Taiwan Is ‘a’ Dangerous Location on Earth

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Yes, I get it. Not many can resist a bold and eye-catching title. However, if you supplement this with an articulated argument underpinned with a fair amount of empirical evidence, one can expect the article to reach a broader readership. Yet, the underlying issue of placing a bold statement at the forefront is that it is frequently misleading. This is precisely why I am sceptical about the recent article published by The Economist, which states Taiwan as ‘the most dangerous place on Earth.’

Something, Nothing, or Everything? The Recall Vote of DPP’s Taoyuan City Councillor Wang Hao-Yu

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. On 16 January, Taoyuan city councillor Wang Hao-yu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was revoked by a whopping 84,582 ‘in-favour’ ballots. This was a staggering contrast to the 16,292 ballots received that won him his re-election merely two years prior. This election makes Wang the first city councillor from one of Taiwan’s six special municipalities to be recalled. More importantly, one can tentatively make a case that this is an important success for opposition parties such as the Kuomintang (KMT) and other pan-blue parties (e.g., People First Party) regaining political clout against the incumbent DPP government.

The Implication of Tsai’s Diplomatic Breakthrough for Cross-Strait Relations

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, President Tsai Ing-wen has been able to obtain and continue to sustain high supporting rates mainly due to the many successful policy measures put forward to contain the negative impacts of the pandemic. The first opinion poll conducted after Tsai commenced her second-term of presidency in May showed her reaching a record-high of 71.2 per cent of supporting rate. Although there have been changes to Tsai’s support rate in following months, including a 10.5 per cent drop to 61 per cent in June, she is still able to sustain a high popularity rate of 65.8 per cent according to an August survey.

Taiwan and the United Nations: Is the Tide Turning?

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Recent international developments have prompted some to speculate that we are in the midst of a critical juncture for Taiwan’s bid for admission to the United Nations (UN). On the plus side, Taiwan has received considerable international recognition for its successful policy responses toward the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is arguable that this in itself will increase the odds for its campaign to join the UN.

Taiwanese Identity and Racism in Taiwan

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. When the impact of COVID-19 was at its height in Asia this April, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, publicly accused Taiwan of continuously attacking him with racist slurs for months. Although these accusations have been proven to be false, with the ongoing Black Live Matters campaign taking place, it does give a good opportunity to reflect on whether racism exists in Taiwan. More importantly, how this contributes to the formation of Taiwan’s identity in the contemporary epoch.

Tsai’s Triple Stimulus Voucher Programme and a Missed Opportunity

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. After the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Government’s astonishing policy responses in containing the outbreak of COVID-19, the new battleground that would determine the trajectory of President Tsai Ing-wen and her Government’s approval rate lies in their ability to revitalise Taiwan’s economy. With the official launching of the “triple stimulus voucher” (三倍券) programme in July, it provides a good opportunity to evaluate the underlying rationale for this economic stimulus package and why it was a missed opportunity for Tsai to further her green agenda.

Han Revoked: Wither the Kuomintang?

Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. On 6 June 2020, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu suffered a devastating defeat in the recall election with almost 940,000 ballots agreeing to remove him from office after just 18 months since his inauguration. What are the underlying reasons for Han’s abrupt rise and fall over two years? What are the political implications of Han’s recall for not only the Kuomintang (KMT) but also the development of Taiwan’s democracy?