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China Policy Institute: Analysis

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Taiwan

Taiwan and the Catholic Church

Written by Michael Reilly. 

On 24 August the government in Taipei announced that Vice-President Chen Chien-jen will attend the 4 September canonization ceremony at the Vatican for Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Senior government representation at such a high profile occasion is only to be expected and Chen is also a Catholic, making his attendance all the more appropriate. But as is so often the case in Taiwan, more than mere protocol is at stake.

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Tsai Gets Passing Grade for Apology to Taiwan’s Aborigines

Written by J.Michael Cole.

It was a move that many saw as unnecessary — and an unnecessarily risky. In a highly publicized event at the Presidential Office in Taipei earlier today, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) formally apologized to the nation’s Aborigines for the unfair treatment they received over the past 400 years.

In the weeks leading to today’s event, a number of activists and members of Aboriginal communities across Taiwan had wondered why President Tsai felt compelled to apologize to the land’s first inhabitants. For many of them, the ceremony would be simply that — a grandiose, well publicized exercise in public relations which, in the end, would not yield the morsel that’s always been missing: substance. Continue reading “Tsai Gets Passing Grade for Apology to Taiwan’s Aborigines”

Sexual subjects on the move across the Taiwan Strait

Written by Mei-Hua Chen.

Since Taiwan lifted martial law in late 1987, Chinese women have come to Taiwan in increasing numbers as spouses, students and tourists. A further cohort has arrived as undocumented migrant workers, seeking economic opportunities and a better life. However, many of these women end up seeking survival in the sex industry. During the same period, Taiwanese men have become major sex buyers in other ‘markets’. Not surprisingly, China is one of the most popular destinations because of intense cross-Strait economic interactions, comparatively low prices charged by the Chinese sex trade, geographical proximity and cultural intimacy in terms of language and ‘race’. Although both transnational movements by Chinese women and Taiwanese men are related to commercial sex, their border-crossings are defined and treated very differently on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The former is either labelled as smuggling mainland women (known disparagingly as dalumei ‘大陸妹’) or ‘fake marriage, real prostitution’ (假結婚真賣淫) and linked to ‘trafficking in women’. The latter meanwhile is widely welcomed as tourism by ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ (台灣同胞).

Continue reading “Sexual subjects on the move across the Taiwan Strait”

The end of China-Taiwan rapprochement tourism

Written by Ian Rowen.

A fiery bus crash on July 19 near Taiwan’s Taoyuan airport tragically killed 24 Chinese tourists and the Taiwanese guide and driver, prompting a long overdue national reckoning over the history and trajectory of inbound tourism from China. After the much-heralded opening of group tourism in 2008, the industry has since been characterized by cartels that allegedly send profits offshore, plagued by safety gaps that cause terrible accidents, and pilloried by local critics for its deleterious impact on the environment. Given all this, it’s tempting, though still early, to write off inbound Chinese tourism as complete political, social, environmental and even economic failure for Taiwan. Following the crash and China’s recent widely-rumoured, retaliatory group tourism cuts in the wake of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s landslide election, it may seem hard to remember that just a few years ago, government officials and scholars on both sides of the Strait were hailing the growth of cross-strait tourism as a form of reconciliation or rapprochement.

Continue reading “The end of China-Taiwan rapprochement tourism”

Radio Silence in the Taiwan Strait? Think Again

Written by J.Michael Cole.

The Taiwan Affairs Office on Saturday confirmed that Beijing had suspended cross-strait communication mechanisms due to failure by the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration to endorse the so-called 1992 consensus and “one China” principle.

The news, though it quickened the pulse of many a news editor worldwide, was not exactly a surprise. After all, Beijing has been telegraphing its intentions for months, and various officers at the TAO since well before May 20, when the hotline set up in 2014 between the TAO and the Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei is said to have gone silent, had been threatening such an outcome if President Tsai refused to utter the wording dictated by the Chinese side.

Continue reading “Radio Silence in the Taiwan Strait? Think Again”

Leninism and cross-strait relations

Written by Michael Reilly.

In a speech in Taipei on 21 May, Richard Bush a former Director of the American Institute of Taiwan, reminded his audience that Leninism had been the dominant ideology in Taiwan until the mid 1980s, arguably as it remains in China still. Looking at Taiwan today it is easy to forget that it was under martial law until 1987 – not long before the fall of the Iron Curtain – and few outside Taiwan appreciate the extent to which the KMT controlled so many aspects of society. As in China, the military pledged allegiance to the party first, the party’s seal formed (and still forms) part of the national flag and party membership was a prerequisite to advancement in the judiciary, civil service and even academia. Continue reading “Leninism and cross-strait relations”

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