Written by Doris T. Chang. Among all the gains made by Taiwanese women in the past century, achieving leadership roles in the political arena is perhaps Taiwanese women’s greatest achievement. During the Japanese colonial era, women had no right to vote. However, after lifting martial law in 1987, Taiwan emerged as a vibrant democracy. Due to political parties’ commitment to nominating more qualified women candidates for elections in the late 1990s and after that, the percentage of women elected to Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan reached 42 per cent in 2020 — the highest in Asia. This is equivalent to the percentage of women legislators in most Scandinavian countries. But Taiwanese women’s achievement in the political arena would not have been possible without making significant progress in their educational attainment throughout the twentieth century.
Chu Yun-han: Influential Political Scientist, Promoter of Taiwan Studies and Sinology in Europe
Written by Dafydd Fell and Robert Ash. It was with the greatest sadness that we heard of the passing of the influential Taiwanese political scientist Chu Yun-han. He died at home on 5 February 2023 – just two days after his 67th birthday. His loss is irreparable: through his own academic research and his tireless efforts as Executive Director of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, he exerted an enormous influence on East Asian Studies throughout Europe, as well as in many other parts of the world.
Digital Ministry, Disinformation Regulation, Douyin, and Data Breaches. 2022 in Taiwanese Digital Politics.
Written by Sam Robbins. Recent data breaches in Taiwan have also highlighted the difficulty of increasing Taiwan’s overall cybersecurity. In December, Legislator Chiu Hsien-Chih revealed that the personal data of over 23 million Taiwanese people (effectively the entire population of Taiwan) had been leaked online. This data seems to have come from Taiwan’s household registration system. When the leak was first revealed in October, Taiwan’s interior ministry denied any wrongdoing or that the data came from their database. After investigation, the ministry claimed they could find no record of any breaches or anomalies in their system.
Can g0v International Affairs Really be Open?
Written by chihao. Contributors of g0v started various discussions on international community affairs in late 2018, after the g0v Summit that year and other governance-related conversations some months before that. Like many things in g0v, these efforts to engage with international organisations and people were largely self-initiated. No permission was required since none could be given. However, unlike many things in g0v, there are little to no public records of these activities, such as correspondence, meetings notes, or slide decks. Open collaboration becomes very difficult, if not impossible, without shared documentation of these activities. Also, unlike many things in g0v, some were paid for their role in these international activities. Discrepancies between a paid full-time job and part-time volunteering work further exacerbate the difficulties.
Can g0v Be Replicated Abroad?
Written by Sam Robbins. The best answer is thus that g0v could be replicated abroad, but it should not be. G0v is unique in the specific ways it approaches problems but thoroughly un-unique in being a group of activists dedicated to solving problems. We cannot forget the second part of this when we reflect on the first part. How activists come together to work towards a common goal depends deeply on political contexts. Tech and civil society can collide in a range of different forms. A look at the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) members, a global network of civil society groups promoting equality through information and communications technology, also reveals that many groups are already engaging with digital technology as a liberating tool.
The Bot Fighting Disinformation: The Story of Cofacts
Written by Billion Lee. Disinformation affects everyone, but everyone can become part of the solution. This is a simple idea that powers Cofacts and many other g0v projects. Although Cofacts has had experts contribute and have worked with other organisations, the fact-checking process is open to all. Disinformation breeds distrust and polarisation, but collaborative fact-checking breeds trust and collaboration. When governments get too involved in fighting disinformation, it can look like an infringement on free speech. That is why it is so important for civil society groups to get involved. The process can be slow: disinformation spreads earlier than fact-checking, but just like the tortoise and the hare, our strength lies not in our speed but our innovation and resilience. Cofacts is fighting the long fight, and it is only possible by creating a structure that is open to anyone and for everyone.
A Hub for Flexibility and Innovation. My Experiences with the g0v Community
Written by Peter Cui. All projects above were born by the participant under the environment of flexibility, diversity, and vitality. In recent years, we have started a series of works under the project “sch001” to promote the open-source value and g0v society to the students at colleges and senior high schools in Taiwan. I am deeply persuaded that with more younger participants joining the organisation, more possibilities will come true in the next ten years of g0v society.
Pelosi Baloney or Distractions versus Realities
Written by Ian Inkster. So, China warned of ‘resolute and strong measures,’ and Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan without incident on her way to the rest of East Asia. She may well have infuriated parts of the Chinese regime when she said: ‘Make no mistake: America remains unwavering in our commitment to the people of Taiwan – now and for decades to come.’ Nevertheless, there is still no hint of any change in US policy, which will not recognise Taiwan as an independent entity, never mind a nation. No pathway has been opened. Indeed, the Western media made more noise than Taiwan itself.
The Taiwanese Diaspora in Berlin and COVID-19
Written by Jens Damm. With the outbreak and global spread of COVID-19, reports of the stigmatisation of Asian-looking people have been accumulating in Germany and worldwide. Therefore, for a small research project, I chose to conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews with Taiwanese who spent the time of the pandemic in Berlin. I focused on their personal experiences as transnational actors. I asked in particular about personal experiences of discrimination and economic hardships during the pandemic and their evaluation of the different COVID-19 measures in Germany and in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Transition from Zero-COVID to Living- with-COVID-Safely
Written by Chunhuei Chi. Taiwan’s repeated successes in controlling domestic outbreaks, including successfully controlling the new outbreak in May of 2021 by mid-July, ironically contributed to Taiwan’s challenge to move into the transitional phase. This success enabled Taiwanese residents to enjoy a normal life with a low tolerance for domestic outbreaks and caused a unique form of vaccine hesitancy, especially among the elderly. When there is little to no risk of infection, many people associate vaccination with risks and few potential benefits.
A challenging transition: Taiwan’s changing Covid approach
Written by Brian Hioe. Now, Taiwan faces the challenge of transitioning from its COVID-zero approach toward what the Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC), which coordinates Taiwan’s COVID-19 response, has referred to as a “zero severe COVID” approach. Namely, as Taiwan transitions to a COVID-management strategy, attempts are made to avoid serious cases of COVID-19.
Let’s Stop Calling Taiwan a “Digital Democracy” (And Start Telling Better Digital Stories)
Written by Sam Robbins. This is what is at stake with how we tell digital stories: If we focus only on the tech itself and its impressive uses, we risk leaving most citizens feeling like they have no voice on the matter due to a lack of expertise. When we tell stories of civil society collaboration, of how governments are interacting with citizens, and of policies whose ramifications are much greater than the new data they create, we can start to create a space for greater public participation on these subjects.