Taiwan accuses China of election meddling

Source: Asia Times (11/8/18)
Taiwan’s government accuses China of meddling in elections
A senior Democratic Progressive Party political advisor has compared Beijing’s alleged actions to Russia’s annexation of Crimea

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (centre left) poses for a group photo during a campaign event with grassroots supporters in Taipei on November 7. Photo: AFP / Chris Stowers

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (centre left) poses for a group photo during a campaign event with grassroots supporters in Taipei on November 7. Photo: AFP / Chris Stowers

Amid reports of Chinese “meddling” in upcoming local elections on November 24, one advisor close to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has described the situation as far more severe than is generally realized.

Writing from Washington DC, Antonio Chiang, vice-president of the General Association of Chinese Culture and a presidential advisor, told Asia Times: “I am here in DC to talk about China’s influence on our elections.

“They are playing the same game, like the Russians in Crimea.” Continue reading

Interview with Xu Youyu

Yaxue Cao has published an interesting interview with Xu Youyu in which he reminisces about the character development of Liu Xiaobo, the role of intellectuals during times of ferment, and Professor Xu’s own experiences of detention and interrogation.  Looking forward, he comments, “I don’t think that the fascist forces and tendencies in China have reached their extreme yet. The worst is yet to come.”–A. E. Clark <aec@raggedbanner.com>

Source: China Change (10/31/18)
An Interview With Xu Youyu: ‘The Worst Is Yet to Come’

This is part of China Change’s new interview series that seeks to understand the effort of civil society in bringing change to China over the past 30 years. The interview was conducted in June 2018 by Yaxue Cao, editor of this website, at Professor Xu Youyu’s home in Flushing, New York City. — The Editors

Xu Youyu, screenshot photo

Photo, Xu Youyu, China Change

Yaxue Cao (YC): Professor Xu, would you mind first introducing yourself to our readers?

Xu Youyu (XY): My name is Xu Youyu (徐友渔); I was born in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in 1947. I was in the graduating class at the Chengdu No. 1 Secondary School in 1966 when the Cultural Revolution erupted — right when I was enrolling for the national college entrance examination. Later, I got deeply wrapped up in the Cultural Revolution and became a leader of a mass organization, and as a result I gained a great deal of understanding of what it was all about. This has put me at an extraordinary advantage for studying the Cultural Revolution period in my scholarship now. I was one of the first new entrants to university in 1977 when matriculation resumed. But I’d only studied undergraduate for a little over a semester when, unprecedentedly, I was recommended to take the graduate exams. I transferred to the China Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing in 1979 to become a grad student, and worked at CASS from then on until my retirement. During that period, in 1986, I studied at Oxford for a couple of years. I retired in 2008. Continue reading

Same-sex marriage vote in Taiwan nears

Source: NYT (10/27/18)
Taiwan’s Gay Pride Parade Draws Thousands, as Votes on Same-Sex Marriage Near
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Chris Horton

The annual gay pride parade in Taipei, Taiwan, is the biggest event of its kind in East Asia. Organizers said about 137,000 people showed up on Saturday.CreditCreditAshley Pon for The New York Times

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A year ago, participants in Taipei’s annual gay pride parade — the biggest event of its kind in East Asia — had a lot to celebrate.

Taiwan’s constitutional court had given the government until May 2019 to legalize same-sex marriage, ruling that the civil code’s definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. If the government didn’t meet the deadline, the court said, same-sex marriage would simply become legal automatically.

That deadline is now barely half a year away. But the democratic island will hold referendums on same-sex marriage on Nov. 24, and many of the estimated 137,000 marchers at the pride parade on Saturday expressed both frustration at the lack of progress and cautious optimism for their cause. Continue reading

It’s all about food that’s ‘Q’

Lu Xun makes another appearance in the US mass media.–Kirk

Source: NYT (10/4/18)
In Italy, ‘Al Dente’ Is Prized. In Taiwan, It’s All About Food That’s ‘Q.’
By Amy Qin

Taiwanese tapioca for sale at the Lehua Night Market in Taipei. It has the prized “Q” texture of Taiwanese food. CreditCreditBilly H.C. Kwok for The New York Times

NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan — As dusk falls at Lehua Night Market, the fluorescent lights flicker on and the hungry customers start trickling in, anxious for a taste of the local delicacies that give this island its reputation as one of Asia’s finest culinary capitals.

Neatly arranged pyramids of plump fish balls. Bowls brimming with tapioca balls bathed in lightly sweetened syrup. Sizzling oyster omelets, hot off the griddle. Deep-fried sweet potato puffs, still dripping with oil.

