Written by Robert S. Wang. While most people agree we need to probe into the origin of the current Coronavirus pandemic, many continue to urge that we initially focus on containing the pandemic and address the broad issues of cause later on. This is also what China’s President Xi Jinping proposed in his speech, along with the offer of $2 billion in assistance, at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly meeting on May 18.
Written by T.Y. Wang. With its recent dispute with the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the island country has grabbed international headlines again, which may aid its efforts to join the international health organisation. Responding to a question from a reporter, and without providing any evidence, Tedros claimed that the Taipei government was behind recent death threats and racist online attacks against him.
Written by Dean P. Chen. On March 26, 2020, as the United States is under enormous pressure coping with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping across the globe, President Donald Trump signed into law the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019. Passed unanimously by the two chambers of U.S. Congress — the Senate in October 2019 and House in March 2020 — the act pushes for enhanced American government support for Taiwan’s international participation. It thus requires the State Department to report to Congress on steps taken to strengthen the island democracy’s diplomatic relations with other partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Written by Makiko Mori. Wu Zhuoliu’s (1900–1976) Orphan of Asia is a renowned work of colonial Taiwanese literature. Surreptitiously written towards the end of Japan’s colonial rule in Taiwan (1895-1945), this semi-autobiographical novel bears a powerful witness to Taiwan’s deeply troubled, albeit legitimately modern, claim for the right to self-determination and self-representation.
Written by Walter C. Clemens, Jr. Hong Kongers have earned the right to genuine self-rule. This essay suggests how this could happen within the framework of “One Country, Two Systems.” But Hong Kongers’ demands for freedom go against the tide of repression—not just in Russia, Turkey, and India but especially in China. Claiming that he will restore China’s former glory, President Xi Jinping is becoming the country’s most supreme bully since Mao Zedong.
Written by J. Michael Cole. Liberal democratic societies are simply incompatible with the increasingly authoritarian mindset that animates the CCP. The notion that their inhabitants — global, connected and proud of their liberties — would willingly cede their freedoms to Beijing is naive at best. Such illusions are being shattered in Hong Kong as we speak, and the idea that the Taiwanese would be any less committed to preserving their hard-earned democracy is preposterous. It says a lot about the CCP’s appeal that the only way it can quiet down discontent on its peripheries is through pacification.
Written by J. Michael Cole. Rather than isolate Taiwan and Hong Kong, Beijing’s unwillingness to accommodate different political systems on its peripheries and its inability to do “soft power” effectively has had the opposite effect: more than ever, Taiwan and Hong Kong are joining hands in their opposition to the CCP.
Written by Brian Hoie. Caution seems necessary for Taiwanese traveling to China going forward, then. There are at least three cases of Taiwanese held in China—if not more—on charges of endangering the state security of the Chinese government. At this point, whether pro-independence or pro-unification, it seems that simply being Taiwanese could possibly be sufficient cause for arbitrary detention by the Chinese government.
Written by R. D. Cheng. On March 31, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) warplanes flew across the “median line” in the Taiwan Strait that has long served as an unofficial airspace boundary between Taiwan and China. This behaviour was unusual and provocative move on China’s part — the first time in 20 years that such a deliberate incursion took place.
Written by Po-hsi Chen. Guo’s concern resembled the philosophical rendition of the post-war Czechoslovakian ‘socialism with a human face’, which emphasised individual freedom and personal choice under the Soviet regime. Indeed, Guo passingly referred to ‘Second World’ Eastern European communist theorists’ re-reading of Sartre in the post-Stalin context.
Written by Yu-Cheng Shih. The fishing and sailing communities during the Cold War is a long-neglected subject in current Cold War scholarship. For fishers and sailors whose livelihood requires frequent border-crossing, legal documentation became necessary, lest they be arrested as undocumented immigrants or smugglers. In other words, the new Cold War border illegalised a considerable part of these people’s livelihoods.
Written by Chiung. The political conflict between China and Taiwan has existed since 1949. The current government of China, officially called the People’s Republic of China, has been established since 1949. On the other hand, the government of Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, was established by Sun Yat-Sen in 1912. In fact, both countries originated in Mainland China. However, after the Chinese Civil War (1927 to 1950), the China government was split into two parts led by two political parties, the Kuomintang of China and the Communist Party of China. The Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan, and the the Communist Party founded the People’s Republic of China.