China Policy Institute Blog

Beijing, Taipei, and Hong Kong: One Step Forward, One Step Back

Written by Alex Calvo. After reporting from East Asia dominated by clashes at sea for weeks, the trip to Taiwan by Zhang Zhijun seemed to offer a glimpse of hope for the peaceful resolution of the myriad disputes haunting the region. The minister for the PRC’s State Council-level Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) is not only …

Taiwan: Too Much Democracy Or Too Little Democratic Representation?

Written by Ben Goren. Last week, former National Security Council Secretary-General and former Mainland Affairs Council Minister Su Chi (蘇起) delivered the the 18th annual Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture at George Washington University. In his address, Su lamented that Taiwan has celebrated the success of its democracy a little too much, in the process dragging …

The Public Diplomacy of Zhang Zhijun’s Journey to Taiwan

Written by Gary Rawnsley. The historic significance of Zhang Zhijun’s visit to Taiwan cannot be overstated: As Minister for the PRC’s State Council-level Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) he is the highest ranking official from the PRC to set foot on the island in 65 years, and his four-days tour follows his meetings in Nanjing and …

Mapping A Politics of Insecurity And Hubris

Written by Ben Goren. In his 1941 book General Semantics, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Prevention, Alfred Korzybski made one of the most abiding observations to have ever been so egregiously ignored at such a large cost: “the map is not the territory”. This important lesson in humility has, depending upon your perspective, either been ignored or …

KMT myths and Ma Ying-jeou’s broken promises

Written by Ben Goren. One enduring KMT myth focuses on how President Ma got elected. In 2008, Ma ran on a platform of cleaning up Taiwanese politics and on accusations that President Chen was corrupt. Chen’s subsequent prosecution and jailing seemed to confirm Ma’s criticisms, yet allegations of political interference in the judicial process during …

KMT myths unravel under Ma

Written by Ben Goren. Analysts of Taiwanese politics are struggling to formulate answers to several related questions: Why are President Ma Ying-jeou’s domestic ratings so low? Given the reality of low ratings, how did Ma secure re-election in 2012? Having been re-elected, why did Ma proceed to lose the support of a majority of the …

Tiananmen, Sunflowers and the Framing of Democratisation in China and Taiwan

Written by Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley. A quarter of century has passed since the tanks of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) rolled into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989. Western media often portrayed the 1989 protest as a pro-democracy movement and it was eventually framed in a ‘man versus tank’ Cold War ideology with an ‘end …

A Very Remarkable Democracy

Written by Ben Goren. Taiwan’s democracy has been called many things.  First it was a ‘budding’ phenomena erupting at the end of the Cold War, then it grew unsteadily into an ‘immature’ and unpredictable entity, and now, according to much international commentary, it has grown to reach the milestone (or millstone?) of being ’young’, ‘dynamic’ …

Active Citizens and Citizen Activism: testing the limits of democratic participation in Taiwan

Written by Ben Goren. “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve …

Taipei flirts with ‘authoritarianism lite’ amid political crisis

Written by J. Michael Cole. As the political crisis pitting civil society against the Ma Ying-jeou administration deepens, Taiwanese authorities are adopting countermeasures that, to many observers, are unfit for a democratic system and evidence that the government is getting desperate. More than a month after the Sunflower Movement burst into the Legislative Yuan and launched …