Written by Jerome F. Keating. Lee Teng-hui, the first president of Taiwan to be elected by the people, passed away on July 30, 2020. He was a statesman among statesmen and perhaps the greatest statesman Taiwan, aka the Republic of China (ROC), has ever known. Presidents and leaders are often judged not by the totality of their lives but by how, at a critical and crucial time, they did the right thing.
Written by Kharis Templeman. If Tsai Ing-wen is superstitious, she should be worried: second term presidents in Taiwan appear to be cursed. Much like President Tsai, her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou started his second term on a confident and triumphant note. But over the next four years, he faced a relentless series of political crises, including an intraparty power struggle with Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, massive protests against the death of a military conscript and construction of a nuclear power plant, and of course the Sunflower Movement occupation of the legislature, which effectively halted cross-Strait rapprochement with Beijing.
Written by Mark Wenyi Lai. What will President Tsai Ing-wen do in her second term? To answer this question, this essay reviewed three previous Taiwanese Presidents’ second terms and attempted to assess how Tsai and Taiwan politics operate in 2020-2024. Tsai is the most formidable Taiwanese President of the last thirty years. Her unprecedented political clout contributes to seven explanations as to why this is the case.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. On 6 June 2020, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu suffered a devastating defeat in the recall election with almost 940,000 ballots agreeing to remove him from office after just 18 months since his inauguration. What are the underlying reasons for Han’s abrupt rise and fall over two years? What are the political implications of Han’s recall for not only the Kuomintang (KMT) but also the development of Taiwan’s democracy?
Written by Milo Hsieh. In January, Taiwan saw the re-election of its DPP President Tsai Ing-wen. The January election, which saw the DPP once more taking a firm majority in the Legislative Yuan, was a victory for the DPP that also gave rise to smaller parties. The KMT, taking lessons from its defeat, went on to reposition its policy on cross-strait issues with the election of a new party chairman.
Written by John F. Copper. Nearing the half-year point in her second term as president it is fitting to ask: how is President Tsai faring? It is a good time for a report card. On January 11, President Tsai won a resounding re-election victory over her KMT opponent Han Kuo-yu, the Mayor of Kaohsiung. Her party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), also secured a majority in the concurrent legislative vote, though it was not as impressive as Tsai’s win
Written by Gunter Schubert. Since its electoral defeat in the presidential and legislative elections in January, the KMT has entered a period of soul-searching. For many observers, Taiwan’s largest opposition party, which governed the country almost exclusively since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, is struggling for political survival. As well as having lost power, the KMT has been stripped of many of its assets in the name of ‘transitional justice.’ The pending investigations are an attempt by the DPP government to clarify whether those assets were illegally acquired during the authoritarian era and must, therefore, be transferred to the state.
Written by Qi Dongtao. As usual, Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural speech on May 20 maintained her low-key, down-to-earth style without much surprise. From Beijing’s perspective, since she did not explicitly accept the “one-China principle” in the speech, she failed Beijing’s so-called “exam” again and therefore was severely criticised by Beijing. But since Beijing had already concluded that she would never openly accept the “one-China principle,” her speech did not surprise Beijing.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. Her overwhelming victory in the elections already gave President Tsai Ing-wen a solid mandate to push domestic reforms with greater vigor, while the country’s excellent performance in combating the Coronavirus crisis gave Taiwan an unmatched international visibility, which will help in pushing back against China’s mounting political and economic aggressiveness.
Written by David G.H. Chen and Jou (Tender) Chang. The Taiwanese government’s quick and transparent response to the Coronavirus outbreak — a response that has cooperated with medical professionals and the whole of Taiwanese society — has attracted worldwide attention through their national-level epidemic prevention measures. However, the role of Taiwanese local government, which helps implements national policy, has received less attention. Local government deals with the front line of epidemic prevention work. Indeed, it is worth exploring how Taiwanese local governments, with their limited recourses, react to the novel Coronavirus
Written by John F. Copper. In 1990 when I published the first edition of Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?, friends and colleagues asked me why I wrote this book and the reason I chose such a title. I replied that a publisher, Westview Press, asked me if I could pen a book on Taiwan that assessed its unusual status in the world community, it being a possible trigger to an East-West conflict, and also a work that might serve professors looking for a reliable source on Taiwan they could teach from. The book sold well and five years later the publisher asked for an updated edition, to which I obliged.
Written by Milo Hsieh. This year’s election season is marked by the two camps of nationalists. On one end, though those in support of formally creating a Taiwanese state were at odds with Tsai in the beginning of the year, they eventually formed a united front after Tsai’s victory in the DPP primary. On the other end, supporters of the KMT and presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu showed more support than ever for the ROC flag.