Written by Gunter Schubert. The Taiwanese people and their political representatives must decide if they want to forge a national consensus on their relationship with China and communicate this clearly in Europe and beyond – or if they would rather prefer to adhere to an unclarified stance on their national identity and the concept of ‘unification’, giving in to uncompromising viewpoints and undermining any chances as gaining the lasting support of the countries that cherish democracy and admire their struggle for survival.
Written by Mark Hsiang-Yu Feng. It is common to see that many Taiwanese musicians employ Western compositional concepts, theories, and approaches to express Taiwanese identity through music and musical performance. For example, during the 2020 presidential and general election in Taiwan, Legislator Freddy Lim, the vocalist of a renowned Taiwanese metal group called ChthoniC, gave a live concert called Taiwan Victory to congregate voters and solicit votes in front of Taiwan’s Presidential House. Many Taiwanese people showed interest in his performance, as he sang heavy metal songs to gather voters and fight against political infiltration from China. After the concert, The Guardian’s report highlights Lim’s unique career trajectory from a musician to a politician in Taiwan and the creativity of bringing music to the campaign.
Written by Chen I-Chen. Is Indigeneity a self-evident category? Or is “Indigenous” defined differently by the policies and politics of each nation-state? On June 28, 2022, a constitutional review of the Supreme Court’s debate on the Indigenous Status of the “Plains” peoples (the “Pingpu,” 平埔族群) shed light on the discussion surrounding Taiwan’s national recognition of Indigenous status. The “Plains” peoples, headed by the Siraya, had fought for more than three decades to have their Indigenous status recognised under the category of the “lowland” Indigenous peoples (平地原住民)”. As a crucial result of the long struggle for the Plains peoples’ legal status, the final judgement will be declared no later than this late November.
Written by Shih-Yueh Yang. By preserving the Chinese identity, Taiwan can mitigate its political differences with the Mainland and thus be the sustenance of the whole Chinese people for a free, democratic, and equally prosperous China. With such a great and just cause for the future of the Chinese nation, Taiwan will get its strongest defence, and the danger of wars will also be minimized in the first place.
Written by Hung-yi Chien. In short, I would argue that “being Sinitic” is not inconceivable. New students of Taiwan studies in overseas countries need elements of sinology to grow up. The lesson from the Taiwan studies programmes in Taiwanese universities suggests that a new discipline requires a fertile ground to nurture it. In countries where sinology is available, this “politically incorrect” discipline is inevitable to play an important role in recruiting new students to Taiwan studies.
Written by T.Y. Wang and Christopher H. Achen. We believe, however, that Taiwan’s distinctness requires focused scholarly attention from those who study it. The academic infrastructure that will make real progress and productivity possible is one in which the study of Taiwan is its own academic specialisation, equal in standing to the study of China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, or any other part of Asia with a distinct identity. In our opinion, the distinct institutional structures for Taiwan studies that have developed should be continued and strengthened. Journals dedicated to research on Taiwan should also be encouraged and strengthened to make them visible and widely cited as flagship publications like China Quarterly.
Written by Josie-Marie Perkuhn and Hung-yi Chien. Therefore, we call for a more comprehensive cross-perspective and interdisciplinary academic dialogue to encounter the current segregations and broaden the community by strengthening the interconnectivity. Although some topics, such as identity politics and the cross-strait tension, have caught particular attention in recent years, Taiwan studies still lack some ‘infrastructure’ that helps new students of Taiwan to grow upon it. With this sort of infrastructure, even if Taiwan lose its existence as an independent entity in the future, the shared discipline of sinology researching Taiwan, in particular, will last, and Sinitic knowledge will become the common heritage of human beings.
Written by Milo Hsieh. During the Olympics, Taiwan’s “Chinese Taipei” name was on display for two weeks, reminding the world that “Taiwan” remains not to be mentioned at the Olympics. That name, a less than preferred one for the people of Taiwan, was introduced in 1979 due to the Nagoya Resolution. That year, the People’s Republic of China representatives agreed to participate in the 1980 Olympics only if athletes representing Taiwan used the name “Chinese Taipei.” Though the name is today unrepresentative of the country Taiwan has become, it was nevertheless accepted by Taiwan’s Republic of China government at the time.
Written by Fang Tang. In the early 1920s, many writers from mainland China migrated to Taiwan because of socio-political upheavals, thus began their unending diasporic ‘escape’ journey. One of these authors, Hualing Nieh, expresses the thoughts of a generation of diasporic writers, illustrating in her work with particular emphasis the theme of ‘escape.’ Born in 1925 in Wuhan, Hubei, China, Nieh experienced the Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War.
Written by GuoTing Lin (Kuing). This work uses digital ethnography to consider how Taiwanese indigenous musicians utilise Facebook as their primary official platform for audience communication. I go about this by analysing cover images, profiles, photos, and feeds on Facebook, which is used to depict the details of the texts, photos, and videos. It thus shows the self-presentation and the communication of Taiwanese indigenous musicians concerning cultural and social issues. Moreover, I argue that indigenous musicians perform their identity through online self-presentation in everyday life.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. When the impact of COVID-19 was at its height in Asia this April, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, publicly accused Taiwan of continuously attacking him with racist slurs for months. Although these accusations have been proven to be false, with the ongoing Black Live Matters campaign taking place, it does give a good opportunity to reflect on whether racism exists in Taiwan. More importantly, how this contributes to the formation of Taiwan’s identity in the contemporary epoch.
Written by Fang Tang. The word ‘diaspora’ derives from the Greek – dia, ‘through’, and speirein, ‘to scatter’， and was used to refer to the exile of the Jewish people from their homeland, the historic Israel. William Safran extends this concept in modern society to encompass a feeling of alienation, a nostalgic longing for the homeland and the self-consciousness act of defining one’s ethnicity. Over the past several decades, Chinese diasporic literature has generally been concerned with the motifs of nostalgia, homesickness, cultural identity and a sense of belonging.