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  • Author: Gary D. Rawnsley
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses how Taiwan exercises “soft power” and uses public diplomacy to engage with the international community, and to compensate for the absence of formal diplomatic relations with major powers. The research suggests that Taiwan's strategies of international engagement are constrained by its external and internal political environments. The international system (structure) has locked Taiwan into a set of challenging arrangements over which it has little control or influence, while Taiwan's public diplomacy architecture and the activities organised and undertaken by its government agencies in Taibei and its representatives abroad (agency) reveal, at best, a misunderstanding of how Taiwan's soft power might be exercised more effectively. The strategic thematic choices of legitimacy (invoking Taiwan's international status) versus credibility (which in soft power terms offers the most benefit), and the decision to privilege cultural over political themes in international communications, all have profound effects on the success of Taiwan's soft power.
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Timothy Steven Rich, Vasabjit Banerjee
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article highlights the precarious nature of Taiwan's diplomatic relations in Africa. Whereas Cold War rationales initially benefitted Taiwan, economic interests now appear to incentivize African countries to establish relations with China. Through qualitative and quantitative data covering much of the post-World War II era, this analysis argues that economic factors have trumped political rationales for Taiwanese–African relations. In addition, this article problematizes both conceptions of diplomatic recognition and Taiwan's enduring relations with Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Andre Beckershoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The recent rapprochement between China and Taiwan cannot be understood if our conceptual apparatus is unable to cope with the distinctive new quality of cross-Strait relations. A critical framework provides a transnational account of cross-Strait dynamics. An analysis of the KMT–CCP Forum through the lens of the neo-Gramscian notion of hegemony sheds light on the Forum's strategies, mechanisms, practices and instruments to secure consent for cross-Strait rapprochement. While this mode of governance has broadened the KMT's strategic options, it has also compromised Taiwanese democracy.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Simona Alba Grano, Ping-Lan Tu
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Although Taiwan arguably needs civil and official collaboration non environmental protection, the implementation of an efficient system of environmental regulations has often been hindered by the many actors involved in the process of environmental governance (state, economic actors, civil society, media), whose interests are divergent. Consequently, there is no uniform, homogeneous authority for environmental governance but rather a variety of official and less official agents of authority whose interests and powers overlap and compete. In this paper we will introduce a case study dealing with the controversy surrounding the construction of an alternative road connecting Danshui with Taibei City (namely, the Danshui North Shore Road Project, Danbei daolu) to elucidate what the key influences are that govern environmental power dynamics between different agents with conflicting (or, sometimes, colluding) interests and how these multiple levels of interaction are negotiated by the various players. Our hypothesis holds that although environmental policies are, for the most part, mandated from the top, at the local level their implementation can be bypassed, altered or stalled by these various agents.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Gunter Schubert
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The field of Taiwan Studies has gained considerable momentum in recent years, as prominently reflected by the annual conferences of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) founded in 2004 and, most recently, the holding of the first World Congress of Taiwan Studies, held at Academia Sinica from 26 to 28 April 2012. Particularly in Europe, the study of Taiwan has become more institutionalized, most notably by the founding of the Centre of Taiwan Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London – which grew out of a special Taiwan Studies programme introduced in 1999 and offers the first and only M.A. degree programme on Taiwan Studies outside of Taiwan – and the establishment of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT) at the University of Tübingen in 2008, which is dedicated to the promotion of social science research on Taiwan at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. The editors of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs have decided to support these efforts and positive developments by cooperating with the ERCCT to publish an issue of the journal focusing on Taiwanese topics in regular intervals. This makes the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs unique, as it is the only Western-language academic journal offering Taiwan scholars such an opportunity. The Taiwan issues either have a thematic focus or present a number of independent rese arch articles on different subtopics. The present issue follows the second model and contains six articles on different aspects of contemporary Taiwanese politics.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Taiwan
  • Author: Cal Clark, Alexander C. Tan
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: For the last decade, politics in Taiwan have become increasingly polarized over the national identity issue. Yet, the bitter division between the two major parties is not really reflected in the electorate. We seek to explain this paradox by examining the changing nature of political parties, in particular the growing role of ideological activists in campaigns, the rise of cultural and identity issues, the difficulty for new parties to emerge, the decline of catch-all parties, and the tendency for major parties to engage in cartel activities.
