China’s Imperial Past and Present

Written by Jon Chappell. Outside observers might raise an eyebrow when told that debates among American scholars about China’s eighteenth century development could lead to them being attacked as, amongst other things, ‘neo-imperialists’. Yet a recent article by leading Qing dynasty (1644-1912) historian Li Zhiting, a member of the PRC’s National Qing Dynasty History Compilation …

Legal protection against discrimination of LGBTI people: A tale of three cities in China

Written by Yiu Tung Suen. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are gradually transforming from the ‘others’ in society – who were medically defined as ‘ill’ and legally defined as ‘criminal’ – to citizens whose rights to cultural, social and economic participation are increasingly recognized. The rights of LGBTI people have developed at different …

Imperial Yellow: A Costume Colour at the Top of the Social Hierarchy

Written by Jing Han. When considering popular colours in China, one’s immediate thought may be of red, the colour of the national flag and the colour of celebration. However, it is actually yellow that dominated the imperial wardrobe in ancient times. This piece will explore the hierarchy of costume colours in ancient China and tell the story of imperial …

Forbearance and Moral Germophobia

Written by Huang Wei. Under The Dome, a self-funded documentary investigating China’s smog was viewed in excess of one hundred million times on Chinese video sharing websites within a couple of days of its release. Its producer, the famous former CCTV reporter Chai Jing, came under the spotlight, not only because the discussions she stirred …

The troubled transition to an all-volunteer force in Taiwan

Written by Michal Thim. Plans are underway to transform Taiwan’s military from a force relying on a regular intake of conscripts aged 18-35 and serving 11-12 months, into a fully professional all-volunteer force (AVF). Thus far, the road has been rocky. One aspect of the reform is to downsize the current force in 2015 from …

Why Is History Still an Issue in China – Japan relations?

Written by Huang Wei. December 13 was China’s National Memorial Day. A state memorial ceremony was held for the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. There was massive coverage of Xi’s speech, especially with respect to the number of victims and China’s official attitude towards Japan. Not surprisingly, there were comments about China trying to play history in order to …

The Rise of the ‘Pan-DPP 6.88’: Leveling the Playing Field

Written by Wen-Ti Sung. Taiwan concluded its nine-in-one elections on Saturday with results that can only be described as historic. Of the 22 mayoral seats up for grabs, the ruling party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), was reduced to only six (and came within 2.12% or less of losing three of them); while the opposition …

Just how local are local elections in Taiwan?

Written by Michal Thim. Looking to local elections for clues as to how this or that party will fare in national elections is a precarious thing. Professor Shelley Rigger has argued earlier on this blog that Saturday’s elections should not be seen as a referendum on the KMT government and she makes many good points in support …

Taiwan’s national security debate between elections

Written by Michal Thim. National security and defence is not usually a major concern in local elections but that should change during the presidential and legislative elections which come next in the election cycle, in 2016. During the next few months, both major political parties will nominate their presidential candidates, and both major contenders will have to address …

Three reasons to follow Taiwan’s 9-in-1 elections

Written by Michal Thim. On November 29, Taiwan will experience its own ‘mid-term’ elections. This time unprecedented for at least three reasons. Firstly, it is for the first time that altogether 9 different elections will be combined on single voting day. Over 11,000 seats are up for election, including: 1) 6 mayors of the Special Municipalities …