Sight and Sound: Conversations on Death Penalty between Taiwan and Southeast Asia

Written by Kar-Yen Leong. In an article by Franklin Zimring and David Johnson, we are reminded of the importance of studying the death penalty in Asia as it is the site of “…at least 85 per cent and as many as 95 per cent of the world’s execution.” The authors add that the region is a key battleground as to whether this practice will continue or become a remnant of a less civilised past. This struggle is no more intense than in East and Southeast Asian states, where the death penalty is not only an indelible part of only their legal systems but also their very societies. The decision to retain or abolish the death penalty has become a matter of intense soul-searching among states such as Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia, navigating landscapes replete with ghosts of colonial and authoritarian pasts. For these countries, the state’s power over life and death is a direct extension of its sovereignty. Giving up this power is to lose that sovereignty, but it also means the loss of a weapon of last resort forged to keep the forces of chaos at bay.

Roots and Routes in the Malay World and Beyond: Dialogues Between Singapore and Taiwan

Written by Doris Yang. In 2021, five artists/researchers from Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan gathered to present their project, The Malay World Project: Roots & Routes, in an online event held by Taipei Performing Arts Center. This event was inspired by a research project asking, ‘Where do the Malays originate?’ Not only did the project study the diaspora of Malay peoples around the Asia-Pacific, but it also created a space for dialogue between Taiwan’s Indigenous people and Malay in Singapore and Malaysia on the issues of identity and belonging. This article compares the advocacy experiences of Malay people in Singapore and Indigenous people in Taiwan. I argue that there is space to foster additional connections and collaborations between the civil societies among these two groups.

Why Should Taiwan’s Civil Society Raise Its Focus on Southeast Asia and Forge Concrete Collaborations?

Written by Liang Liang. Like most once-colonised countries, Taiwan has experienced a chequered history. However, the unique part of Taiwan, which may not be so similar to the rest of the world, is that the historical remnant has resulted in its awkward (but de facto independent) status, hence making Taiwan a coveted land to China. As a result, Taiwan has been identified as the “canary in the monetary coal mine” globally when China’s sharp power grows unprecedentedly. While Taiwan gradually receives interest from all over the world, including Southeast Asia, “the world” used to signify only China and the United States to the Taiwanese government and society. Located at the crossroads of Northeast and Southeast Asia and frequently using the slogan “The Heart of Asia” in its global tourism advertisements, it had, however, rarely shared the same interests and consciousness with its southern neighbours.

What Are Taiwanese Comics?

Written by Adina Zemanek. It can be argued that the above are examples of creativity driven by state-led ideological aspirations, which cannot find a wide readership in Taiwan. However, they are intensively promoted to international audiences and may shape their perception of Taiwanese comics. At the same time, the number of such works and the state-encouraged discussions may ultimately lead to a shift in local audiences’ expectations.

Semiconductor industry: a shield to Taiwan or the source of insecurity?

Written by Guo-Huei Chen and Ming-En Hsiao. That is why Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is a key element in the strategic competition between the United States and China in science and technology. Losing Taiwan is equivalent to losing the power to speak in future innovative technology. Neither the United States nor China can afford the consequences of losing Taiwan’s semiconductors.

Tibetan Diaspora in Taiwan: Who are They and Why They are Invisible (2)

Written by Dolma Tsering. Taiwan’s dilemma related to TDT reflects the structural challenges of its democratic system that continues to maintain many of the ROC’s political and administrative structures. Some scholars I interviewed argued that constitutional reform related to Tibet and Tibetans would significantly impact the current status quo of Taiwan and its relationship with China. Therefore, because of this complex nexus, Taiwan has failed to reform many of the early nationalist models, and the dilemma related to Tibet is one of them.

Tibetan Diaspora in Taiwan: Who are They and Why They are Invisible (1)

Written by Dolma Tsering. The government’s official website describes Taiwan as a multicultural society. It further stated that in addition to the dominant Han population, Taiwan is home to aboriginals, Malayo-Polynesian and new immigrants that hailed mainly from China and Southeast Asian countries. The Han population constitutes 95 per cent of the total population, followed by new immigrants that constitute 2.6 per cent and the indigenous population with 2.5 per cent. However, what is missing in this description, in particular and generally in the discourse of immigrants and ethnic diversity in Taiwan, is the Tibetan diaspora.

The gulf that separates Taiwan and China is getting wider (1)

Written by Daniel Jia. The question, then, is why the CCP’s “reunification” agenda faces increasing resistance from Taiwan? The answers are in Xi’s Report and will be even more obvious compared to another speech given by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen a week earlier at a National Day ceremony on October 10. The following are six takeaways from Xi’s Report that merit a close examination.

Taiwan’s Single-Payer National Health Insurance at a Crossroads: Barbarians at the Gate and Way Forward 

Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. Chronic financial instability and the difficulty the government has with raising the premium rate to balance the budget aside, the NHI faces myriad other challenges, including rising patient-consumer expectations and demands for ever more and better health care, the high cost of new medical technology and its coverage, provider payment reform, health care workforce shortages, ageing of the population, building long term care, etc.  

Health Issues Facing Tongzhi/LGBTQ+ People in Taiwan 

Written by JhuCin Rita Jhang, Ph.D. The possibilities to study tongzhi/LGBTQ+ health are endless. Tongzhi/LGBTQ+ issues are a chance to reexamine existing power structures, assumptions, beliefs, and biases and challenge exclusive and even oppressive systems. Suppose Taiwan pledges to adhere to international human rights standards and aspires to be the leader in tongzhi/LGBTQs rights in Asia. In that case, we cannot afford to ignore tongzhi/LGBTQ+ (nor anyone else) in health, medicine, and social policies.  

Towards a Better New Normal: The Solidarity of Differences and Cultural Safety of Public Health  

Written by Po-Han Lee. The ethical imperative of the human rights-based approach to public health requires the ‘acceptability’ (including cultural appropriateness) of health policymaking, impact assessment, and care services. In this context, Cultural competence in public health practices is concerned with ‘health for all’ through ‘safety for all’. That is, the principle of cultural safety, along with awareness of intersectional marginalisation, is to eliminate health inequities due to systemic racism and eventually decolonise public and global health practices.

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