Written by Erik Mobrand. Assessments of the state of corruption in Taiwan show wildly diverging conclusions. Corruption scandals break out regularly, seeming to keep the island in a series of emergencies. At the same time, global surveys laud Taiwanese authorities for successfully fighting corruption. If Taiwan is so clean, why do corruption scandals happen? Or, if corruption scandals are so regular, how can Taiwan be assessed as an anti-corruption success story?
Written by Jon S.T. Quah. Taiwan has been eminently successful in combating the current COVID-19 pandemic because of its rational approach of relying on science, extensive testing, quarantine, contact tracing, and through the population’s observance of the necessary public health preventive measures. In contrast, Taiwan has failed to make significant progress in minimising corruption, judging from the frequent recurrence of corruption scandals and its unimpressive performance on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from 2012 to 2019.
Written by Ernie Ko. On September 22, 2020, five Legislative Yuan (Taiwan parliament) members, including four current members and one ex-member, were formally indicted by the Taipei Prosecutors Office for bribery charges. This group of accomplices has been consistently receiving bribery for nine years from a local businessman in exchange for putting pressure on government officials to tilt the law in the businessman’s favour.
Written by Michael Johnston. Taiwan’s reputation for good government has vastly improved over the past generation and more. Its scores on the Transparency International’s well-known Corruption Perception Index have improved from a low score of 49.8 in 1996 to 58 in 2010 and 65 in 2019. The more sophisticated World Bank Institute’s World Governance Indicators include an index of Corruption Control. There too, Taiwan had risen from a score of +0.58 in 1996 to +1.03 in 2018.
Written by Kyoung M. Shin and Chan-Yuan Wong. As the initial shockwave ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to subsiding, it is imperative to start a more nuanced discussion about pertinent public policies. Even in countries such as Taiwan, who have thus far proven to be relatively more successful in stemming the tide, the government is still emphasising economic re-opening. It is often touted across the globe that Taiwan has been one of the more, if not the most, successful countries in combating COVID-19—and rightfully so. As of October 1, 2020, there has been a total of only 514 documented cases in Taiwan, most of which have been “imported.” While most countries around the world are still struggling to cope with the coronavirus, there has been no report of domestically contracted case in Taiwan since mid-April.
Written by Karl Chee-Leong Lee. Organized by the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF), the recent Yushan Forum (October 18) in Taipei was the fourth forum since the event’s inauguration in 2017. While the previous themes of the forums were on social and economic connectivity, regional prosperity as well as innovation of progress, this year it was resilience that took the theme of the distinguished forum. This is difficult to understand as the current COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly demonstrated how vulnerable countries and societies in the world are when responding to the unprecedented crisis individually or in a group.
Written by Wei (Azim) Hung. Economic interdependence under rapid globalization has brought about unprecedented economic prosperity. However, it has to some degree failed to promote the establishment of mechanisms for inclusive regional cooperation in Asia. Globalization has not promoted the types of positive diffusion that has been anticipated, in the sense that growing cooperation on technical and economic issues have not been able to stimulate a much greater sense of solidarity around common values.
Written by Corey Lee Bell. The annual Yushan Forum was inaugurated in 2017, yet has quickly come to assume the mantle of one of Taiwan’s leading non-governmental platforms for international dialogue. Its 2020 incarnation was no different, and featured keynote speeches from influential political figures including President Tsai Ing-Wen, Australia’s former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Sweden’s former Prime Minister Carl Bildt. While the impact of the COVID19 pandemic meant that this year’s forum was relatively low key, its impressive register of foreign dignitaries, and the profound security, economic and health crises that formed its backdrop, arguably made it the most significant to date.
Written by Cheng-Chia Tung. COVID-19 has cost thousands of lives outside of its place of origin and has put 20% of the global population under lockdown. It is hard to envision it not having a long-lasting impact. Many influential commentators have focused on how it has exacerbated the decline of globalization and intensified political tension and strategic competition among great powers. While many may crave a “return to normalcy,” if we are to address the challenges created by the pandemic more effectively and holistically, we need to do more than simply ask “whether we’re going back to where we were.”
Written by Don McLain Gill. As Taiwan celebrates its National Day on October 10, the Indian media has played a pivotal role in creating an amiable platform for fostering closer relations between the two peoples. Throughout history, non-state actors such as the media, think tanks, and other organisations have continuously played a crucial role in forging closer ties between Taiwan and India. However, if India continues to appease China vis-à-vis its “One China Policy,” relations between New Delhi and Taipei may not be significantly maximised.
Written by Joshua Bernard B. Espeña. China’s aggressive rise for regional dominance continues to upset the rules-based order. The United States, together with Japan, Australia, and India are seeking to balance the power through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad). The Quad met in a face-to-face meeting this October in Tokyo and discussed their common interest to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Insights from Elizabeth Freund Larus by Mercy A. Kuo. Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Elizabeth Freund Larus – chairman of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Mary Washington and author of “US President Obama’s China Policy: A Critical Assessment” – is the 241st in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”