Sunny Days and Nuclear Disasters: The China Factor in Taiwan’s Local Elections

Written by Stefan Fleischauer. Taiwan is gearing up for the largest slate of local elections it has ever seen to date. On 29 November, more than 11100 public servants will be voted into office in the so-called “nine-in-one” elections. One topic that has baffled many observers is whether the “Sunflower Movement”, the unprecedented occupation of …

New Civic Movements and Further Democratisation in Taiwan

Written by Ming-Yeh Rawnsley. The term ‘new civic movement’ refers to the various mass social movements mobilised by students and civic groups in Taiwan in recent years. Examples include the Anti-Media Monopoly Movement (2012–2013, 反媒體壟斷運動), the

Protest Songs and Taiwanese Identity in the Sunflower Movement

Written by Marie-Alice McLean-Dreyfus. The current protests in Taiwan point to the emergence of a unified and more clearly articulated definition of what it means to be ‘Taiwanese’.  In what has been a movement characterised by symbols, (from its name the Sunflower movement, to the ubiquity of black Facebook profile pictures on Taiwanese people Facebook pages), …

In Defense of the Sunflower Movement

Written by J. Michael Cole. Aside from shedding light on a poorly crafted and potentially harmful services trade pact with China, Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement has performed an extraordinary, if under-appreciated, service to the country by sparking a necessary societal debate on the meaning of democracy. Ironically, the great majority of the Sunflowers’ detractors, both in the …

Sunflower Students Join Lilies and Strawberries in making Taiwanese History

Written by Ben Goren. At six o’clock on Monday April 7, twenty one days after starting their historic occupation of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan main chambers, the representatives of the ‘Sunflower Student Movement’ held a press conference to announce that they would end this phase of their mobilisation on April 10.  Despite a pervasive ‘blackout’ of …

Debunking the Myths About Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement

Written by J. Michael Cole. In the absence of knowledge, fall back on conspiracies. This is what many foreign analysts and the Taiwanese government have done as they try to explain — and more importantly deal with — the activists’ occupation of the Legislative Yuan (LY), which is now on its eighteenth day. According to …

Taiwan’s Unresolved Vision of Globalization

Written by Erik Tollefson. The current protests in Taiwan can plausibly be seen as the concatenation of several issues: 1) a crisis of democratic governance; 2) an extant political struggle between the ruling and opposition party; 3) an unsettled economic vision of the nation’s future. Copious ink has (rightly) been spilt on the myriad dimensions …

Time for President Ma to meet the students at the Legislative Yuan

Written by Steve Tsang. One does not need to agree with the students who occupy the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to see that the first major step to finding a solution is for President Ma Ying-jeou to go to the Legislative Yuan and talk in person with the students there.  There is no better alternative. …

324: Police Brutality or Commensurate Response?

Written by J. Michael Cole. Much mystery and disinformation continues to surround the events of the night of March 23 to 24 in and around the Executive Yuan in Taipei, which hours earlier was occupied by thousands of protesters angry at the government’s handling of a controversial trade pact with China. While the unprecedented move, …

The Hidden Agenda of President Ma’s ‘Economics First, Politics Later’ Cross-Strait Policy

Written by Ben Goren. During the last six years President Ma has signed over eighteen agreements with the PRC. During this period he has repeatedly stressed that he would not enter into political talks with China and his claim has gone largely uncontested in Taiwanese and international media. But in order to understand events and …