  • Topic: Culture
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Jonathan Sullivan, Eliyahu V. Sapir
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the substantial advances made in cross-Strait relations during Ma Ying-jeou's (Ma Yingjiu) first term, the ROC president's rhetoric varied considerably as he grappled with the difficult reality of implementing campaign and inauguration pledges to establish better relations with China while striving to maintain national respect and sovereignty. In this article, we put forward a framework for measuring, analysing and explaining this variation in President Ma's first-term discourse. Analysing a very large number of Ma's speeches, addresses, etc., we provide empirical assessments of how the content of Ma's public pronouncements has developed over time, how his rhetoric varies according to the strategic context and timing of a speech, and how his discourse compares to that of his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian (Chen Shuibian). In addressing these questions, the article contributes a quantitative perspective to existing work on political discourse in Taiwan and to the growing methodological and applied literature on how to systematically analyse Chinese political text.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Christian Göbel
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In 2004, the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) was abolished in Taiwan. The SNTV had long been seen as a major factor in the sustenance of county-and township-level clientelist networks (“local factions”). It was also associated with phenomena such as extremism, candidate-centred politics, vote-buying, clientelism and organized crime involvement in politics. More recent scholarship, however, has led to doubts that a single formal institution like an electoral system could have such a powerful influence on electoral mobilization. This article puts these positions to an initial test. It examines the impact of the electoral reform on the mobilization capacity of a local faction in a rural county notorious for its factionalism. By illuminating its intricate mobilization structures, it provides support for the second position: These structures are too resilient to be affected by even a radical electoral reform.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Wang Hung-jen
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper I analyse how Taiwanese liberalist scholars have discursively and operationally shaped the meanings of Taiwanese democratization via a mix of liberal values and nationalist concerns. I will argue that a valid understanding of democratization in Taiwan has never emerged in a way that adequately responds to a liberalist perspective of the country's ongoing political development. Instead, such an understanding has been subjectively influenced by liberal intellectuals writing on the subject. In other words, current discourses in Taiwan represent efforts on the part of scholars to manage connections between liberalist values and nationalist concerns rather than shared views regarding facts emerging from Taiwanese democratization. In this paper I discuss four types of liberalist orientations to Taiwanese democratization – universal, moderate, pragmatic and nationalist – in the contexts of national-identity constraints, a balance between liberal values and national identity, and flexibility regarding liberalist and nationalist concerns. I conclude that democratization research in Taiwan reflects an aspect of knowledge production formulated by the relationship between the researcher and the subject under study.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Stefan Fleischauer
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The new policy platform in Taiwan of economic liberalization toward the Chinese mainland which was inaugurated by President Ma Ying-jeou (Ma Yingjiu) in 2008 has been the source of both expectation and anxiety. While some observers believe that this policy of rapprochement will usher in an era of cross-Strait prosperity and peace, others are concerned about Taiwan's de facto sovereignty as well as the negative economic impacts that the liberalization policy might entail. In particular, it has often been claimed (or feared) that the liberalization process will lead to some form of political integration between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. In this article, I wish to offer some insights into the current state of cross-Strait interactions derived from the European integration process.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Taiwan
  • Author: Gunter Schubert
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Taiwan held its first combined national elections on 14 January 2012. Though the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the largest opposition party, fared much better in the Legislative Yuan elections than it did in 2008, DPP presidential contender Tsai Ying-wen's (Cai Yingwen) clear defeat at the hands of the Kuomintang (KMT, Guomindang) incumbent, Ma Ying-jeou (Ma Yingjiu), in the presidential race came as a surprise. The article examines the election campaigns of both Tsai and Ma, summarizes the election results, and analyses the reasons why the DPP failed to retake the presidency. It then discusses the post-election debate within the DPP on the future of its China policy and ponders what can be expected from the second Ma administration.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: André Laliberté
