Written by Chieh-Ting Yeh. If—and it’s a big if—the KMT could reinvent itself again, it could find a way to shed the old rifts between the ideological and the opportunistic camps. It could present a platform that is clear in its stance on major social issues. It could take the lead in reviewing its own past as a perpetrator of human rights abuses, even if just to get the issue off its back. It could convince Taiwan’s voters that its China policy is no longer motivated by the older generation’s national identity crisis but based on a pragmatic approach to protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty and security. It could be hopeful. But looking at how the KMT finally settles on its presidential candidate, the KMT still has a very long way to go—and not very much time.
Will the KMT’s Generational Divide Harm its 2024 Election Prospects?
Written by Andrew LaRocca. Caesar, The Planet of the Apes protagonist who incites a rebellion to usher in a new civilization, was recently drawn into the KMT’s internal debates when Taipei City councillor Hsu Chiao-hsin changed her Facebook profile picture to Caesar amidst her escalating battle with senior legislator Fei Hongtai. In the comments, netizens joked: “How many terms can upper leaders serve? How old are those seniors?” Hsu’s Caesar reference reflected a sentiment expressed by many Taiwanese youths: the KMT and its leaders are out of touch with Taiwan’s younger generations.
Not A New Story: Tracing the History of Corruption in Tainan
Written by Jonathan Leung. Earlier this year, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Tainan City Council, Chiu Li-li and Lin Chih-chan, were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a bribery case related to the speaker election last December. However, this is not the first time incidents concerning the speaker election in Tainan City Council have made headlines. Accidents and controversies have arisen several times, drawing attention to the Tainan City Council’s speaker election held every four years in December.
From Kuomintang to Democracy: The Evolution of Clientelism and Its Legacy
Written by Matthew Yi-Hsiu Lee. The democratic performance in Taiwan today is evident, but this does not mean that it does not have a dark side. Recently, during the by-election of a legislator in Nantou, some people held cameras to supervise whether others voted, which violated the privacy and rights of the general public. These people are brokers and part of a more extensive authoritarian legacy. They monitor whether voters go to vote, which may also involve vote-buying fraud and serving so-called “local factions.” However, what are the mysterious “local factions”? Why do they appear? And what impact do they have on democracy?
Freedom Fighting: Taiwan’s Resistance against China’s Ethnonationalism
Written by Hsin-I Cheng. In the past decade, the world has heard the resisting voices of dissidents across Asia. From the 2014 Sunflower Movement to the Occupied Central Movement in Hong Kong later in the same year, citizens peacefully held their governments accountable. Since then, we have witnessed mass protests for freedom and transparency in nations. These challenges against authoritarianism generated transnational synergy, as demonstrated in the “#Milk Tea Alliance.” This movement started in 2020 when young Thai netizens fought cyberattacks against two Thai celebrities who expressed support for Taiwan and Hong Kong’s autonomy. Shockingly, two years later, the world witnessed Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine—it is a less militarily powerful neighbouring nation. Against these backdrops, we launched the book: Resistance in the Era of Nationalisms: Performing Identities in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Taiwan Cabinet Reshuffle, DPP’s Fundamentalist Shift, and Faction Infighting Ahead of the 2024 Election Cycle
Written by Milo Hsieh. On January 30th, the Tsai administration finalised its cabinet reshuffle. With former vice-President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) taking the helm of Taiwan’s Executive Yuan as premier, Tsai brings back a former ally as the four-year tenure of former Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) concludes after a series of electoral fumbles by the DPP. Moreover, with Taiwan’s 2024 presidential and legislative election less than a year away, the party also shifts back closer to its founding principles with the election of Vice-president William Lai (賴清德) as chair.
The KMT, Ethnic Chauvinism, and the Freddy Lim Recall
Written by Michael A. Turton. Of course, ethnic chauvinism is not the only reason for the two recalls but given how rightist politicians spearheaded the recalls, it obviously played a role. Chen and Lim’s energetic, intelligent, self-aware Taiwaneseness was obviously provoking for a colonial elite whose ideological heart contains a powerful streak of racism and ethnic chauvinism directed at other ethnicities in Taiwan. Hopefully, discussions of Taiwan politics will shed more light on this key shaper of KMT attitudes toward Taiwan, and Taiwanese attitudes toward the KMT, especially among the young.