April 2018

Enthusiasm Regarding North Korea Rapprochement Likely Premature

With North Korea and South Korea moving towards diplomatic rapprochement after some seventy years of being officially at war, this has been hailed as a historic turnaround. North Korea and South Korea have vowed an end to the Korean War and North Korea has agreed to nuclear disarmament. However, many assessments to date have likely been too optimistic... Read More

With Political Threats Against Benny Tai, Free Speech Continues To Deteriorate In Hong Kong

The deterioration of political freedoms in Hong Kong continues apace, with freedom of speech and academic freedoms now under attack. Controversy has suddenly erupted all at once regarding comments by Occupy Central figure Benny Tai, one of the three leaders of Occupy Central with Love and Peace, that have been interpreted as supportive of Hong Kong independence, and claims by government leaders that freedom of speech in support of Hong Kong is not protected... Read More

Violent Attacks On Journalists, Police By Anti-Pension Reform Demonstrators

Anger broken out in Taiwanese society after physical violence by pan-Blue demonstrators protesting against pension reform yesterday. What has been shocking and angering has been the use of physical violence by anti-pension demonstrators, particularly against journalists and the police. This led to fourteen journalists and 84 police officers being injured, including the beating of journalists and destruction of their equipment, attacks on media vans, and disruptions to the National Taiwan University Children's Hospital by anti-pension demonstrators... Read More

Talk Of ‘Africa Plan’ Not Likely To Prove Any More Successful Than New Southbound Policy

Following a five-day state visit to Swaziland by Tsai Ing-Wen last week, Tsai has called for creation of an “Africa plan” to develop stronger economic and political ties between Taiwan and Africa. One suspects that, much like the Tsai administration’s “New Southbound Policy”, this would also be with the aim of weaning Taiwan off of economic dependency on China. But one generally suspects that this would encounter many of the same challenges that the New Southbound Policy has. Furthermore, one must keep in mind that, like many of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, Swaziland is a country whose government has a questionable human rights record... Read More

LGBTQ Groups Hold Rally As Start Of Campaign Against Anti-Marriage Equality Referendum

A demonstration was held by LGBTQ groups this morning to demonstrate the Central Election Commission passing a referendum pushed for by anti-gay groups. The referendum seeks to overturn a judicial ruling in favor of the legalization of marriage equality in Taiwan by the Council of Grand Justices last year. In particular, the demonstration serves as the start of what will necessarily be a longer campaign by LGBTQ groups... Read More