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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