Campaign Ads and Taiwan’s Electoral Demography

Written by Wen-Ti Sung. After well over half a year of campaigning, Taiwan’s “nine-in-one” mega-election will conclude in little over a week. As campaigns enter the final dash before the finish line, the principal message in their ads and punditry has begun to shift gear. Campaign messages in Taiwan seem to follow a consistent three-act …

Taipei’s Mayoral Election: A New Alignment of Electoral Demography?

Written by Wen-Ti Sung. Taiwan will hold its so-called ‘nine-in-one’ mega-elections on November 29. Up for grabs are some 11,000 public offices at the municipal and township levels. The crown jewel of this electoral avalanche is the position of Taipei mayor, which pits the ruling KMT’s Sean Lien against the independent candidate Ko Wen-je, who …

China’s neighbours embrace asymmetric warfare

Written by Michal Thim. Asymmetry is the new black, at least among defense analysts dealing with the Asia-Pacific. Asymmetrical warfare is an age-old concept. Recently, however, it has been mostly associated with insurgent groups or guerrillas capitalizing on their familiarity with irregular terrain in hit-and-run operations against regular government forces. As employed by terrorist groups …

The Islands In-between

Written by Misato Matsuoka. The “Senkaku”, “Diaoyu” or “Diaoyutai” islands have been at the centre of a long-standing territorial dispute between Japan, China and Taiwan. There is no consensus about the historical trajectory of the ownership of the islands. The tensions, especially between China and Japan, have intensified, triggered by the collision between a Chinese …

Redefining Hong Kong SAR

Written by Daniel Garrett. While undeniably the most extensive authoritarian and arguably violent crackdown by the SAR government since  the Handover, the local regime’s actions on July 2nd are best understood at this early point as a case of “killing a few chickens” to dissuade participation in OCLP and to dispel demands for civil nomination …

Obama’s Visit to Asia: Successful Rebalancing or Not?

Written by Misato Matsuoka. A lot of emphasis was put on President Obama’s recent visit to Asia as it was the first trip to the region during his second term and came amid concerns about the effect of the Ukraine crisis on the long promised rebalancing policy. After he failed to make his trip last …

China’s porous (western) borders

Written by Alessandro Rippa. Over the last few weeks a number of events have drawn attention, once again, to the issue of illegal border crossing out of the People’s Republic of China. Some of these events were tragic, like the deadly clash between a group of Uyghurs and Vietnamese border guards, while others rather bizarre, like the …

Xi trains his sights on the PLA

Written by Samantha Hoffman. On 31 March, state media reported that General Gu Junshan, former deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Logistics Department, had been charged with “suspicion of corruption, bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power”. This gives Gu the distinction of becoming the highest-ranking PLA official to be publicly charged in the …

Japan’s relations with Russia in the Midst of the Ukraine Crisis

Written by Misato Matsuoka. While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not met the leaders of neighbouring South Korea or China, he has dedicated significant effort to improving ties with Russia. Since returning to power in 2012, Abe has met President Putin five times and participated in the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics …

Taiwan’s Youth: Blamed if you don’t, blamed if you do

Written by Michal Thim. It seems that Taiwan has grown accustomed to frequent protests targeting a broad range of issues, starting with land grabbing disputes, ending with increasingly unpopular cross-Strait policy of current KMT administration led by deeply unpopular President Ma. Yet, the decision by an alliance of students and civil society groups to take over …