Take a bite of any of these dishes and you’ll discover a unique texture. But how exactly do you describe that perfectly calibrated “mouth feel” so sought after by local cooks and eaters alike?

Slippery? Chewy? Globby? Not exactly the most flattering adjectives in the culinary world.

Luckily, the Taiwanese have a word for this texture. Well, actually, it’s not a word, it’s a letter — one that even non-Chinese speakers can pronounce.

It’s “Q.”

Continue reading

NATSA 2019–cfp

Dear NATSA Friends,

The 25th North American Taiwan Studies Association 2019 Annual Conference will be held on May 16-18th at the University of Washington, Seattle. This conference invites and encourages studies related to Taiwan in all disciplines, and will invite panels that compare Taiwan, or any aspect of Taiwan, with findings from other regions to engage in a theoretical debate.

Conference Theme: Destabilizing Empires from the Margin: Taiwan Studies in Reflection
Organizer: North American Taiwan Studies Association (https://www.na-tsa.org/)
Conference Time: May 16-18, 2019
Conference Location: University of Washington, Seattle
Abstract Submission Deadline:  December 10, 2018 (11:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time)

Call for Papers: https://www.na-tsa.org/news Continue reading

Taiwan braces for cyber attacks

Source: Straits Times (9/20/18)
Taiwan braces for Chinese cyber attacks ahead of elections

Since taking office in May 2016, President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party have refused to recognise the Beijing government's claim to Taiwan.

Since taking office in May 2016, President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party have refused to recognise the Beijing government’s claim to Taiwan.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG/TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) – Taiwan is bracing for an onslaught of cyber attacks from mainland China ahead of local elections in November intended to undermine a president who has defied Beijing’s efforts to bring the democratically ruled island under its control.

China, along with Russia and North Korea, may be increasingly testing out cyber-hacking techniques in Taiwan before using them against the United States and other foreign powers, according to the Taiwanese government. Continue reading

Kinmen embraces China’s pull

Source: NYT (9/2/18)
Once a Cold War Flashpoint, a Part of Taiwan Embraces China’s Pull
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Chris Horton

A woman digging for clams in Kinmen County, Taiwan, among antitank obstacles installed long ago to defend against China. The skyline of Xiamen, China, is in the distance. CreditCreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

KINMEN COUNTY, Taiwan — The islands of Kinmen County, and the Nationalist troops stationed there, withstood artillery shelling from China long after the Communist victory in the Chinese civil war.

Today, relations between China and Kinmen, just miles apart, are very different indeed.

Kinmen, about twice the size of Manhattan, has been governed from Taiwan since the defeated Nationalists fled China for the islands in 1949. But Taiwan’s main island is 140 miles away, while China looms visibly in the near distance. That distance is narrowing — both literally and figuratively. Continue reading

Supernatural Taiwan

Source: Taipei Times (8/30/10)
Spirits, ghosts, deities and monsters
Ho Ching-yao, author of a compendium on Taiwan’s supernatural beings, creatures and folktales, discusses his research and its significance as Ghost Month enters full swing
By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Illustrator Chang Chi-ya’s rendering of Na Tao Ji, a spurned widow who haunts screw pine trees in Taiwan. Illustration courtesy of Chang Chi-ya

On the first day of Ghost Month every year, a sinister, chilly wind would sweep through the streets of Taniao (打貓). The wind would bring the cries of hungry ghosts, terrifying the local populace for the entire month.

On occasion, a 10-meter tall being with a blue face, protruding fangs and twin spiral horns clad in bright red armor would appear, flickering its extremely long tongue covered in flames. Whenever it appeared, the winds would stop and the ghosts would quiet down.

The people were grateful to this deity, who eventually became known as Dashiye (大士爺), and worshiped it every first of July by creating an effigy of it and hiring monks to ease the suffering of the ghosts. Continue reading

Olympic name change referendum

Source: Taipei Times (9/4/18)
Over 520,000 join call for Olympic name change
The campaign nearly doubled the required number of signatures to qualify for the referendum to change the national sports team’s name in 2020
By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Olympic bronze medalist and National Policy Adviser to the President Chi Cheng, back row seventh left, and civic groups yesterday hold a news conference outside the Central Election Commission in Taipei as they deliver 526,688 signatures for a referendum proposal to change the national Olympic team’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan.” Photo: CNA

Civic groups yesterday delivered to the Central Election Commission more than 520,000 signatures collected for a referendum proposal to change the national sports team’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan” for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

