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.
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.
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.
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 Brian Hioe. The Tsai administration has presented somewhat mixed messaging on the invasion of Ukraine. When questioned by opposition lawmakers, officials such as Premier Su Tseng-chang have rejected comparisons between Ukraine and Taiwan, stating that the two contexts are sufficiently different and cannot be compared. On the other hand, President Tsai Ing-wen has said that Taiwan stands with Ukraine as a fellow democracy and has condemned Russia’s actions. Contributions from her administration have included the establishment of a relief fund.
Written by Ren-Wei Chang. In short, the sunflower movement did not happen randomly. It resulted from decades and years of student collaboration, network building, and growing civil society. This was the ‘soil’ that let the sunflowers grow. If we hope to see another protest like the sunflower movement in the future, we need to ensure that we maintain the soil and keep it fertile for new growth. After all, the erosion of democracy by totalitarianism often begins with a fragile civil society. We cannot let the soil go barren.
Written by Ming-Sho Ho. But what about the Sunflower generation activists, who are mostly in their late twenties and early thirties currently? The Wild Lily generation politicians, such as Lin Chia-lung (former Minister of Transportation and Communications, 58yr.), Chen Chi-Mai (Kaohsiung City Mayor, 57 yr.) and Cheng Wen-tsan (Taoyuan City Major, 54yr.) are among promising successors to President Tsai Ing-wen. Are the younger ex-Sunflower activists poised to replicate the same pattern?
Written by Brian Hioe. Certainly, some of the discursive effects of the Sunflower Movement have faded, even if they were always hard to quantify. However, it is a harder question as to whether the direct influence of the movement has faded to the extent that the present would be seen as post-Sunflower. This perhaps will only become clearer after future anniversaries.
Written by Brian Hioe. Several hundred rallied at Liberty Plaza yesterday in the largest of a series of solidarity rallies that have taken place in Taipei since late February. The event sought to call attention to the humanitarian crisis that has ensued since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as show support for Ukrainians at a time in which their democratic freedoms and sovereignty are threatened.
Written by Li-Ning Chen. olour of KMT) camp would like to exploit the ‘hard-earned’ victory after the disastrous loss of the 2020 presidential election and the mayoralty. Meanwhile, for DPP, taking a backseat and wishing the whole thing would blow away with time was no longer feasible, since the ‘revenge recall’ (報復性罷免) campaign began to look like potential political guerrilla warfare.
Written by Brian Hioe. There have been some suggestions that Ko might next seek to run for mayor of Taoyuan or Kaohsiung if a presidential bid seems remote. Beyond Ko’s Taipei mayoral term, however, it is a question as to whether the TPP’s politicians are sufficiently well-known for the party to continue without Ko fronting it in one of Taiwan’s most powerful local government positions.
Written by Sam Robbins. Collaboration within Taiwan or transnationally has never been perfect. Like all g0v projects, international exchange is permanently a work in progress, and much more can be achieved by “rough consensus” than by looking for a particular shared interest. The boundaries of this inchoate transnational activist community are still being drawn, and the meaning of collaboration based on cultural and political similarities is still up for debate. For example, the 2020 Meet and Hack made explicit references to the “Milk Tea Alliance” in the posters on display, and I overheard many mentioning the concept.