Written by Qi Dongtao. As usual, Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural speech on May 20 maintained her low-key, down-to-earth style without much surprise. From Beijing’s perspective, since she did not explicitly accept the “one-China principle” in the speech, she failed Beijing’s so-called “exam” again and therefore was severely criticised by Beijing. But since Beijing had already concluded that she would never openly accept the “one-China principle,” her speech did not surprise Beijing.
Written by Milo Hsieh. Alan Yang’s first feature film, Tigertail, recounts the tale of Pin-jui, a Taiwanese immigrant estranged from his family after arriving in New York. The Taiwanese backdrop sets the film apart from The Farewell, which also captured attention with its Asian American immigrant narrative. This has heightened expectations among Taiwanese and diaspora audiences for a film that portrays Taiwan not as a generic East Asian country but one with a unique culture and history.
Written by Mary Wang. Reading Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus’ canonical novel, The Plague at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak led me to meditate on Taiwan’s current situation and the possibilities for its future. As the COVID-19 crisis has been unfolding, paralysing the whole globe, I found that Camus’ novel allows for meaningful comparison between the situation described in Camus’ short novel and the experience of Taiwan as an estranged member of the international community.
Written by Gerald R. Gems. Given the politics of state-building in Asia over the last half-century, and the continuing contentious debate over Taiwanese sovereignty, sport has played (and continues to play) a significant role in the creation and perpetuation of a national identity. Japan occupied Taiwan from 1895 to 1945 as compensation after its victory over China in the war of 1895. Baseball, an American sport, had taken hold in Japan by that time, and the Japanese introduced the game to Taiwan. In time, it became the most popular spectator sport in Taiwan.
Written by Justin Kwan. In an attempt to reach audiences in Taiwan and Hong Kong, China has attempted to use both Hokkien and Cantonese in its messaging through media and popular culture, eliciting mixed responses from locals in both places. In the case of Taiwan, Beijing resorted to a strategy of direct coercion in 2018, when it released a dubbed propaganda video in Hokkien titled ‘God of War’. The video featured bomber aircrafts flying around Taiwan, a warning from Beijing for the islands Taiwanese-speaking activists to curb their so-called ‘pro-independence’ activities.
Written by Zhidong Hao. In 2014, the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong failed to persuade the Beijing government to grant them full universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive. Since then the so-called high degree of autonomy guaranteed by the Basic Law was eroded so much that Hong Kong was becoming more like Macau. Macau has been touted by the Central government as a perfect model of ‘one country, two systems’, but in reality, it is more like a model of ‘one country, one and a quarter systems’, i.e. an authoritarian system plus some press freedom.