Oil spill covers Green Island shore

Seashore of Green Island off Taiwan’s southeastern coast was found covered in heavy waste oil on March 10. A local resident first posted about the spill on Facebook, prompting the government to rush to contain and clean up the waster oil. The oil appeared to have been illegally dumped north of Green Island by a large vessel.

Environmental Protection Administration official estimates today that the clean up will take a week to complete, while a vessel has been identified as possibly responsible for the spill. EPA and foreign ministry officials have not named the ship company nor its nationality.

Chinese Taipei?

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Every four years, whenever the Summer Olympics comes along*, I inevitably get the question, “why is Taiwan called Chinese Taipei in the Olympics?”

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Taiwan’s official flag, Chinese Taipei Olympic flag, and the Olympics rings

CNN provides an explanation for this, but I want to give it more context. Continue reading “Chinese Taipei?”

Relaunch

After more than two years of absence, I am finally back at a place where I am able to blog and share things about Taiwan regularly. A lot certainly has changed in the past two and a half years. To start off with the relaunch, I switched the theme for the blog so that words and pictures are now bigger and hopefully easier to read. I also just spent the past hour deleting posts that are no longer relevant and fixing broken links and missing pictures. Do share anything you think could be improved and I will do my best. I also put up a post about the election two months ago, so check it out!

A more drastic change would be to the content of this blog. As more and more information becomes available, I have been thinking and learning about Taiwan’s past, present, and future in ways that I haven’t had before. As a millennial, my generation has been labelled as “pro-independence by birth 天然獨” in Taiwan, which, depending on where you stand on the issue, could be a very good thing or very bad thing. All the same, it is apparently very puzzling to the older generations in Taiwan as well as the People’s Republic of China how “pro-independence by birth” came to be and is possible. I can’t say that my perspective can represent everyone’s, because that’s not how a democratic society operates. But from now on, this blog will be my way to give my two cents about how the younger generation thinks about Taiwan and its future. It’s not easy, and probably not going to be pleasant, but absolutely necessary if Taiwan is ever going to become a “normal” country without causing war.

Quite fittingly, the Sunflower Movement was two years ago, and while I wasn’t able to be a part of it, I am certainly in awe of the change it has brought to Taiwan. If change can come from ordinary citizens who are actually concerned about a place, then I think the society has a lot to look forward to.

Taiwan and “China”

Note: It is strongly recommended that you read The Basics and Taiwan the Complicated before reading this article, especially Taiwan the Complicated, which provides a lot of information that this article builds upon. It will be less confusing to first read the mentioned writings before reading this one.

Just for a brief review, the Republic of China 中華民國 (ROC) currently controls Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China 中華人民共和國 (PRC) has NEVER controlled Taiwan. Never.

Now this is just confusing, they are both “China”, aren’t they?

I totally agree that for an English speaker, or frankly a speaker of any languages, the above statement is not only confusing, but also contradicting. Because if you really don’t know the difference between ROC and PRC and then simplify the sentence a bit, it will say “China currently controls Taiwan, but China has never controlled Taiwan,” or even “Taiwan is a part of China, but Taiwan is not a part of China.” I tried as hard as I can to differentiate the ROC and PRC to the clearest way possible in this blog, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less confusing. Let’s face it, not everyone really takes the time to figure out the difference between the two. Others have suggested using Nationalist China for ROC, and Communist China for PRC, but they are still both “Chinas”.

The UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 that recognized the PRC as the only lawful representative of China to the UN and expelled Taiwan (technically the “delegation of Chiang Kai-shek” was expelled) out of the UN did not actually stated what territories the “China” mentioned includes. But because of this resolution, Taiwan could not rejoin the UN, at least not under its formal country name, the Republic of China, because there already is a representative in the UN that represents “China”. Now whether Taiwan can join the UN to represent “Taiwan” is a whole other can of worms. Continue reading “Taiwan and “China””

Taiwan Studies 台灣研究

Within the world of Oriental scholarship, Sinology and Asian Studies, the academic discipline of Taiwan Studies is fairly new. This is not because of neglect or limited attention that has been paid to the island as an object of social knowledge, but because of an ideological corpus that tied the study of Taiwan neatly into the world of Chinese culture and civilization. Said otherwise, until up into the 1980s – and for some even beyond right up to the present day – writing about Taiwan was not conceived as part of a project of local discovery. Instead, it was written to describe modern Chinese society.

With the end of martial law in 1987 and the beginning of democratization, the focus was lifted from Taiwan as an exclusively Han Chinese society. The origins of Taiwan Studies is best situated in a scholarship that begins with its frontier history during the Qing dynasty or even before. By the 1990s, