Taiwan in Transition

Written by Gwenyth Wang. On May 20th Taiwan will inaugurate its first female President, Dr Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Some Western observers like Richard Bush and media such as The Economist have expressed worries about the potential hurdles in cross-Strait relations. While the possibility of increasing tensions between China and Taiwan should not …

Taiwan Studies in Europe

Written by Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley. The 13th EATS Annual Conference took place in Prague, 30 March–1 April 2016. The conference was a collaboration between the EATS Board and the local organiser, the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic. The main theme of the conference was “Powerful and Powerless”. The organisers chose this theme …

Funeral strippers in Taiwan

By Marc L. Moskowitz. How did the phenomenon of hiring risqué funeral strip-show performers emerge in Taiwan? This practice didn’t become very popular until around 1980, but there are historical records of women stripping at temple events dating back to the late 1800s. In the 1980s, it was extremely popular. This was in part because …

There is no Huadu

Written by Ben Goren and Michael Turton. In his latest piece for this Blog, Thinking Taiwan Editor-in-chief J. Michael Cole argues that Beijing faces not one but two forces for independence in Taiwan: Taidu (臺獨), who support de jure independence

China Faces Not One But Two Forces for Independence in Taiwan

Written by J. Michael Cole With the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) set to assume office in Taiwan less than two months from now, the Chinese commentariat has shifted into high gear with warnings about Beijing’s “red lines” and the sundry ill

Home, values and democracy: Explaining the rise in Taiwanese identification

Written by J. Michael Cole. The trend began several years ago, and no matter how hard the current government in Taipei and the one in Beijing try to convince them otherwise, with propaganda and sweeteners, there was no stopping it: more and more Taiwanese people identify as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. Several demographic factors have …

Compelling Compliance? How Taiwanese Identity Disrupts Cross-Strait Deterrence

Written by Raymond Kuo. Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won a historic victory in the island’s January elections. But this victory has prompted concerns of renewed tensions between China and Taiwan as the traditionally pro-independence DPP transitions into control of the island’s Executive and Legislature. In response, Beijing defaulted to its longstanding “deterrence policy”, demanding that …

The Unifying Themes Behind ‘Black Island’ and ‘The Convenient Illusion of Peace’

Written by J. Michael Cole I distinctly remember the feeling that something had shifted, that a new, undefined force had installed itself in Taiwan. It was in the air, in the glimmer of determination that showed in the young protesters’ eyes. That was the summer of 2012, following a major rally against a pro-Beijing Taiwanese …

Why Did the Ruling KMT Suffer a Humiliating Defeat in Taiwan’s 2016 Presidential Elections?

Written by T.Y. Wang. Taiwan concluded its 2016 combined presidential and legislative elections on January 16. In a three-way presidential race, Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who was rejected by voters four years ago, won a landslide victory to become Taiwan’s first female president. Her opponent, Eric Chu of the ruling …

Contradictions facing President Tsai Ing-wen

Written by Linda Gail Arrigo. Tsai Ing-wen’s election landslide with 56% of the popular vote, nearly double that of the KMT’s Eric Li-luan Chu at 31%, and a sizeable majority in the national legislature to boot, is largely due to the failure of traditional KMT supporters to vote, and somewhat less due to the transmutation of …