Written by Nicholas Welch. Approaching the January 2020 Taiwan elections, many Taiwanese and international spectators broadly feared PRC-based disinformation operations weakening Taiwan’s democratic institutions. In particular, many feared Russian-style “covert social influence via the use of bots and fake persona accounts,” which would sway public opinion en masse. Nevertheless, when the dust settled, it remained unclear whether the PRC propagated that form of disinformation at all. Before the election, and although no substantial evidence for such claims exists, the international community pre-emptively accused the PRC of spreading disinformation.
Written by John F. Copper. Shortly before Donald Trump left office, a top government leader in Taiwan proclaimed that he was the best U.S. president for Taiwan ever. Taiwan’s residents felt the same. President Trump ranked extraordinarily high in local public approval ratings. He was considered pro-Taiwan. Most believed he liked Taiwan and would protect it from China.
Written by Lotta Danielsson. The Taiwan economy fared well in 2020 and continues to do so into early 2021. This is primarily due to strong domestic demand, robust technology exports driven by the global shift to remote work, and a rebound in export orders for industrial goods. According to recent figures released by its national statistics bureau, Taiwan’s economic growth in 2020 was 2.98%, outperforming China’s same-year growth of 2.3% for the first time in 30 years.
Written by Dafydd Fell. At a time when political attention in Taiwan has been focused on growing Chinese military threats, the Covid-19 pandemic and the presidential campaign in the United States, it is not surprising that the Taiwanese media have largely ignored the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).
Written by Jacques deLisle. As the Biden administration takes office, expectations—and, in many quarters, hopes—are high that much will change in American foreign policy. U.S. policy on Taiwan-related issues, however, is not likely to shift fundamentally. That is an outcome that should be – and generally will be -welcome in Taiwan. The relationship’s foundations may be strengthened, and apparent post-Trump setbacks are likely illusory. For Taiwan, reasons for concern mostly lie elsewhere, in the fraught U.S.-China relationship, the mounting challenges posed by Beijing, and questions about how the U.S. will respond.
Written by Elizabeth Freund Larus and Shirley Martey Hargis. After a protracted battle, the election of Joe R. Biden as the 46th US President is all but certain. All eyes in Taiwan are now turning to Biden to see whether he will continue President Donald J. Trump’s hardline against China and support of Taiwan. For the past four years, the Trump administration and the US Congress have responded to Beijing’s attempts to ostracize Taiwan by increasing support for Taipei. During his campaign, Biden promised to get tough on China. Yet his history as a political moderate makes it unlikely that he will be antagonistic to China, especially when it involves Taiwan.
Written by Emily Weinstein. Nearly ten months after scientists identified COVID-19, China, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, and other countries are seeing a return to semi-normal life, albeit with mask-wearing and other precautionary measures. In most cases, these successes have been born from the deployment of various technologies aimed at monitoring citizens who have been exposed to the virus. At the same time, government use of these technologies is alarming privacy and human-rights advocates, particularly in countries with inadequate track records in personal freedoms for citizens. Is there a happy technological medium that respects personal privacy while simultaneously managing the spread of this pandemic?
Written by Qi Dongtao. China’s recently released communique of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drew much attention. This is because it not only contains proposals for China’s 14th Five-Year Plan but also because people are curious to know how Beijing will address the unprecedented internal and external challenges that China is facing.
Written by Don McLain Gill. As Taiwan celebrates its National Day on October 10, the Indian media has played a pivotal role in creating an amiable platform for fostering closer relations between the two peoples. Throughout history, non-state actors such as the media, think tanks, and other organisations have continuously played a crucial role in forging closer ties between Taiwan and India. However, if India continues to appease China vis-à-vis its “One China Policy,” relations between New Delhi and Taipei may not be significantly maximised.
Written by Joshua Bernard B. Espeña. China’s aggressive rise for regional dominance continues to upset the rules-based order. The United States, together with Japan, Australia, and India are seeking to balance the power through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad). The Quad met in a face-to-face meeting this October in Tokyo and discussed their common interest to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. As the United Nations General Assembly is preparing to meet in New York for its annual gathering, the international community is facing multiple issues in all parts of the world that need to be resolved. Among all of those issues, there is one burning question: why is a free and democratic Taiwan not part of the gathering? Why is a vibrant democracy being excluded from the international family of nations?
Written by Ferran Perez Mena. During the past year, the Hong Kong protests, along with the newly approved National Security Law, have generated much anxiety in Taiwan. They have been perceived by both the DPP’s political elite and the Taiwanese public as a premonition of what lies ahead for Taiwan. One of the popular slogans of the protests, “Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow Taiwan” (今天的香港,明天的台灣), perfectly epitomises the widespread unease that such political events are producing and the apparent inevitability of Taiwan’s downfall.