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. 

The Procrastinating Progress of Transnational Same-Sex Marriage Rights in Taiwan

Written by Annie Huang. One historical human rights progress Taiwan made happened in 2019 when the government legalised same-sex marriage. It was a rainy morning, and hundreds of LGBTI groups and activists were standing outside the Legislative Yuan waiting for results. When the president of the Legislative Yuan announced the legalisation of same-sex marriage, the rain stopped, and a rainbow appeared in the sky. People hugged and wept with joy for this historical first in Asia. However, at the same time and in the same plaza, a group of Taiwanese same-sex people burst into tears not because of happiness but because of sadness and discrimination. Transnational same-sex couples are left out of the legalisation content in the same-sex marriage bill without much reasonable reason.

An Unlimited Future: How Do We Get There? 

Written by JhuCin Rita Jhang. The year 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of the pride parade in Taiwan. It is a feat worth celebrating, and its theme, “An Unlimited Future,” adumbrates directions we are, or ought to be, heading toward.        

The host of the pride parade, Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association, explained, “this year’s theme, An Unlimited Future, heralds our long-term goal—to liberate all oppressions against sex and all stereotypes, allowing endless possibilities for everyone’s identity. The ultimate goal is that one day, no one needs to announce their identity in any way but can be anyone they want without judgment.” However, to arrive at the future depicted in this statement, we need first to understand what were, are, and may remain the limits, who put these limits and on whom, what are the consequences of the limits, and more importantly, the results of removal of these limits.

Tainan Police Murder: A Chance for Total Reform of Police Use of Force Training

Written by Wei-An Tsai. ​​In August 2022, the brutal murder of two police officers on duty in Tainan city sent shock waves through Taiwanese society. The two officers, Tu Ming-cheng (凃明誠) and Tsao Jui-chieh (曹瑞傑), were tipped about a stolen motorcycle and set out to investigate. However, they were later ambushed and killed by the suspect shortly after arriving at the scene, which was in an unpopulated area.​  
The two officers suffered fatal stab wounds, despite one carrying a gun. The issue of the timing to use firearms quickly became the centre of public debate. In apprehending the suspect on the run, the Interior Minister, Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), instructed police officers “not to hesitate to open fire when faced with resistance.”

Police’s Right to Use Firearms? Lessons from the Murder of Two Police Officers in Taiwan

Written by Ting-Yi Bai. In August 2020, the murder of two police officers shocked Taiwanese society. The police officers, Tu Ming-Cheng, and Cao Ruei-Jie, investigated larceny after receiving a report that a stolen motor had been seen near Chikan Tower in Tainan. While searching for the suspect separately, Tu Ming-Cheng was suddenly attacked by the inmate Lin Xin-Wu, who had escaped from Mingde Minimum-Security Prison. Cao Ruei-Jie was also stabbed after failing to halt the culprit. Both died in the end.

Small Step from You, A Great Leap for Migrant Workers: Documentary, ‘Civil Society’ and ‘And Miles to Go Before I Sleep’ (2022) 

Written by Hsin-Chin Evelyn Hsieh. The award for the best documentary feature at the 59th Golden Horse Awards held in November 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan, went to And Miles to Go Before I Sleep (2022), directed by Tsung-Lung Tsai. At the ceremony, film producer Kim Hong Nguyen, dressed in the Vietnamese traditional garment áo dài, read out a message from Quoc Phi Nguyen’s family expressing their grief and hopes. It was the first time a documentary on migrant workers was presented with the Golden Horse Award, thereby creating a platform for voiceless migrants and drawing attention to the related issues in mainstream society. 

Her journey to the Best Actor award: Taiwanese Opera performer Chen Ya-Lan made the history 

Written by Jasmine Yu-Hsing Chen. October 22, 2022, outside the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, ​Taiwanese Opera performer Chen Ya-Lan (陳亞蘭) astonished audience members on the red carpet for the ​57th Golden Bell Awards (GBA). This annual award honours excellence in television and radio programs created in Taiwan. As a female performer, Chen broke records with her Best Leading Actor Award nomination.

The Long and Unfinished Fight: The Constitutional Court’s Decision on Pingpu Recognition in Taiwan

Written by Wei-Che Tsai; Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. The case of Indigenous status for Siraya people has challenged Indigenous peoples’ composition and boundaries. Currently, around 580,000 Indigenous peoples are legally recognised in Taiwan. It is estimated that the population of the Pingpu peoples will increase the total number of Indigenous peoples to as high as 980,000 if the Act is declared unconstitutional, although this number may be inflated for political purposes by Taiwan’s Indigenous authorities. As a result, the authorities are worried about this judgement.

An Insider or Outsider? Lessons from the Recognition of Mixed-Background Indigenous and the Pingpu Peoples in Taiwan 

Written By Nikal Kabalan’an (Margaret Yun-Pu Tu). Regarding identity formation in Taiwan, the historical context of colonialism plays a crucial role because the arrival of each foreign ruler has resulted in varying degrees of assimilation. Such a theme has inspired numerous Taiwan Studies scholars who have produced a great number of pertinent works, including “Is Taiwan Chinese?” by Melissa Brown,“Becoming Japanese” by Leo Ching, and “Becoming Taiwanese” by Evan Dawley. One of the contestable issues in this field is the Indigenous status and recognition.

Unsettled Transitional Justices: Indigenous Sovereignty and the Limit of Democracy

Written by Yu Liang (Leeve Palrai). The justice revealed in Siraya’s ruling is in response to the national project of Indigenous transitional justice. Specifically, it responds to the promise of President Tsai Ing-Wen in her 2016 presidential apology that Pingpu groups shall be granted the equal rights and status as fellow Indigenous Taiwanese have. Yet, influential as it is, the idea of indigenous transitional justice in Tsai’s account remains unclear: Who should be held accountable for the erasure of Siraya and other Pingpu groups’ identity and status? When and how did it happen in the first place?

A sketch of Taiwanese Christianity

Written by Wen-Hsu Lin. According to statistics from 2017, about 6% of the Taiwanese populace are Christian. Despite having a history dating back several centuries, Taiwan’s Christian community remains largely understudied and rarely discussed. Scholars have tried to better understand this group using survey data. Through the data, we first reveal the demographic characteristics of Taiwanese Christians. More importantly, under the well-documented trend that the country  has become more secularized, we further investigate whether Christian faith still matters to Christians’ behaviour and attitude toward social issues.  

Visualizing Transnational Christianity in Cold War Taiwan: Traces and Possibilities 

Written by Joseph W. Ho. Visual cultures – distilled in materials as granular as individual photographs or as broad as cross-cultural ways of seeing war and peace – mediated relationships between image-makers, subjects, and audiences. In the process, people and images constructed modern imaginations of the present while looking toward uncertain futures existing between nations and Christian groups as well as local and international histories.  

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