Written by Daniel Jia. Since Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office as President of Taiwan in 2016, China is becoming more hostile than ever toward the self-ruled democratic island. As China sees its chance of “reunification” with Taiwan through mutual consent is diminishing, taking Taiwan by force becomes China’s only option. The matter of China’s invasion is evolving from the “if” in the past to the “when” today. And it could happen sooner than any rational calculation would have predicted.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The press and think tanks, on their part, need to reassess their understanding of “strategic ambiguity”: they need to come to a clearer understanding of its origins – as reiterated in the quotes from former NSC Director Robert Suettinger’s book – and arrive at the unavoidable conclusion that it does not equate policy. Rather, it is, at best, a mode of operation determining how to calibrate a response. As described above, the policy itself on how to (help) defend Taiwan is laid down clearly in the Taiwan Relations Act.
Written by Dr Chen-Yu Lin. his strategy to project Chineseness as a globalising project was best exemplified by Jay Chou’s appearance on the Nasdaq screen at Time Square in January 2019. He was voted the most influential Chinese singer on Kugou (酷狗), the Chinese streaming service owned by Tencent ( 騰訊). However, other than his name, the text shown on the Nasdaq screen alongside a photo of Chou is all in Chinese. Such a projection of a globalising Chineseness caters to the hopes of the well-educated and well-travelled Chinese newly rising classes.
Written by Alessio Patalano. On 04 August, Chinese military authorities launched an impressive set of military manoeuvres across the Strait of Taiwan. Compared to prior exercises with a similar operational design in mind held during cross-strait tensions in 1995-96, this iteration lasted longer, pushed the operational envelope in a more aggressive direction, and was significantly larger in scale and commitment of capabilities. Crucially, when the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command announced the end of the second phase of manoeuvres two weeks later, the Chinese military had shown how two decades of unmatched military build-up allowed Beijing to use steel to project statecraft.
Written by Brian Hioe. More generally, while several organisations in Taiwan are devoted to fact-checking and combating disinformation, these primarily focus on targeting disinformation that circulates within Taiwan, which aims to affect domestic politics. There is less focus by such organisations on disinformation that spreads about Taiwan in the English-language sphere. Taiwanese generally read news and international discourse about their country in Chinese rather than English, so they may not be aware of disinformation circulating globally about Taiwan. At the same time, the English language world may not be able to verify information circulating in Chinese due to lacking language ability. Perhaps more translingual fact-checking practices must be developed to cope with this issue. This may be the corollary to increased discussion to the fact that the voices of Taiwanese have been left out of international media reporting on the Pelosi visit and military drills that followed.
Written by Jacques deLisle. The August 2022 visit to Taiwan by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been characterized as “reckless” and even risking war or, at least, a dangerous military incident between the US and China. On the other hand, Pelosi’s trip has been celebrated for standing up to Chinese bullying or even a political victory born of an unforced error by Xi Jinping’s overreaching. Such dire or triumphalist views risk overlooking the broader and deeper meanings of Pelosi’s brief sojourn in Taipei: It is more a symptom than a cause of a deeply troubled and increasingly troubling US-China relationship; its most significant consequences are likely more complex and indirect.
Written by Henning Klöter. The contributions by Perkuhn and Chien, Wang and Achen and again Chien mention some successful examples of Taiwan studies centres and associations in the US, the UK and mainland Europe. The core of Wang’s and Achen’s argument is that all of them can and should do without sinology. So far, so good. But if we look at the sustainability of Taiwan studies, we need to look beyond centres and associations and ask how the field can attract new cohorts of students and what they expect to learn. In other words, we need to discuss how the study of Taiwan should be integrated into existing curricula or whether Taiwan needs a curriculum in its own right.
Written by Liqiao Guo. This article clarifies how the mainland and Taiwan view each other’s applications and tries to find the similarities and differences by addressing three vital questions. First, what are the motivations for both sides, respectively? Second, Who and why do they think they can finally join? Third, what would the final result be and its impact on cross-strait relations and the Asian-Pacific region’s economic order? This research details some of the essential official statements and academic contributions to the overall debate on both sides. Although I primarily draw on official statements and academic contributions to elucidate the discussion, I also consider newspaper articles, mainly because they provide an insight into an influential and growing antagonistic perspective.
Written by Kuan-chen Lee. Following Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, many observers have pointed out that Kyiv’s ability to mobilise the entire population to resist the invasion is one of the main reasons why it has been able to prolong the war. Moreover, they suggest that Taiwan learn from Ukraine’s model of all-out resistance against a more powerful enemy. However, do the Taiwanese have the same determination to resist aggression as the Ukrainians have shown? Furthermore, how has the Russia-Ukraine War affected the willingness of the Taiwanese people to fight against aggression?
Written by Julia Marinaccio and Jens Damm. However, Taiwanese journalism also did its share. Like the political party system, Taiwan’s existing media landscape is ideologically divided over the question of how to fashion cross-Strait relations. Through their ideological orientation paired with a lack of investigative journalism, they act as mouthpieces of political parties. In doing so, they reinforce existing political cleavages rather than exercising their role as informants and watchdogs.
Written by Yu-peng Lin and Chang-de Liu. The development of over-the-top (OTT) media services is currently the main concern of Taiwan’s audiovisual industries. An OTT media service is an audiovisual streaming service provided directly to the audience by the Internet. The Taiwanese government wishes to strengthen this industry while also seeking balanced growth for international and local operators. For the latter, how to accelerate the production of their content in the face of global competition is the biggest concern. Furthermore, given the recent success of the Asian market, international operators are interested in co-producing content with Taiwanese companies.
Written by Simona Grano. According to China, Taiwan is a splinter province to be re-conducted under Beijing’s sphere of influence at all costs; likewise, China forbids international recognition of Taiwan under its “One China” principle. Through dealing with such hindrances for decades, the island has become skilled at swerving Chinese diplomatic aggression. Taiwan uses its soft – or “cat warrior” – diplomatic power to counter attacks on its sovereignty, promoting itself as a freedom-loving, peaceful nation in contrast to a belligerent China.