Written by Gerrit van der Wees. On March 4th, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed the TAIPEI Act with unanimous consent. TAIPEI, in this case, stands for “Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative” – a smart acronym for legislation designed to support more international space for Taiwan around the world. The US Senate had passed a similar Bill at the end of October 2019, and the House actually took up the Senate version of the Bill.
Written by Sam Robbins. The coronavirus has become a hot topic of conversation on Taiwan’s popular social networking site, D-cart. This has become a space for (primarily university students) to share or ask for relevant information about the disease, but also to share their fears and difficulties that have resulted from the virus. A recurring theme on the discussion board are stories from international students—for example, from Hong Kong—who are not sure of their ability to return to study in Taiwan.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. A recent episode in Prague illustrates in two important ways that China’s relations with the West are changing fast. It shows the need for the US and Western Europe to reimagine relations with Taiwan, bring Taiwan in from the cold of political isolation, start working towards a normalization of relations, and find a rightful place for that democratic country in the international family of nations.
Written by Ian Inkster. The conclusion is that the DPP should take the risk of dropping the rhetoric of China whilst seeking ways of beginning more positive diplomatic exchanges. And this should be undertaken on a broad basis. DPP negotiations that are not within a reasonably broad-based consensus at home are unlikely to progress far, for domestic quarrels do not make for confident diplomacy on either side of a table.
Written by Timothy Rich, Isabel Eliassen, Andi Dahmer and Carolyn Brueggemann. We ask to what extent has the public’s view on same-sex marriage changed in recent years and to what extent this influenced the 2020 election? The 2018 local elections clearly indicated a shift in the political saliency of the issue of same-sex marriage legislation over the past several years, while Tsai’s re-election with a continued Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative majority would suggest that opposition to the issue has declined in salience.
Written by Timothy S. Rich. Taiwan must find new strategies in order to strengthen formal and informal ties. However, it should not over rely on expanding unofficial relations with the US or overlook the inconsistencies of Trump’s foreign policy that could impact Taiwan. For example, the Trump Administration’s decision to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for two consecutive years provides a greater opportunity for Chinese influence in the region and greater pressure on Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic partners.
Written by John F. Copper. In 1990 when I published the first edition of Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?, friends and colleagues asked me why I wrote this book and the reason I chose such a title. I replied that a publisher, Westview Press, asked me if I could pen a book on Taiwan that assessed its unusual status in the world community, it being a possible trigger to an East-West conflict, and also a work that might serve professors looking for a reliable source on Taiwan they could teach from. The book sold well and five years later the publisher asked for an updated edition, to which I obliged.
Written by Yu-Hua Chen.
On January 11th 2020, the incumbent president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen, was re-elected to serve a second term as President of Taiwan by a land-slide majority. Tsai’s 8.17 million votes (57.1%) was a record high for Taiwan (well surpassing the record set by Ma Ying-jeou in 2008), and occurred in the backdrop of an unprecedented high turn out (19 million votes at 74.9% of the voting population). Yet the performance in the legislative election of Tsai’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was far less impressive.
Written by John F. Copper. The United States has long (since World War II) played a critical role in Taiwan’s politics, including its elections. The reason is apparent: in 1950 President Truman sent the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to block Mao’s plan to invade the island; he saved Taiwan. America has served as Taiwan’s guardian ever since. Today China’s military could “liberate” Taiwan and make it part of China probably in a few hours if the US declined to intervene.
Written by J. Michael Cole. A long time in the making and after many challenges, a major politico-historical TV drama about Taiwan’s democratization will finally hit TV sets nationwide on 20 January. Based on political developments and figures from the 1990s, “Island Nation” (國際橋牌社) follows the hopes, fears and travails of a wide set of fictional characters in the dramatic years of Taiwan’s transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy.
Written by Joseph Bosco. The question now is how Beijing will respond to the Taiwan election results. Will it finally accept the reality that the people of Taiwan are so committed to their own democratic identity that they are “permanently separated politically” from China, as Richard Nixon belatedly observed two decades after his fateful opening to China?
Written by Mark Wenyi Lai. Young Taiwanese have every right to distance with China and to protect Taiwan’s achievement of democracy, independence, and prosperity. But they do need to figure out what great vision they are pursuing, what change they seek after this predictable and over-praised election.