Written by Adrienne Wu and Marshall Reid. For the United Kingdom, 2022 was a year of significant change, particularly in its approach to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Following years of relatively cordial UK-PRC relations, London followed the example of many other European states by shifting to a far more sceptical, confrontational policy toward Beijing. While this transformation was the product of various factors—from growing concerns regarding China’s human rights abuses to rising awareness of the PRC’s coercive economic policies—it was heavily influenced by domestic political manoeuvring. Nowhere was this more evident than in the competition between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, in which both candidates sought to frame themselves as the most tough-on-China. In a move emblematic of this game of China-sceptic one-upmanship, Sunak made the bold claim that he would close all of the UK’s remaining Confucius Institutes, the PRC’s international Mandarin language learning centres.
Chu Yun-han: Influential Political Scientist, Promoter of Taiwan Studies and Sinology in Europe
Written by Dafydd Fell and Robert Ash. It was with the greatest sadness that we heard of the passing of the influential Taiwanese political scientist Chu Yun-han. He died at home on 5 February 2023 – just two days after his 67th birthday. His loss is irreparable: through his own academic research and his tireless efforts as Executive Director of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, he exerted an enormous influence on East Asian Studies throughout Europe, as well as in many other parts of the world.
Chu Yun-han (67), An Eminent Scholar and President of Taiwan’s CCK Foundation, Died on February 5th, 2023
Written by Gunter Schubert. It was a spring day in 2007 when I entered the commercial building at Tun Hua North Road, where the headquarters of the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation (CCKF) were located on one of the upper floors. I came to meet Chu Yun-han in his capacity as CCKF president and introduce to him my idea to establish a Taiwan research centre at the University of Tübingen. I had prepared a detailed presentation and pondered every detail that could jeopardise my proposal’s consistency.
How Europe looks at Taiwan – and how Taiwan fails to send out a clear message
Written by Gunter Schubert. The Taiwanese people and their political representatives must decide if they want to forge a national consensus on their relationship with China and communicate this clearly in Europe and beyond – or if they would rather prefer to adhere to an unclarified stance on their national identity and the concept of ‘unification’, giving in to uncompromising viewpoints and undermining any chances as gaining the lasting support of the countries that cherish democracy and admire their struggle for survival.
Hard Cash or Soft Values? Assessing the ‘Lithuanian Model’ of Eastern European Relations with China and Taiwan
Written by Dominika Remžová. Over the last year and a half, Lithuania has been at the forefront of the EU’s improving relations with Taiwan and worsening relations with China. This culminated with Lithuania leaving the 17+1 framework of cooperation between China and 17 (now 16) eastern European countries on the one hand and the opening of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius on the other. The two events occurred in May and November 2021, respectively, with the latter being particularly controversial, as China argued that the denomination ‘Taiwanese’ breached the EU’s One China policy, which led to the imposition of Chinese economic sanctions on Lithuanian products. However, as Lithuania’s economic relations with China are negligible, at least when compared to western European countries, Beijing made the unprecedented move of targeting EU-wide supply chains that contain Lithuanian products. This effectively escalated the bilateral disagreement to the EU level, with the bloc filing a WTO case against China.
Solidarity Rally For Ukraine Takes Place At Liberty Plaza
Written by Brian Hioe. Several hundred rallied at Liberty Plaza yesterday in the largest of a series of solidarity rallies that have taken place in Taipei since late February. The event sought to call attention to the humanitarian crisis that has ensued since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as show support for Ukrainians at a time in which their democratic freedoms and sovereignty are threatened.
How Taiwan is Strengthening its Relations with Europe: And How Lithuania is Leading the Way in Pushing Back against China
Written by Gerrit van Der Wees. strength, it laid out the advantages of improving relations with Taiwan in the EU parliament and national legislatures. The Tsai Ing-wen administration had also emphasised time and again that Taiwan as a democracy was on the front line of the global fight against authoritarianism. If the West did not support Taiwan sufficiently, what happened in Xinjiang and HK could also occur in Taiwan one day.
Technology is the new Priority in Central and Eastern Europe’s Accelerating Relations with Taiwan
Written by Richard Q. Turcsanyi and David Hutt. On October 20-30, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania will receive a large business delegation from Taiwan led by National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin. This will include the Minister of Science and Technology, Wu Tsung-tsong, and the new Director-General of Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO), Wu Jong-shinn. In the meantime, foreign minister Joseph Wu will also visit Slovakia and the Czech Republic during the same time.
The Fall of Afghanistan – Implications for European Policy Towards Taiwan
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On the surface, there seems to be little connection between the developments in Afghanistan and European policy towards Taiwan. However, if one digs a little deeper, several aspects have critical linkages or implications for European policy.
Victims without Perpetrators: Slovakia’s and Taiwan’s Lack of Retributive Justice
Written by Dominika Remžová. Despite the recent 228 Incident commemoration, along with the latest exonerations of White Terror political victims, the lack of retributive justice from criminal trials or other perpetrator-focused measures remains the case in Taiwan. In fact, the legality of the only perpetrator-focused act related to the KMT’s party assets has been continually contested by the party, despite the ruling of the Council of Grand Justices that upheld the constitutionality of the act’s provisions. A similar lack of retributive justice occurred in another country with a recent authoritarian past, Slovakia
The Global Story of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Italy, China and Taiwan
Written by Daniele Mario Buonomo. The diffusion and practice of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an important issue both in the Chinese and Western worlds. In European and Western countries, TCM, and specifically acupuncture, is increasingly popular. In 1979, for the first time, acupuncture and moxibustion received the attention of the World Health Organization. TCM’s importance has even been stressed in 2010 by UNESCO, who inscribed acupuncture and moxibustion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Czech Diplomatic Visit to Taiwan Comes to an End, Following US, Japan Visits Last Month
Written by Brian Hioe. A visit by an 89-member diplomatic delegation from the Czech Republic to Taiwan came to an end on Friday night, three weeks ago, with members of the delegation departing Taiwan. Among the delegation were Czech Senate president Milos Vystrcil and Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib. The delegation arrived on Sunday, staying a total of six days. All members of the delegation tested negative for COVID-19 before they were allowed into Taiwan, with the legislature and other areas visited by the Czech delegation disinfected after their visit, and members of the delegation kept within a “diplomatic bubble” to prevent the spread of COVID 19.