Written by Kyoung M. Shin and Chan-Yuan Wong. As the initial shockwave ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to subsiding, it is imperative to start a more nuanced discussion about pertinent public policies. Even in countries such as Taiwan, who have thus far proven to be relatively more successful in stemming the tide, the government is still emphasising economic re-opening. It is often touted across the globe that Taiwan has been one of the more, if not the most, successful countries in combating COVID-19—and rightfully so. As of October 1, 2020, there has been a total of only 514 documented cases in Taiwan, most of which have been “imported.” While most countries around the world are still struggling to cope with the coronavirus, there has been no report of domestically contracted case in Taiwan since mid-April.
Written by Bonny Ling. Taiwan continues to be dogged by cases of extrajudicial killing, violating the fundamental human right to life, liberty, and security of person. A recent prominent case is the killing of a young Vietnamese migrant worker, Nguyen Quoc Phi, in August 2017 by a novice police officer in Hsinchu. The killing of Nguyen, immortalised in the two Taiwanese documentaries of the same name “Nine Shots” by Su Che-hsien and Tsai Tsung-lung, was marked by police brutality. The title is a reference to the number of bullets fired by the police officer in mere 12 seconds, killing an unarmed and unclothed Nguyen.
Written by Hsin-Chi Lee. In the 2020 Taiwanese presidential election held in January, Taiwan’s first female president Tsai Ing-wen won her second term. At the same time female representation reached a record high- 42% of legislators are now women, which is top rate in Asia.
Written by Frédéric Krumbein. As the only Chinese democracy that has ever existed, Taiwan shows that Chinese culture, authentic democracy and respect for human rights can coexist. It is thus pertinent to ask – to what extent is Taiwan a bastion of democracy and human rights? How has Taiwan gone about promoting these values in the region, and how will it continue to do so moving forward?
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 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.
Written by Ibtisam Ahmed. Pride season in 2019 has brought some extraordinary victories for the global LGBTQ+ community. Bhutan is on the cusp of decriminalising homosexuality after an overwhelming vote in the lower house repealed its anti-sodomy law. The judiciary in Botswana has overturned a colonial-era penal code clause that criminalised homosexuality, continuing the recent trend of queer liberation through decolonisation. Ecuador has become the latest South American country to recognise same-sex marriage.
Written by Mei-Nu Yu and Yiching Yang. We passed the law on 17 May – the International Day Against Homophobia. Taiwan has proven that we are a country supporting diversity and gender equality, and we are now the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.
Written by Benedict Rogers. On Radio Taiwan International I was asked if Xi’s China is night and Taiwan is day, what is Hong Kong? “Dusk”, I replied. I can only hope that the sun will rise again in Hong Kong, that daylight will emerge in mainland China, and that all of us who cherish freedom and democracy will defend Taiwan.
Written by Evan Fowler. The Tiananmen massacre was a watershed that profoundly changed all our lives. After that day, the shadow of July 1st, 1997, the day Britain would hand Hong Kong over to the People’s Republic of China, hung over my family like a heavy, terrifying dark cloud of worry tinged with fear.
Written by Ross Tandy. When it comes to dealing with China, certain issues are sensitive and have to be dealt with as such. Human rights and Taiwan are two issues that certainly fit these criteria. Following the events of 4 June 1989, the West was united in condemning the acts of China.
Written by Joseph A. Bosco. The 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre reminds us of what remains unchanged in China’s authoritarian government despite decades of Western engagement. The “China dream” espoused by President Xi Jinping is not the same as what the Chinese people dream for their country.