Written by Doris T. Chang. Among all the gains made by Taiwanese women in the past century, achieving leadership roles in the political arena is perhaps Taiwanese women’s greatest achievement. During the Japanese colonial era, women had no right to vote. However, after lifting martial law in 1987, Taiwan emerged as a vibrant democracy. Due to political parties’ commitment to nominating more qualified women candidates for elections in the late 1990s and after that, the percentage of women elected to Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan reached 42 per cent in 2020 — the highest in Asia. This is equivalent to the percentage of women legislators in most Scandinavian countries. But Taiwanese women’s achievement in the political arena would not have been possible without making significant progress in their educational attainment throughout the twentieth century.
Why Does Taiwan’s Development in the Past Century Matter?
Written by Peter C.Y. Chow. By the end of the 20th century, most former colonies had become independent though few qualify as modern states. Taiwan is an exceptional case in modern development history. Although still a Japanese colony until WWII, Taiwan became a modernised country with remarkable achievements in socio-political and economic developments by the end of the 20th century. Its unique development trajectory is worthy of in-depth analysis such that other developing countries can share its experience in the struggle for modernisation.
Lessons from the Strike by Taiwan Railway Workers
Written by Kuei-Chih Yang. In 2018, the Puyuma Ziqiang train derailed on Taiwan Railway, and then in 2021, the Taroko overturn accident occurred again on Taiwan Railway. Two major railway accidents happened one after another within three years. Many innocent lives were lost, and the safety management of Taiwan Railway was questioned. In March 2022, the Taiwan government proposed a draft of the “Act for Establishment of State-owned Taiwan Railway Co., Ltd.” to respond to the social demands of reforming Taiwan Railways since the accidents.
Eliminating the Criminal Source of Human Trafficking in Cambodia
Written by Yi-hsiang Shih. Human trafficking is nothing new to the world, yet, the term certainly receives much more attention than ever in 2022 Taiwan. Taiwanese people generally do not see themselves as victims of human trafficking. However, the cases of human trafficking in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, suddenly received extensive attention in 2022. Many of the victims in these cases were characterized as young people in Taiwan under low wages and unstable jobs and whose economic life had been affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020. To survive, these young people are easily lured by relatives and friends or false job information and become the main target for criminal groups. They are often deceived into working at the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (the scamming compounds) in Cambodia, eventually becoming “commodities” exploited by human trafficking groups.
The Fall of Evergrande: A Case Study of China’s Financial Turmoil in 2022 and the Implication to China-Bound International Capital in 2023 and Beyond
Written by Daniel Jia. In late 2021, international investors felt a real chill from China: China’s real estate giant, China Evergrande Group, defaulted on interest payments on US$1.2B offshore bonds. The Evergrande trouble was shocking, but it was only the tip of a monstrous China iceberg, toward which the Titanic of international investors are headed. What would follow in 2023 and beyond? Is Taiwan prepared?
Cross-border Movement of Labour between Taiwan and the Philippines: A Taiwanese NGO Worker’s Perspective
Written by Yi-Yu Lai. Lennon Wong is the director of a shelter for migrant workers in Taiwan. Before joining the shelter in the early 2010s, he was already a labour activist and worked in the Chinese Federation of Labour and the First Commercial Bank Union. Although his prior work was not directly relevant to migrant workers in Taiwan, his engagement with the labour movement may have started with the issue of migrant workers from Southeast Asia. As a result, we may thus understand the cross-border movement of migrant workers between Taiwan and the Philippines through some of his observations.
Semiconductor industry: a shield to Taiwan or the source of insecurity?
Written by Guo-Huei Chen and Ming-En Hsiao. That is why Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is a key element in the strategic competition between the United States and China in science and technology. Losing Taiwan is equivalent to losing the power to speak in future innovative technology. Neither the United States nor China can afford the consequences of losing Taiwan’s semiconductors.
Taiwan’s Single-Payer National Health Insurance at a Crossroads: Barbarians at the Gate and Way Forward
Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. Chronic financial instability and the difficulty the government has with raising the premium rate to balance the budget aside, the NHI faces myriad other challenges, including rising patient-consumer expectations and demands for ever more and better health care, the high cost of new medical technology and its coverage, provider payment reform, health care workforce shortages, ageing of the population, building long term care, etc.
The Interaction between Taiwan’s Indigenous and Migrant Workers: Lessons from Construction Industry
Written by Hsuan Lo. Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. In Taiwan, a narrative concerning the opposition of migrant and Indigenous workers appears to be a continuing source of contention. In 1997, director Ming-hui Yang released a documentary, “Please Give Us a Job.” One of the film’s impressive scenes depicts an off-duty Indigenous worker sobbing uncontrollably in front of the camera while lamenting the employment difficulties caused by the introduction of migrant workers. In 2016, Chen Ying, a DPP legislator from the Puyuma Indigenous community, brought this issue back into the public eye by highlighting the impact of “illegal migrant workers” on the employment of Indigenous workers. Unfortunately, the notion that “migrant workers take jobs from Indigenous workers” has become deeply ingrained.
Labours of g0v: Rethinking Work from the Perspective of Data Activists
Written by Aaron Su. How does such civic tech activism – whose results have indeed been transformative – proceed amidst limited resources and a wide variety of training and vocations? Beyond the material outputs of g0v, we must also not forget what activists and scholars have had to say about the distribution of infrastructural or emotional labour within grassroots or activist communities. There are members whose caretaking, organizing, and managing help to reproduce the bare conditions for activist work in the first place. Others have further written about the particular costs of serving as a digital activist, noting that such practices often intensify demands on members in ways inflected by class background, gender, and other social factors.
Fair Go for Taiwan: Perspectives from Taiwanese diaspora in Australia
Written by Mei-Fen Kuo. A recent exhibition mounted by Australia’s government office in Taiwan––“40 years, 40 stories”––highlights the importance of people-to-people ties linking Taiwan and Australia since the office opened in Taipei in 1981. These are timely stories. In an exhibition of its own, Beijing recently lobbed missiles over Taiwan’s people’s heads to show that its territorial claims to Taiwan will not be slighted. Australia does not challenge those claims, but it does maintain close relations with people in Taiwan through trade, education, technology, and cultural exchanges, which have flourished despite the lack of official recognition.
INDIA-TAIWAN RELATIONS: RIGHT TIME TO MOVE AHEAD
Written by Jasinder Singh Sodhi. Relations between India and Taiwan have improved significantly over the last two decades, even though the two nations do not have formal diplomatic ties. This is because India officially recognises China as part of its One-China Policy. In the political field, India and Taiwan are both grappling with the Chinese standoff in the Himalayas and Taiwan Strait, respectively. Therefore, reinforcing India-Taiwan relations can stand up to the expansionist plans of China since China is incapable of launching a two-front war on India and Taiwan simultaneously. Thus, the stronger relations India and Taiwan have, the better results it will have for mutual national interest and national security.