Protests a warning to China of dangers posed by Hong Kong wealth gap

Written by Damian Tobin. The pro-democracy protesters in the streets of Hong Kong, once again confront Beijing with the age-old conundrum of how to balance authoritarian control and the demands of a complex modern society. For Beijing, this conundrum is particularly acute as the Communist Party has long lacked the ability to mobilise popular opinion …

Where have the Sunflowers gone?

Written by J. Michael Cole. The question has been nagging at the edges of my mind ever since it was first thrown at me after I gave a presentation on social movements at a forum organized by SOAS in June: How do we define success in the context of civic activism? Furthermore, how do we …

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 …

Redefining Hong Kong SAR: The Mainland Security Crackdown Arrives

Written by Daniel Garrett. Within the last few weeks, the political situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has deteriorated precipitously as China’s central and local regimes began implementing the outlines of a mainland-style security crackdown against the city’s pro-democracy movement and escalated its United Front campaign against Occupy Central with Love and …

Tiananmen, democracy and the CCP

Written by Edward Friedman. Leninist party dictatorships from 1989-1991 democratized in East and Central Europe as well as in Mongolia in Asia. The Soviet Union imploded in 1991. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union lost power. For the Chinese Communist Party, these events, as well as the PRC’s rise toward becoming a superpower and …

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’ …

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 …

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 …