The Public Nature of Civil Disobedience: Lessons from the Sunflower and Umbrella Movement

Written by Leon N. Kunz. In March 2014, participants in the Sunflower Movement peacefully occupied the main chamber of Taiwan’s parliament to block the ratification of a controversial trade agreement with the PRC that they viewed as a threat to Taiwanese democracy. In September of the same year, protesters involved in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement created street occupations to push for genuine democratic reform. In both cases, participants not merely occupied public space but claimed to engage in civil disobedience. According to the often-cited definition by liberal theorist John Rawls, civil disobedience is “a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually done to bring about a change in the law or policies of the government.” To what extent did the occupations in Taiwan and Hong Kong conform to the dominant liberal civil disobedience script?

Left Perspectives on Connecting Taiwan to the International World: How New Bloom Magazine was Founded

Written by Brian Hioe. New Bloom Magazine, which is approaching its sixth anniversary, was originally founded in 2014 in the aftermath of the Sunflower Movement. Other founders of the publication and myself were participants in the Sunflower Movement, and we first began talking about the need to found a bilingual publication to connect Taiwan to the international world in April, which was around the time of the withdrawal from the Legislative Yuan. The publication subsequently launched in July 2014.

Understanding and Fostering Hong Kong-Taiwanese Solidarity

Written by Milo Hsieh. As the protests in Hong Kong continue, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese around the world have demonstrated a surprising level of solidarity. Taiwanese have mobilised to send protest gear to Hong Kong, and coordinate activists to speak at events, organise protest support rallies and create “Lennon Walls” to raise awareness. But just what explains such spontaneous, global demonstrations of Hong Konger-Taiwanese solidarity?