FROM The Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA), The Citizens of Taiwan TO the Honorable Dr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN: For many years since 1972, Taiwan has been and is, once again, knocking on UN’s door seeking membership in this global inter-governmental organization. As part of the greater world population, the 23.5 million people of Taiwan are without representation and have been unjustly excluded since 1971.
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 Gerrit van der Wees. As the United Nations General Assembly is preparing to meet in New York for its annual gathering, the international community is facing multiple issues in all parts of the world that need to be resolved. Among all of those issues, there is one burning question: why is a free and democratic Taiwan not part of the gathering? Why is a vibrant democracy being excluded from the international family of nations?
Written by Ferran Perez Mena. During the past year, the Hong Kong protests, along with the newly approved National Security Law, have generated much anxiety in Taiwan. They have been perceived by both the DPP’s political elite and the Taiwanese public as a premonition of what lies ahead for Taiwan. One of the popular slogans of the protests, “Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow Taiwan” (今天的香港,明天的台灣), perfectly epitomises the widespread unease that such political events are producing and the apparent inevitability of Taiwan’s downfall.
Written by Thung-Hong Lin. In March 2014, the Sunflower Movement, a student-led protest to oppose the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA), shocked the Taiwanese public. For 24 days (March 18–April 10, 2014), Taiwan’s legislature was paralysed by protesters occupying the chamber, nearby roads and surrounding alleys, which prevented their eviction by police. The protesters claimed that the CSSTA would favour large companies investing in China, damage local small and medium-scale enterprises’ (SMEs) business and have a devaluing effect on local labour’s wages.
Written by Dorothy I-ru Chen. Ethnocentrism is often found in a highly homogenous society like Taiwan. There have been stereotypes and bias against new immigrant children over the years. Studies conducted in the early days suggested that these children’s academic achievements were lagging. Moreover, these studies failed to recognise the problem may lie within schools which are not capable of meeting the needs of children from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Written by Wei Azim Hung. The series of border skirmishes between India and China that began in early May this year have prompted a wave of anti-China sentiment across the subcontinent. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has struck a particularly aggressive tone by saying “the age of expansionism is over” and “peace is not won by weakness” , while being mindful of the need to save his Chinese counterpart face by not indulging in overly bellicose or provocative rhetoric. Interestingly, this is not the first time India and China have engaged in border hostilities, nor is it the most bloody conflict.
Written by Denis Li, translated by Corey Lee Bell. Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s first democratically elected president, played a key role in the country’s journey from authoritarianism to democracy. In 12 years as president, he made six amendments to the constitution, earning him an indelible place in the history of Taiwan. The News Lens has compiled 10 of Lee’s quotes from lectures and interviews, which reflect his perspective on Taiwanese politics and cross-strait relations, as well as the expectations he harbored for himself as a political figure.
Written by Ratih Kabinawa and Jie Chen. President Lee Teng-hui transformed ROC Taiwan’s foreign policy from a rigid “man and bandits don’t co-exist” mindset, a dictum which defined the Chiangs’ era, to one focusing on pragmatic diplomacy. This stance emphasised flexible ways to promote Taiwan’s international standing as its own legitimate sovereign state. President Lee used Taiwan’s achievement as a new democracy with impressive economic and technological prowess to win fresh international sympathy and support.
Written by Richard Q. Turcsanyi. Perhaps in the clearest form, the Czech Republic symbolises contradictory attitudes towards Beijing and Taipei found in former Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). While for part of the society Taiwan symbolises own rejection of Communist past and sympathy towards humanistic ideals, others are not willing to endanger promises of benefits (real or imaginary) of pragmatic developing relations with China.
Written by Tamás Peragovics and Ágnes Szunomár. It has become a truism that China’s mask diplomacy seeks to enhance the country’s global standing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. By exporting medical aid and equipment, the Beijing Government rushes to the rescue of countries still struggling to contain the virus. Positioning itself as saviour rather than villain, China’s motivation is to cultivate a global aura of blissful ignorance with regards to the outbreak’s early mismanagement, including the silencing of Chinese whistle-blowers who emphasized contagion risks and tried to warn of the severity of the new pathogen.
Written by Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Brigitte Dekker. The protection of digital freedom of speech, transparency and inclusiveness is at stake as governments resort to (sometimes intrusive) digital means to monitor and combat the coronavirus. At the same time, economic competitiveness in the digital age requires innovative approaches, as the US-China rivalry profoundly reshapes the global tech landscape and global governance. This is where Taiwan and the European Union (EU) have similar interests and stand to benefit from exchanging best practices.