Written by Elsa Sichrovsky. Due to Taiwan’s geographically strategic position in Southeast Asia and proximity to the Golden Triangle of the heroin trade, it has had a long relationship with narcotics, dating back to opium smoking in the Qing dynasty. In the 1800s, the opium trade thrived following the Opium Wars in China, bringing in more than half of Taiwan’s revenue by 1892. During the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945), the Japanese established an opium monopoly in Taiwan which benefited them economically while they maintained an appearance of opposition to opium smoking. Through sales to hospitals and pharmaceutical companies around the world, opium composed up to 46 per cent of yearly colonial income from Taiwan until 1904.
Written by Leo Chang and Alan H. Yang. Taiwan’s effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a growing number of countries to support Taiwan’s membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).
Written by Cheng Li-jung. In recent years, “Animal writing” is a developing issue in literary research. Many studies have given a focus on animals and social culture since the 1980s. They combined with cross-field animal research and attempted to rethink the history of animals in the context of ecological ethics and animal protection. Now it can be said that animal history is a new historical perspective and emerging field.
Written by Chinghui Liao. Hunting traditions are common across many indigenous communities in Taiwan, and maintaining food security has been an important cultural practice for thousands of years. Recently, however, certain endangered animal species have faced greater risk due to commercial hunting. These cases often involve indigenous communities, and this has made the issue difficult to resolve. In order to protect a functioning and biodiverse ecosystem, the “wildlife conservation law” regulates hunting behaviour and limits legal practise to only specific indigenous ceremonies.
Written by Hsu Hung Bin.The history of doctor outflow in Taiwan tells us that doctors of all eras are continually reflecting on what it means to be in the medical profession and what the “good life” of a doctor is. The unique history of Taiwan’s medical system is an essential resource as we come to reflect on the issues of today. This history reminds about the diverse sets of values (not all of which have been good) that have existed within the system. It also provides clues of what a new system might look like.
Written by Hsu Hung Bin. The phrase “五大皆空” (all the key fields are lacking) has become common, referring to the lack of doctors in internal medicine, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics and emergency care. There has also been discussion of the net outflow of doctors from Taiwan. All of this brought doubts to the once hopeful students as they began their medical education. I often hear students asking questions like “is the medical system here really going to collapse?” “Do we have to leave Taiwan and start a new life abroad?” “Did I make the right choice for my career”?
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 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 Frank S.T. Hsiao The year 2000 saw the first peaceful regime change from the long-governing KMT (in power since first coming to Taiwan in 1945) to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). All these were accomplished adroitly without bloodshed. He did not even have his own political clique, military backup and secret service supports. Unquestionably, Lee was indeed one of the greatest politicians in the World. The Taiwanese and foreign media have very well documented all these achievements. What is seldom mentioned is his academic achievements and scholarship in the field of Agricultural Economics and his various writings.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. When the impact of COVID-19 was at its height in Asia this April, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, publicly accused Taiwan of continuously attacking him with racist slurs for months. Although these accusations have been proven to be false, with the ongoing Black Live Matters campaign taking place, it does give a good opportunity to reflect on whether racism exists in Taiwan. More importantly, how this contributes to the formation of Taiwan’s identity in the contemporary epoch.
Written by Mark Wenyi Lai. Former President of Taiwan, Lee Teng-hui passed away this summer. The Beijing/Unification faction hated Lee, and the Independent faction/Mike Pompeo praised him as the Father of Taiwan Democracy, if not the Father of Taiwan. How do we evaluate Lee? What is Lee’s vision of where and how Taiwan is heading in the next century? How do our perspectives of him reflect our Taiwanese identity?
Written by John F. Copper. In 1963 I journeyed to Taiwan to further my study of Chinese, sponsored by the East West Center at the University of Hawaii. I heard of Lee Teng-hui at this time. He was one of the experts that designed and operationalized Taiwan’s well-known and eminently successful land reform program. Little did I know that Lee would become one of modern Taiwan’s foremost leaders and someone I would meet and learn much more about in coming years.