Tsai Ing-Wen’s Inaugural Address for the Second Term: “Unprecedented Challenges and Unparalleled Opportunities”

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.

‘Tigertail’ Missed These Opportunities to Tell Taiwan’s History

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.

Epidemics, National Consciousness and the Existential Value of Taiwan

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.

Sport as a Marker of National Identity in Taiwan

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.

Dispelling the monolith: The geopolitics of language in Taiwan and Hong Kong

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.

A clash or reconciliation of nationalisms across the Taiwan Strait?

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.

Understanding New Residents’ Voting Preferences in Taiwan: the Case of Mainland Spouses

Written by Lara Momesso and Grace Lee. Never before have new residents been so important in the electoral campaign debate as in the last few years. Not only they are seen as potential voters by mainstream parties, but they also have organised collectively to support their favourite party in the electoral campaigns. More recently, new residents have stepped into politics by running for elections as candidates in legislative elections.

False Identity? Forced Identity?: Taiwan in China’s post-Tiananmen Nationalism

Written by Rowena He. The hijacking of history by the Chinese Communist Party, together with the manipulation of nationalistic sentiments, promotes historical amnesia, fosters a narrow and xenophobic nationalism, impedes reflection on historical tragedies and injustice, and stokes enthusiasm for China’s growing international assertiveness. And such state-sponsored made-in-China nationalism, compounded with the soft power exported through agencies such as Confucius Institutes, has profound implications for the future of China, its relationship with Taiwan, and the world.