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party has shown tolerance, if not direct support, for the growth of Buddhism over the last few decades. Three explanations for this lenient attitude are explored in this article. The flourishing of Buddhism is encouraged by the state less for its propaganda value in foreign affairs than for its potential to lure tourists who will, in turn, represent a source of revenue for local governments. Buddhist institutions are also establishing their track record in the management of philanthropic activities in impoverished area where local governments lack the resources to offer specific social services. Finally, the development of such activities has contributed to enhance cooperation between China and Taiwan, whose governments have a vested interest in the improvement of relations across the Strait. The article concludes that the growth of Buddhism in China results from the initiatives of Buddhists themselves, and the government supports this growth because it serves local politics well.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Gordon C. K. Cheung
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Taiwan's Legislative Yuan and Presidential elections in January and March 2008 respectively re-orientated cross-Strait relations from hostility to co-operation. On 4 November 2008, Chen Yunlin, head of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kun (Jiang Bingkun), chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), meeting in the Second Chiang-Chen Talks in Taiwan, took a historical step in the further development of cross-Strait relations. Agreements were signed on direct air and sea transport, postal services and food-safety security. On 22 December 2009, the Fourth Chiang- Chen Talks took place in Taizhong and more substantial and technical agreements were signed on agriculture, inspection/ accreditation and fisheries. It seems that continuous integration between China and Taiwan is inevitable. To address the implications of this process for Taiwan's domestic economy, four dimensions of the current cross-Strait relationship are scrutinized: guanxi, plutocracy, legalism and the idea of a Chinese Common Market. It is argued that in order to intensify economic co-operation across the Taiwan Strait, more institutionalization of the cross-Strait relationship must be brought about.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Lee Chun-yi
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the changing interaction between Taiwanese entrepreneurs and local Chinese governments. Through the analysis of this changing process, it can be seen that Taiwanese businesses are a special “asset” of Chinese governments. The main argument of this paper is that both central and local governments in China have strategic considerations in respect of Taiwanese businesses. The Chinese central government values Taiwanese businesses because more Taiwanese investment in China strengthens the Beijing government in negotiations with the Taibei government. Nevertheless, since the Kuomintang (KMT) (Guomindang) regained power in 2008, the strategic value of Taiwanese businesses in the cross-Strait relationship seems to have decreased. The central government has created a profitable macro-environment enabling local officials to give a warm welcome to Taiwanese businesses. Chinese local governments value Taiwanese businessmen not only because of the central government's deliberate policy but also because they are pursuing their own self-interest. This paper firstly focuses on the changing interaction between Taiwanese businesses and Chinese local governments. It then further analyses the different but complementary interests of both central and local governments in China in relation to Taiwanese investors.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Liao Da-chi, Chang Hui-chih
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper at tempts to determine the kind of constitutional rule preferred in a young democracy when an institutional opportunity for constitutional change occurs. It adopts the standpoint of collective decision-making. This approach involves two crucial theoretical elements: the calculation of the interests of the political elite and the masses' comprehension of what democracy is. The case studied here is Taiwan's constitutional choice between the direct and indirect election of the president during the period from 1990 to 1994. The paper first examines how the political leaders might have used both the logic of power maximization and of power-loss minimization to choose their position on the issue. It then demonstrates that survey results indeed showed that respondents better understood the direct form of electing the president and therefore supported it over the indirect one. This support helped the direct form to eventually win out.
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Dafydd J. Fell
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines how Taiwan moved from being viewed as a model Asian democracy to one allegedly suffering from democratic reversal. The reasons for the declining domestic and international reputation of Taiwan's democracy are discussed. Lastly, some key political challenges facing Taiwan's democracy are outlined.
