku culture, and many of our customs are related to it. For example, there is a strict gender division of labour in traditional Truku society, with men hunting and women weaving. Men were prohibited from learning how to weave or even touching the tools. As a male, it wasn’t until 2018 did I dare to learn it. But once I began, I never stopped. It was definitely a dream-come-true journey that I would forever remember.
Weave for an Identity: Learning Indigenous Weaving as a Han Person
Written by Nai-Wen Chang. It all started from my experience representing Taiwan at an international youth forum in 2010. A section required every participant to introduce one’s country, offering a chance to engage in cultural interactions. It was our turn to present after India, Russia, Germany, the United States, and China. Everything went smoothly until an Indian participant in a dazzling sari raised a question. The Indian representative, out of pure curiosity, asked, “What does your traditional dress look like?” A moment of embarrassed silence filled the air. My senior, the eldest of us, eventually replied, “We don’t wear traditional dress much, but we do have cheongsams.” A Chinese participant immediately countered, “Cheongsam is Chinese dress, not Taiwanese.”
Encountering Ancestors Along the Path of Weaving
Written by Langus Lavalian. Ibu is currently the youngest weaver in Haitutuan Township. When she was learning to weave with our grandmother, she had a dream in which she met a silent elderly female who requested Ibu to watch her weaving process. Traditionally, outsiders are not allowed to watch or learn the weaving process. However, this old lady appeared to be weaving purposely for Ibu and instructing her step by step. Since taisah, which refers to dream, is vital to the Bunun, Ibu believes that this is the path guided by our ancestors.
Addressing the Elephant in the Room: The California Shooting and the “Political Problem”
Written by His-Yao Lin and Yi-Lan Lin; translated by Yi-Yu Lai. It has been a while since the mass shooting at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Southern California, United States, occurred last year. Many pieces of evidence are still ambiguous and cannot be determined. This shooting was not a unique case that sparked political tensions between the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Americans. In January 2023, a series of mass shootings also occurred in California, and two of them were emphasised since the suspects and victims seemed to be Asian. If we focus on the moment when the shooting happened, the “political” reaction in Taiwanese public opinion demonstrates the complexity and difficulties of Taiwan’s ethnic politics since 1949.
Return to the Land and People: Contemporary Indigenous Knowledge System Project in Taiwan
Written by Yi-tze Lee. Following the Construction of the Taiwanese Indigenous Knowledge System (hereafter IKS) Project initiated by the Council of Indigenous Affairs (原住民族委員會), the establishment of the regional Indigenous Knowledge System Center is booming in 2022. The commissioned project results from a long fight for the indigenous cultural right, an example of autonomy in indigenous studies, and efforts on identity awakening. This article will explain the background of the IKS project, discuss the expectation, and reveal some critiques of the project in general.