Written by Chun-Yi Lee. When it comes to combating pandemics, the public’s trust is crucial to the government’s response. The experience of COVID-19 demonstrates how well a government led its citizens through the pandemic depends on how citizens trust and comply with government regulations. As a result, COVID-19 has challenged not only health management but also governance issues more generally. As Fukuyama indicated, the Covid-19 pandemic was like ‘a bright light shone on existing institutions everywhere’ – the way a government and society reacted to the pandemic exposed the strengths and/or inadequacies within the existing institutions.
Written by Milo Hsieh. On December 18th, Taiwanese voters headed to the polls to vote on four key referendum topics. They rejected all four referendum proposals in a close but decisive vote. The votes were held on four topics, each of which were put forth by an opponent to a policy change pushed by the Tsai administration. Voters were asked explicitly whether they support: 1) Restarting Taiwan’s defunct fourth nuclear power plant, 2) Rejecting imports of U.S. pork containing Ractopamine, 3) Tying referendums to future national elections or leaving them as separate votes, 4) Rejecting the ongoing construction of a light natural gas ship dock in Taoyuan.
Written by Yu-tzung Chang. Adam Enders, an Assistant Professor from University of Louisville, published a research paper in the Journal of Politics this year (2021). Comparing the degree of affective polarization between the political elite and the masses in the U.S., he found out that the political elites’ affective polarization is higher than the general public, and meanwhile the affective polarization is more diverge than ideology. The affective polarization of the Americans is becoming more and more revealing in current political environment.
Written by Ian Inkster. What may turn out to be the most distinguishing characteristic of the referendums is that none of them directly address the economic catastrophes rendered by the ongoing pandemic. In large capitalist nations elsewhere, especially in the West – not so visible in, say, Japan or anywhere east of the so-called Middle East – the debate on economic futures is primarily centred on anglophone and European concerns. The pandemic in most nations has accelerated debates and deepened the divides concerning employment, technological change, and social outcomes of government policies. In particular, the big question is back to the future: How can workers improve their conditions (from no-contract employment through to spasmodic multiple tasking) and how can or should policymaking contribute?
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On Saturday, 18 December 2021, the Taiwanese people went to the polls to vote on four referendums supported by the opposition KMT and opposed by the ruling DPP of President Tsai Ing-wen. The result was a sound defeat of all four proposals and a significant win for the policies of President Tsai. Below is an analysis of what happened.
Written by Mark Wenyi Lai. On December 18th, the Taiwanese people voted for four national referendum questions. The vote was initially scheduled on August 28th but was postponed due to the pandemic prevention policy. The four questions were as follows:
Referendums and Their Relationship to Taiwan’s Politics Written by Chia-hung Tsai. Perhaps the biggest challenge for the DPP is the import of the US pork referendum. However, the KMT argues that the referendum targets every pork product containing ractopamine, which is used to enable animals to grow larger and leaner. This drug is currently legal in the US but banned in Taiwan. Many polls show that most people agree to ban meat containing ractopamine, partly because food safety is a salient issue in Taiwan, especially after the gutter oil incidents in 2014. The DPP seems to frame this referendum as the plebiscite on whether Taiwan would ally with China or US.
Written by John F. Copper. On December 18, 2021, a four-question referendum will be presented to voters in Taiwan. The first question deals with constructing a receiving terminal for natural gas on Taoyuan’s Datan Algae Reef. The second is about importing pork from the United States that may contain a possible dangerous additive. The third concerns the activation of the Lungman Nuclear Power Plant. Finally, the fourth allows, or rejects, referendums being held together with general elections.
Written by Chien Te Fan. Taiwan, also known in Europe as Formosa in the mid-16th century, is an island country with rich biodiversity. However, in the Pacific Rim seismic zone and the main path of typhoons in the Northwest Pacific region, Taiwan has been one of the most vulnerable countries threatened by the current climate crisis. Therefore, since the late 19th century, Taiwan has been striving to maintain its precious natural resources and resilience to survive the effects of industrialisation and adapt to climate change.
Written by Chia-hung Tsai. On 25 September 2021, the Kuomintang (KMT), the main opposition party, voted on the chairperson. As a result, Eric Chu (朱立倫), the former KMT chairman and ex-vice premier, was elected with 85,160, or 45.8 per cent of the votes. This election draws domestic and international media attention because the result will influence the upcoming referendums, local elections, cross-Strait relations, and even US-Taiwan relations.
Written by Nathan Batto. Eric Chu 朱立倫 was elected KMT party chair on Saturday in a surprisingly contentious race. When Chu announced his entry into the race, the former New Taipei mayor, vice premier, presidential candidate, and KMT party chair was the favourite to win. However, most people expected his primary competition to be the incumbent party chair Johnny Chiang 江啟臣 rather than Chang Ya-chung 張亞中, an intellectual from the extreme unification wing of the party.
Written by Lev Nachman. The results are in: Eric Chu, a former KMT presidential candidate, will be the new KMT party chair. This race was not supposed to be dramatic, but it ended up becoming an exciting spectacle that revealed far more characteristics about the current state of the KMT than any observer could have anticipated.