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Gunter Schubert
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last couple of years, Taiwan studies has seen a remarkable institutionalization in Europe, most notably through the foundation of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) in 2004, with its head- quarters at London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS); and the establishment of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT) in 2008, based at Tübingen's Eberhard Karls University. Whereas EATS has gradually gained momentum through its annual conferences, which assemble an increasing number of scholars from Europe and Taiwan, the ERCCT's initial efforts to promote graduate and postgraduate social science research on Taiwan and to offer a platform for European-Taiwanese academic cooperation and dialogue are most promising. This special issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (JCCA) has been produced to tie in with these recent developments in the field of Taiwan studies and aims to become institutionalized as well. The publishers and the ERCCT intend to jointly produce a Taiwan edition of the JCCA at regular intervals to further strengthen European and international Taiwan studies. This will give scholars of Taiwan worldwide a useful and respected channel for presenting the results of their research which does not exist elsewhere. With EATS, the ERCCT, regular Taiwan special issues of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, and a new book series on contemporary Taiwan published by Routledge and edited by SOAS-based scholar Dafydd Fell, Europe has indeed taken a leading position in developing the Taiwan studies field.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Taiwan
  • Author: Ya-chung Chang
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In order to promote peaceful development in cross-Strait relations, this article proposes that both sides of the Taiwan Strait sign a “Basic Agreement on Peaceful Cross-Strait Development” – a temporary agreement ( modus vivendi ) to determine political relations and future development across the Strait. Three major points should be included in this agreement: first, both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one “Whole China” and both sides have no intention to separate from this “Whole China”; furthermore, both sides pledge not to split the “Whole China”, but to work in unison to maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the “Whole China”; second, both sides of the Taiwan Strait share constitutionally guaranteed equal relations, and normal relations across the Strait will develop on the basis of this constitutional equality; and third, both sides decide to establish communities in areas of common agreement in order to promote mutually cooperative relations.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Christopher R. Hughes
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This critique assesses Prof. Chang Ya-chung's draft basic agreement for cross-Strait relations by arguing that it overstates changes in Beijing's Taiwan policy, which is based on a strategy that has not seen substantial change since it was devised in the early 1990s to prevent the island's democratization leading to the exercise of self-determination. By over-estimating Taiwan's political, diplomatic, military, and economic vulnerability the proposal unnecessarily narrows down Taibei's options to the point where it has to accept Beijing's one-China principle. This merely closes off other options that Taiwan can just as readily pursue, such as continuing to develop cross-Strait relations through ad hoc solutions to practical problems or seeking more imaginative ways to create a durable modus vivendi with international support. Even more problematic is that a political framework for stability based on the principles of Chinese nationalism is unlikely to be acceptable for Taiwan's liberal- democratic politics and could thus amount to an unnecessary risk that would lead to a less durable cross-Strait status quo than that which has been maintained over the last two decades.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cabestan
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The main question that Chang Ya-chung's Modest Proposal triggers is whether a political and security agreement can realistically be reached today. The twelve agreements signed by Beijing and Taibei since 2008 should be saluted as conducive to constructing détente, non- military confidence-building measures and de facto government-to- government relations across the Strait. However, in the foreseeable future, is it realistic to ask for more? Actually, a temporary or long-term political agreement between Taibei and Beijing will not be reached if the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) refuse to formally recognize each other's separate existence and sovereignty in one way or another, at least tacitly, and if they do not agree to address security issues squarely with the assistance of the USA. Finally, no meaningful agreement can be re ached either if the PRC Chinese and certain segments of the Kuomin tang (KMT) (Guomindang) fail to recognize Taiwan's specific history or realize that the Taiwanese have been developing a distinct identity since 1949 and even more so since the island's democratization took place in the late 1980s.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Beijing