China Policy Institute Blog

Volatile Neighborhood, Teflon President, and Taiwan’s Shrinking Diplomatic Space

Written by Jing Sun. In 2007, I published an article entitled Japan-Taiwan Relations: Unofficial in Name Only. In it, I argued that Japan and Taiwan had been engaging one another since the 1990s. A combination of colonial ties, shared democratic identity, and cultural admiration propelled their relations to an “unofficial-in-name-only” status. The article ended with …

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 …

You Must Have One Country Before You Have One Country, Two Systems

Written by Don Rodgers. The People’s Republic of China officially views Taiwan as a “sacred and inseparable part of China’s territory.” Yet, Taiwan is currently a de facto independent country with its own territory, economy, democratic government, and military. This obviously causes the leaders in Beijing no small degree of heartburn. To make matters more …

Hong Kong, Taiwan and the End of the “One Country, Two Systems” Dream

Written by Alex Calvo. The ideological foundations of China’s 1911 Revolution and previous attempts to overthrow the Qing rested, among other things, on three pillars: modernization, recovery of full sovereignty, and setting up a modern nation-state. All of these were connected to a great extent, historically and ideologically, to Hong Kong and Taiwan. When the …

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 …

Don’t judge the Sunflower Movement by local election outcomes

Written by André Beckershof. A little more than half a year after the Sunflower Movement, the local elections might be seen as a first indicator of the political implications of Taiwan’s largest social movement since the early 1990s. The occupation of the Legislative Yuan was a clear sign to the ruling Kuomintang that the young generation …

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 …

The Return of Politics Outside the State

Written by Igor Rogelja. Taiwan is gearing up for its first post-Sunflower movement elections and many observers are considering the impact of the movement on voting and the longer term political environment. While the daily grind of the democratic process may be infused with some fresh faces and ideas (not to mention fears), I suggest …