‘The New Normal’ and New Governance Models in Taiwan

Written by Chih-chien Lin. Mark Twain once said ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.’ On December 31st, 2019, the WHO office in Beijing reported unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. On February 23rd, 2020, right before Chinese New Year, governments enforced large-scale traffic control (aka lockdown) in Wuhan. On February 27th, the Central Epidemic Command Centre in Taiwan gave its highest alert. It was a serious warning about the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic.

A Fourth U.S. Communiqué on the Sovereignty of Taiwan?

Written by David Pendery. This work will examine the possibility of a new announcement by the United States, which on the surface may appear to be an agreement between the United States and China but which is not, in fact, that. In a word, it is not a formal treaty or concord. It would instead express a US view on the reality of international relations. I will call it a “Fourth Communiqué,” and like the well-known first three communiqués, it would in large measure deal with relations between the US, Taiwan, and China, with other essential considerations.

In the Wake of the Afghanistan Withdrawal, the US Must Send the Right Signals on Taiwan (Part II)

Written by Corey Lee Bell. In part one of this series, I discussed how important it is for the US to move quickly to convince China that its withdrawal from Afghanistan is not symptomatic of a retreat towards isolationism but rather part of a strategy of redirecting American resources to the Indo-Pacific and the defence of Taiwan in particular. However, with the Biden administration likely to stop short of formally declaring ‘strategic clarity’ (i.e., that it will definitely fight China if it invaded or embargoed Taiwan), and with China thus far having a low estimation of America’s resolve and capacity to defend the island, I suggested demonstrating this through actions that show that America is not only strengthening its regional presence, but also its preparedness and combat readiness.

In the Wake of the Afghanistan Withdrawal, the US Must Send the Right Signals on Taiwan (Part I)

Written by Corey Lee Bell. There is little doubt that America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a propaganda boon for Beijing. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Chinese state media’s efforts to draw parallels between Afghanistan’s abandonment and the potential fate of Taiwan. Already, Chinese press, and pro-China media and political allies in Taiwan, are telling the Taiwanese people that America cannot be relied upon, with one article, from China’s state-mouthpiece Global Times, warning that if “total war” broke out in the Taiwan Strait, “America will not rush to the rescue.”

Taiwan and the Instrumentalization of the US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Written by J. Michael Cole. With all that renewed focus on Taiwan, however, also comes responsibilities. Taiwan’s elevated importance does not signify that it can take a backseat and let others ensure its security. As President Tsai remarked recently, “Taiwan’s only option is to make ourselves stronger, more united and more resolute in our determination to protect ourselves.” If there is one thing that the US experience in Afghanistan can teach us, it is that even the world’s top superpower cannot bend reality to its will, no matter how hard and long it tries.

The Fall of Afghanistan: Why Taiwan is Fundamentally Different?

Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The scenes from the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan are heart-wrenching. One would have hoped that the withdrawal by the United States and its Allies could have been planned such that it would be taking place in a more orderly fashion. Many an analysis will be written on this topic (…) A brief scan of the internet shows that Beijing’s propaganda machine is already hard at work to capitalize on the moment by publishing several articles implying that Taiwan could befall the same fate.

Freedom Where? The Theme of ‘Escape’ in the Novels of Diasporic Taiwanese Writer Hualing Nieh

Written by Fang Tang. In the early 1920s, many writers from mainland China migrated to Taiwan because of socio-political upheavals, thus began their unending diasporic ‘escape’ journey. One of these authors, Hualing Nieh, expresses the thoughts of a generation of diasporic writers, illustrating in her work with particular emphasis the theme of ‘escape.’ Born in 1925 in Wuhan, Hubei, China, Nieh experienced the Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War.

What is ‘Home’ and Who are the ‘Overseas Chinese’?

Written by Yun Seh Lee. This year marks the 100th anniversary of that first KMT-CCP coalition, and the competition across the Taiwan Strait is still going strong. Focusing on the Overseas Chinese communities across the globe – a term populated by the prominent scholar Wang Gungwu – both players have been enthusiastically trying to win the hearts and minds of this diaspora. The label ‘Overseas Chinese’ itself hints at an ongoing link to China, but the PRC and Taiwan dispute the nature of that link and its contemporary manifestation.

Gender Politics: Public Views of Women in Politics

Written by Timothy S. Rich, Madelynn Einhorn, and Isabel Eliassen. Taiwan’s efforts at gender parity for electoral offices have resulted in a legislature where women currently hold 41.6% of seats. This leaves Taiwan ranked 12th globally, with only one Asian country (Timor-Leste) with similar rates. However, despite the success of President Tsai Ing-wen, the vast majority of executive offices (mayors and magistrates) are still held by men. Gender equality and the rise of women in national politics are common narratives when discussing Taiwanese politics.

A Geothermal Solution to the Problems and Risks in Taiwan’s Electricity System

Written by Yeh-Tang Huang. On May 13th, 2021, Taiwan was paralysed by a national blackout. For five hours, multiple regions all over the country experienced periodic power outages that lasted for as long as 50 minutes at a time. Hundreds of people got stuck in elevators. The Central Epidemic Command Centre COVID-19 press conference that was happening was forced to end early. Traffic became a mess as traffic lights stopped working. Then on May 17th, another wave of blackout swept across the country. As disruptive as these blackouts were, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

Zenly, Dumplings, and Bad Girls: surveillance and social work in Wanhua

Written by Peijun Guo, translated by Sam Robbins. When Amber had asked Hsiao-hao what he had been doing since dropping out of high school, Hsiao-hao said he had been looking for a job but couldn’t find one, and now has nothing to do. Amber then went to talk to Mei-mei, asking her, “Hsiao-hao isn’t going to school, he’s not looking for a job, he’s not doing anything, what do you think? Do you think this is good? I’m not trying to take sides; I wanna know what you think.” Mei-mei gave Amber a thumb’s up and said, “I think it’s great; if my dad didn’t try to stop me, I’d want to do exactly what Hsiao-hao is doing”

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