Written by Chuan-Kai Lee and Mei-Chih Hu. As we know, the Coronavirus pandemic poses a dire threat to various states around the globe. Thus, we perceive the competence (or lack thereof) of different governments, the strengthening of the state, the rise of nationalism, and in Taiwan, the return of technocrats. These technocrats differed from their predecessors in the developmental-state era, as they already had their missions well in advance rather than playing catch-up. They were to contain the virus — keep a record of zero local infection as long as possible.
Written by Corey Lee Bell. The Overall Defence Concept (OCD), which was first outlined in 2017 by Taiwan’s revered former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Lee Hsi-ming, represented a paradigmatic shift in Taiwan’s approach to its defence. Many foreign analysts felt it marked a watershed moment in which the island’s leaders had finally cast aside national pride, and embraced an approach to Taiwan’s defence that belatedly acknowledged what they had been saying for years – that the balance of power across the Taiwan Strait had well and truly shifted in China’s favour.
Written by Shu-Hua Shih. Only a narrow strait lies between Taiwan and China, and cultural and economic interactions between the two are unceasing and abundant. On these grounds, many across the globe assumed that Taiwan would be the place outside China that is most seriously impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
Written by Yao-Hung Huang. The tragedy that is the spread of the COVID 19 virus has dominated headlines around the world. While in Taiwan it has been a cause of considerable consternation, it has at the same time incited controversy about Taiwan’s relationship with the Chinese mainland.
Written by Josie-Marie Perkuhn. As a precaution, most flights have been suspended, and entry spots have restricted access, such as maritime passages via Kinmen, Matsu or Penghu Island. President Tsai also assured that “as long as the two sides fully communicate and cooperate, I do believe that we will be able to take good care of our people”. However, controversy arose when on February 3rd evacuees arrived. Three of the 247 people on the charter flight had not been on the priority list, which Taiwan provided to China, and one was tested positive, becoming the 11th patient in Taiwan to be diagnosed.
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 John F. Copper. The United States has long (since World War II) played a critical role in Taiwan’s politics, including its elections. The reason is apparent: in 1950 President Truman sent the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to block Mao’s plan to invade the island; he saved Taiwan. America has served as Taiwan’s guardian ever since. Today China’s military could “liberate” Taiwan and make it part of China probably in a few hours if the US declined to intervene.
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.
Written by Adrian Chiu. A large number of Hong Kong people travelled to Taiwan, personally covering experiences, just to share the sentimental moment of the Tsai’s predicted victory. Hong Kongers were present at electoral rallies in Taiwan, waving the anti-ELAB movement flag and slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times.” Although these Hong Kong people may not vote in Taiwan, they nevertheless all campaigned for Tsai.
Written by J. Michael Cole. A long time in the making and after many challenges, a major politico-historical TV drama about Taiwan’s democratization will finally hit TV sets nationwide on 20 January. Based on political developments and figures from the 1990s, “Island Nation” (國際橋牌社) follows the hopes, fears and travails of a wide set of fictional characters in the dramatic years of Taiwan’s transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. Tsai’s overwhelming victory represents a tremendous comeback, as her popularity was at an all-time low just one year ago after the disastrous local elections of November 2018. The KMT made major gains in the 218 races for county magistrates and city mayors, including the race for Kaohsiung mayor which Han Kuo-yu won.
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.