Taiwan’s mid-term elections: Most politics is local, the KMT remains a force to be reckoned with, and the DPP needs to regroup

Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The main indicator of how well the parties did, was the number of city mayor and county magistrate positions they gained or lost: the ruling DPP went down from their current number of seven positions to five, while the opposition KMT went down from their current number of 14 to 13, with two of the remaining seats going to independents, and one, Hsinchu City, to the Taiwan People’s Party of Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je. In one location, Chiayi City, the election had to be postponed until December 18 because of the death of a mayoral candidate.

Can g0v Be Replicated Abroad?

Written by Sam Robbins. The best answer is thus that g0v could be replicated abroad, but it should not be. G0v is unique in the specific ways it approaches problems but thoroughly un-unique in being a group of activists dedicated to solving problems. We cannot forget the second part of this when we reflect on the first part. How activists come together to work towards a common goal depends deeply on political contexts. Tech and civil society can collide in a range of different forms. A look at the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) members, a global network of civil society groups promoting equality through information and communications technology, also reveals that many groups are already engaging with digital technology as a liberating tool.

Biden Speaks Again: The End of Strategic Ambiguity?

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.

The Abe Factor and the ‘Special’ bond between Taiwan and Japan

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Abe has widely been regarded as ‘the Prime Minister who is most supportive of Taiwan’. Not only had he been an advocate for legitimatising Taiwan’s status on the international ground on many occasions, but he also made the renowned statement during a video conference with the Taiwan Institute for National Policy Studies in 2021 that ‘if something happens to Taiwan, it means something happens to Japan’. Hence, although the news of Abe’s assassination sent shockwaves worldwide, the political implications of his untimely death on the future trajectory of Taiwan-Japan warrant further investigation.

For The Good of Taiwan. Truss, Sunak, or Complete Indifference?

Written by Ian Inkster. The most likely manner in which the choice of Tory candidates might be of interest in Taiwan would be through foreign or economic policy. Unfortunately, though these two areas of government are meant to complement each other in normal times, our days are increasingly abnormal, thus the array of rhetoric, the focus on personalities, the exaggeration of anomalies, and the fixation on trust, veracity, and the lack thereof. And that is just in one party. Look around to your left and see the mirror image. Look across the Channel and see confusion and a reluctance to debate all major socio-economic problems. Look across the greater sea to find headless leadership. Not a charming prospect.

The Many Faces of the Hokkien-language Internet

Written by Sam Robbins. This linguistic transnationalism has never died. In the digital era, online content distinctly aimed at promoting Taiwanese Hokkien within Taiwan abounds, but there is also a wide range of content created by communities interested in Hokkien generally. Hokkien-speaking populations across national borders also found each other and formed groups on social media. They share, remix, and collate content in these spaces rather than promote particular types of language use. For example, “Min Peoples, Min Languages” (閩人閩語), a Facebook group with almost 20,000 members from Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and China, is dedicated to “sharing everything relating to Southern Min (folk) culture, (folk) songs, and Southern Min languages.”

Taking a leaf out of Taiwan (and Vietnam): How “Taiwanese” is Taiwanese bubble tea? 

Written by Kuan-Ren Yun (雲冠仁), translated by Sam Robbins. When I was in Vietnam from 2016 to 2018, there was a time of immense market transformation underway that raised a very interesting question: The now-famous “Taiwanese bubble tea” had become reliant on Vietnamese tea leaves in Taiwan, and it was only after the transition to Vietnamese tea leaves was made could Taiwanese bubble tea be produced at such a scale to become a global phenomenon.

Pelosi Baloney or Distractions versus Realities

Written by Ian Inkster. So, China warned of ‘resolute and strong measures,’ and Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan without incident on her way to the rest of East Asia. She may well have infuriated parts of the Chinese regime when she said: ‘Make no mistake: America remains unwavering in our commitment to the people of Taiwan – now and for decades to come.’ Nevertheless, there is still no hint of any change in US policy, which will not recognise Taiwan as an independent entity, never mind a nation. No pathway has been opened. Indeed, the Western media made more noise than Taiwan itself.

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