Written by Chihhao Yu. People across Taiwan are building new communities. They are reaching out, with or without tech, to listen, to search for conversations, empathy, to connect realities, and create common experiences. These builders of community do not resort to fear or divisiveness when confronting challenges and attacks to their worldviews and values. They keep faith in our commonalities as people of this land. Communities are what we have and building them is what we should do.
Written by Abbas Faiz. At a time when democracy is being battered by populist leaders in Western countries and demonised by authoritarian states around the globe, seeing democratic aspirations held dearly in Taiwan and Hong Kong is greatly reassuring. Taiwanese have stood fast in their resolve to protect their hard-earned democracy. Despite the real threat of annexation by China, they have not fallen into the trap of authoritarianism that characterises the spectrum of post-liberation states elsewhere.
Written by Theodore Taptiklis. Taiwan and New Zealand share common themes around democratic participation and economic development based on distinctive comparative advantage. We are also connected via our indigenous peoples, the Taiwanese of whom may have formed part of the great chain of Pacific migrants that led to New Zealand’s pre-colonial settlement. And now, Taiwan’s ‘southbound’ outlook and its emphasis on youth development may connect us even further.
Written by Theodore Taptiklis. In Taiwan established internet infrastructure is being overlaid with new levels of creative functionality. These are opening up and transforming the polity and the meaning of citizenship in a range of mutually reinforcing ways. For example, Pol.is is enabling public consultation to be scaled to large numbers. Citizens can create a Pol.is identity using Facebook or Twitter and can see themselves and their concerns in relation to one another much more clearly with the help of a visual interface.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. I just finished watching a powerful video of a street singer standing on a street corner in Hong Kong, singing pro-democracy songs. Some policemen moved in to stop him from singing, but despite the menacing position of the police, the presence of a surrounding crowd prevented them from acting. In the end, the singer wins, and the police lose.
Written by Michael Chan. The months-long protests have generated much interest and sympathy from Taiwan’s citizens. Prominent pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have gone to Taiwan to appeal for assistance and support, and commentators have noted that the protests may have altered the dynamics of Taiwan’s 2020 election. This essay, however, looks at Taiwan from a Hong Kong perspective and how the ‘idea’ of Taiwan has been appropriated as symbols of resistance against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.
Written by Milo Hsieh. As the protests in Hong Kong continue, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese around the world have demonstrated a surprising level of solidarity. Taiwanese have mobilised to send protest gear to Hong Kong, and coordinate activists to speak at events, organise protest support rallies and create “Lennon Walls” to raise awareness. But just what explains such spontaneous, global demonstrations of Hong Konger-Taiwanese solidarity?
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. 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 J. Michael Cole. Despite the high polarization that characterizes Taiwanese politics, the country’s three-decade-long democratic history has, to its credit, witnessed near-universal respect for those ideals. The three transitions that have occurred since democratization — in 2000, 2008 and 2016 — have been peaceful; even the paper-thin re-election of Chen Shui-bian in 2004, during which some members of the opposition camp engaged in acts of violence, never came close to being regarded as illegitimate.
Written by Robert S. Wang. As I see it, the United States and EU governments need to respond urgently and strongly at this time if they are to show that they truly intend to defend the values of the liberal international order. They should start by working with human rights NGOs to document and publicise even more widely China’s gross human rights violations. The aim here is to raise public awareness and highlight deteriorating human rights conditions under China’s increasingly repressive authoritarian regime for the world, including Chinese people at home and abroad, to see.
Written by Kevin Lin. In mid-August 2018, over 250 labour activists from more than a dozen countries across Asia spent three days in Taipei at the first Labour Notes regional conference. The gathering was meant to highlight the serious labour organising in Asia and discuss the ways forward. It was a unique occasion in many ways.