The Soil Where the Sunflowers Grew and Withered.

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.

Where Have All the Sunflowers Gone? A Reflection on the Eighth Anniversary of Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement

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?

Are We “Post-Sunflower” in Taiwanese Politics?

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.

Solidarity Rally For Ukraine Takes Place At Liberty Plaza

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. 

Democratic consolidation or political populism? A reflection on the 2021 recall elections in Taiwan

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.

Will the TPP Suffer the Same Fate as the NPP?

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. 

Hackers Facing the Ocean: g0v and East Asian Civic Tech Community

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.

Gender Politics: Public Views of Women in Politics

Written by Timothy S. Rich, Madelynn Einhorn, and Isabel Eliassen. Taiwan’s efforts at gender parity for electoral offices have resulted in a legislature where women currently hold 41.6% of seats. This leaves Taiwan ranked 12th globally, with only one Asian country (Timor-Leste) with similar rates. However, despite the success of President Tsai Ing-wen, the vast majority of executive offices (mayors and magistrates) are still held by men. Gender equality and the rise of women in national politics are common narratives when discussing Taiwanese politics.

The Entangled Histories of Taiwan’s Women’s Movements: A look at Two Pioneering Groups

Written by Elizabeth Frost. Much of Taiwan’s impresive progress towards gender equality is thanks to the Taiwanese island’s women’s movement. Two groups that have been instrumental in the post-martial law era Taiwanese women’s movement are Awakening and the Homemakers United Foundation (HUF). The early stages of both groups were similar – Awakening began as a magazine in 1982, and HUF was initially established as the women’s auxiliary of the New Environment magazine in 1987. After the lifting of martial law, the groups were incorporated into independent foundations – Awakening in 1987 and HUF in 1989. Awakening is one of the most influential feminist groups in Taiwan, and HUF is now one of Taiwan’s largest environmental NGOs. 

Studying Aging Chinese Nationalists in Modern Taiwan: A Lesson for Young Voters

Written by Ashley Deng-Yu Chen. During my interview sessions and participant-observation activities in Southern Taiwan, many findings struck me, even as a “local anthropologist”. Firstly, most of my interlocutors who had lived through the authoritarian decades under the KMT almost unanimously claimed that the current form of “democracy” and “liberal society” was not any better than the “social order” that was safeguarded by the rigid martial law order. Moreover, with the KMT losing the last general election in 2016 to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), many supporters subsequently believed that Taiwan had since sunk into a dark ditch of “political correctness” with obsessions of LGBTQ+ rights and naive revolutionist values.

Do Young People Actually Matter in Taiwanese Politics?

Written by Brian Hioe. It is not out of the question that such young people will eventually take the reins of power. Indeed, they will once older politicians depart the political scene. But all appearances to the contrary, this may be a premature assessment. It may not be, in fact, that young people have come of age in Taiwanese politics, and instead of that, they remain subject to the larger established forces that have remained dominant for decades in politics. Whether this changes is to be seen.

A Tale of Two Cities: Taiwan’s Social Housing Policy Practice in Taipei and Taoyuan City, 2014-2018

Written by Chris Chih-Hua Tseng. Taipei has spawned some policy innovations. Meanwhile, in Taoyuan, an adjacent developing city that has built massive amounts of social housing, none of the above happened. Instead, the city government proudly announced it had built social housing the fastest. Why has social housing developped much more sluggishly in the capital than it has in Taoyuan? To answer the differences between these two cities, we need to expand our scope to broader urban politics and urban developmental processes.

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