At a news conference in front of the commission headquarters, Olympic medalist and campaign spokeswoman Chi Cheng (紀政) thanked supporters for helping them reach the threshold of 281,745 signatures and urged people to vote on the referendum, which is to take place alongside the nine-in-one local elections in November. Continue reading

Taiwan loses El Salvador

Source: SupChina (8/21/18)
Taiwan loses El Salvador
Beijing counted another small victory in its decades-long endeavor to box Taiwan out of international space when yet another country broke diplomatic ties with the island in favor of the PRC: El Salvador.
By Lucas Niewenhuis

  • El Salvador’s president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, said in a televised address, “We are convinced this is a step in the right direction that corresponds to the principles of international law, of international relations and the inevitable trends of our time,” the Guardian reports.
  • Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said that the real issue was that “El Salvador had asked Taiwan to provide an ‘astronomical sum’ in financial aid for a port project that officials believed would leave both countries in debt,” according to the Guardian. Continue reading

Tsai Ing-wen made rare stopover in US

Source: The Diplomat (8/14/18)
Tsai Ing-wen Made a Rare, High-Profile Stopover in the US
As Beijing increases its pressure on Taipei, Tsai vows “to be firm so that no one can obliterate Taiwan.”
By Charlotte Gao

Tsai Ing-wen is greeted by supporters at the Los Angeles Airport. Image Credit: Office of the President, ROC (Taiwan)

Ahead of her nine-day state visit to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies Paraguay and Belize, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen made a two-day stopover in the United States. It was her first stopover in the United States since U.S. President Donald Trump in March signed the Taiwan Travel Act, a law encouraging high-level officials of Taiwan to visit the United States and vice versa.

Faced with Beijing’s increasingly intense pressure on Taipei since she came into office, Tsai, in a rare move, made her latest U.S. stopover more high-profile than normal. Continue reading

Taiwan plans Liu Xiaobo sculpture

Source: NYT (6/1/18)
Taiwan Plans Sculpture Honoring Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel-Winning Activist
By Chris Horton

Mourning the democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo in Taipei, Taiwan, last July.CreditTyrone Siu/Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan — In a move likely to anger Beijing, a sculpture commemorating Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner, will be unveiled in Taiwan’s capital in July to honor the democracy activist, who died last year in a Chinese prison.

The sculpture, to be unveiled on July 13, the anniversary of Mr. Liu’s death, will be placed near the Taipei 101 skyscraper, one of the most popular areas in the city for Chinese tourists to visit and take photographs.

“I have always felt great sadness because there is not a place where we can express our grieving for Liu Xiaobo,” Wu’er Kaixi, founder of Friends of Liu Xiaobo, a United States-registered nonprofit, said at a news conference at the Taipei City Council. The group has led the drive to erect the sculpture, and has received support from local lawmakers and funding from nongovernment organizations. Continue reading

China tries to erase Taiwan

Source: NYT (5/25/18)
China Tries to Erase Taiwan, One Ally (and Website) at a Time
By Steven Lee Myers and Chris Horton

The changing of the guard at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. China’s recent efforts to isolate Taiwan, diplomatically and otherwise, have been its most intense in decades, people on the self-governing island say.CreditIsaac Lawrence for The New York Times

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Can China use its enormous economic and diplomatic leverage to simply erase Taiwan’s international identity?

China seems to be trying. But its increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan is creating a backlash here that is undermining Beijing’s ultimate goal: bringing the island’s 23 million residents under its authority.

China continues to peel away the dwindling number of allies that recognize Taiwan as an independent country — most recently, on Thursday, Burkina Faso. This week, it blocked Taiwan’s representatives — even its journalists — from participating, with observer status, in the World Health Organization’s annual assembly in Geneva. Continue reading

Global Island: Taiwan and the World–cfp

“Global Island: Taiwan and the World” Workshop
University of Washington, Seattle
October 18-19, 2018
Hosted by the University of Washington Taiwan Studies Program

From an island embedded within early modern trade networks, in its interactions with colonial and imperial powers, and as a site for development and democracy, Taiwan has been shaped by its global connections and in turn changed the world.  Understanding Taiwan within a global context reveals not just how Taiwan’s history, society, and culture have unfolded, but also how Taiwan has played a crucial role in transnational processes as a site of global production.

The “Global Island” workshop imagines Taiwan within new spatial and chronological contexts, and reorients Taiwan studies away from traditional imaginations of Taiwan as limited to comparatives or cross-straits relations.  This academic workshop will explore the implications of Taiwan’s connections with the world on Taiwanese society and culture, as well as Taiwan’s influence upon the rest of the world.

Keynote speaker: Professor Wen-hsin Yeh (UC Berkeley) Continue reading