Written by Hsin-Chi Lee. In the 2020 Taiwanese presidential election held in January, Taiwan’s first female president Tsai Ing-wen won her second term. At the same time female representation reached a record high- 42% of legislators are now women, which is top rate in Asia.
Written by Zhidong Hao. In 2014, the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong failed to persuade the Beijing government to grant them full universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive. Since then the so-called high degree of autonomy guaranteed by the Basic Law was eroded so much that Hong Kong was becoming more like Macau. Macau has been touted by the Central government as a perfect model of ‘one country, two systems’, but in reality, it is more like a model of ‘one country, one and a quarter systems’, i.e. an authoritarian system plus some press freedom.
Written by Timothy Rich, Isabel Eliassen, Andi Dahmer and Carolyn Brueggemann. We ask to what extent has the public’s view on same-sex marriage changed in recent years and to what extent this influenced the 2020 election? The 2018 local elections clearly indicated a shift in the political saliency of the issue of same-sex marriage legislation over the past several years, while Tsai’s re-election with a continued Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative majority would suggest that opposition to the issue has declined in salience.
Written by Frédéric Krumbein. As the only Chinese democracy that has ever existed, Taiwan shows that Chinese culture, authentic democracy and respect for human rights can coexist. It is thus pertinent to ask – to what extent is Taiwan a bastion of democracy and human rights? How has Taiwan gone about promoting these values in the region, and how will it continue to do so moving forward?
Written by Po Lin. These three challenges, the collapse of a populist structure, human rights issues in the PRC, and the systematic changes in the international system all impacted Han Kuo-yu’s presidential campaign. These reasons explain why Han will be swamped in the trench fight during this presidential campaign. Han’s rise was unexpected and the outcome of his current political journey will be revealed on 11 January. The result of ROC’s presidential election will influence the stability of the region and the US’s Asia-Pacific grand strategy.
Written by Jens Damm. I argue that Taiwanese society’s movement towards the acceptance of human rights as global values, multiculturalism, the rights of individuals etc. is intrinsically linked to the development of a Taiwanese identity (based what Habermas called a Verfassungspatriotismus) as used to assert Taiwan’s international status. Taiwanese LGBTQ rights could thus act as a signifier of Taiwan’s democratisation with the aim of achieving soft power and opposing any form of a ‘one China policy’.
Written by Brian Hoie. Caution seems necessary for Taiwanese traveling to China going forward, then. There are at least three cases of Taiwanese held in China—if not more—on charges of endangering the state security of the Chinese government. At this point, whether pro-independence or pro-unification, it seems that simply being Taiwanese could possibly be sufficient cause for arbitrary detention by the Chinese government.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The Hong Kong protests also constituted a wake-up call for the people in Taiwan along the lines of “Today’s Hong Kong, Tomorrow’s Taiwan.” The erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong today is a clear example of what could happen in Taiwan tomorrow if Chinese pressure, intimidation and influence operations are allowed to run their course.
Written by Grace Cheng-Ying Lin. In Taiwan, abortion rituals (嬰靈超渡, 嬰靈供養) have been gaining popularity since the 1980s. The ritual attempts to appease or rescue Yingling (fetus spirits嬰靈), the spirits of fetuses that have died from abortions or miscarriages. Within most contemporary religious discourse, abortion is seen as an inappropriate means of ending a life.
Written by J. Michael Cole. With Taiwan’s election campaign shifting into high gear, an escalating campaign of intimidation by one camp and a media consortium that backs its candidate threatens to seriously undermine the ability of journalists and political commentators, both local and foreign, to do their work. By doing so, that camp is hoping to impose its discourse on the process and to limit, if not silence outright, any criticism of its candidate and the proxies that are aligned with it.
Written by Ibtisam Ahmed. Pride season in 2019 has brought some extraordinary victories for the global LGBTQ+ community. Bhutan is on the cusp of decriminalising homosexuality after an overwhelming vote in the lower house repealed its anti-sodomy law. The judiciary in Botswana has overturned a colonial-era penal code clause that criminalised homosexuality, continuing the recent trend of queer liberation through decolonisation. Ecuador has become the latest South American country to recognise same-sex marriage.
Written by Queer in the World. According to a 2016 study, tolerance towards homosexuality in Taiwan increased 132% between 1995 and 2012 and Taiwan’s reputation as the most gay-friendly country in Asia is certainly more than justified by this and its thriving gay community.