Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, President Tsai Ing-wen has been able to obtain and continue to sustain high supporting rates mainly due to the many successful policy measures put forward to contain the negative impacts of the pandemic. The first opinion poll conducted after Tsai commenced her second-term of presidency in May showed her reaching a record-high of 71.2 per cent of supporting rate. Although there have been changes to Tsai’s support rate in following months, including a 10.5 per cent drop to 61 per cent in June, she is still able to sustain a high popularity rate of 65.8 per cent according to an August survey.
Written by Xiaoxue Martin. The Tsai administration’s steadfast diplomacy exhibits more continuities with its predecessors’ foreign policy than it cares to admit. Especially the large sums of development aid and assistance to diplomatic partners are a costly and unsustainable method to protect its alliances. The global downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will only make its allies more vulnerable to economic persuasion. With only 15 diplomatic allies left, and the mainland Chinese pressure to switch recognition only rising, the stakes are higher than ever before. With these bleak prospects, Taiwan’s unofficial partners are increasingly more important than the dwindling number of official diplomatic allies.
Written by Bonny Ling. Taiwan continues to be dogged by cases of extrajudicial killing, violating the fundamental human right to life, liberty, and security of person. A recent prominent case is the killing of a young Vietnamese migrant worker, Nguyen Quoc Phi, in August 2017 by a novice police officer in Hsinchu. The killing of Nguyen, immortalised in the two Taiwanese documentaries of the same name “Nine Shots” by Su Che-hsien and Tsai Tsung-lung, was marked by police brutality. The title is a reference to the number of bullets fired by the police officer in mere 12 seconds, killing an unarmed and unclothed Nguyen.
Written by Brian Hioe. A visit by an 89-member diplomatic delegation from the Czech Republic to Taiwan came to an end on Friday night, three weeks ago, with members of the delegation departing Taiwan. Among the delegation were Czech Senate president Milos Vystrcil and Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib. The delegation arrived on Sunday, staying a total of six days. All members of the delegation tested negative for COVID-19 before they were allowed into Taiwan, with the legislature and other areas visited by the Czech delegation disinfected after their visit, and members of the delegation kept within a “diplomatic bubble” to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Written by Jinpeng Ma. Since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the US has exerted considerable influence on bilateral relations between Taipei and Beijing. A result of this is that the Taiwan issue (and in particular recognition of the One China Principle) has become a prominent dimension of the Beijing-Washington relationship. Looking back at the evolution of the relationship over the past three decades, it is clear that the Beijing-Washington relationship is entering into a new stage. From 1949 to 1971, the US’s commitment to protect the regime of the Republic Of China (ROC) in Taiwan became a source of hostility in its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). However, this was mitigated by the impact of a radical geopolitical shift.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Recent international developments have prompted some to speculate that we are in the midst of a critical juncture for Taiwan’s bid for admission to the United Nations (UN). On the plus side, Taiwan has received considerable international recognition for its successful policy responses toward the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is arguable that this in itself will increase the odds for its campaign to join the UN.
FROM The Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA), The Citizens of Taiwan TO the Honorable Dr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN: For many years since 1972, Taiwan has been and is, once again, knocking on UN’s door seeking membership in this global inter-governmental organization. As part of the greater world population, the 23.5 million people of Taiwan are without representation and have been unjustly excluded since 1971.
Written by Joshua Bernard B. Espeña and Chelsea Anne A. Uy Bomping. The 1992 Consensus has framed the status quo of the Cross-Strait relationship for decades. However, more recently, rising nationalisms and geopolitical developments have expedited the erosion of the consensus. Moreover, the United States’ (US) commitment to Taiwan is ambiguous, despite the Trump administration adopting a more hardline stance against China. These factors complicate Taiwan’s quest for membership in the United Nations (UN), and add to doubts as to whether the consensus is still a source of stability in the Cross-Strait relationship.
Written by Thung-Hong Lin. In March 2014, the Sunflower Movement, a student-led protest to oppose the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA), shocked the Taiwanese public. For 24 days (March 18–April 10, 2014), Taiwan’s legislature was paralysed by protesters occupying the chamber, nearby roads and surrounding alleys, which prevented their eviction by police. The protesters claimed that the CSSTA would favour large companies investing in China, damage local small and medium-scale enterprises’ (SMEs) business and have a devaluing effect on local labour’s wages.
Written by Denis Li, translated by Corey Lee Bell. Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s first democratically elected president, played a key role in the country’s journey from authoritarianism to democracy. In 12 years as president, he made six amendments to the constitution, earning him an indelible place in the history of Taiwan. The News Lens has compiled 10 of Lee’s quotes from lectures and interviews, which reflect his perspective on Taiwanese politics and cross-strait relations, as well as the expectations he harbored for himself as a political figure.
Written by Aidan Hall. The existence of China’s impressive military and economic strength is nothing new. It seems long ago that Beijing abandoned Deng Xiao Ping’s “hide your strength and bide your time” principle. To be sure, China is now more comfortable than ever being placed alongside the US and Russia as one of the world’s major powers. Awareness of China’s geopolitical significance is also nothing new (…) What is new, however, is China’s use of its military and economic muscle to improve its geopolitical position in profoundly aggressive ways.
Written by Bill Sharp. The Trump administration has signed into law a number of pieces of legislation that reduce the traditional strategic ambiguity colouring the US commitment to the defence of Taiwan.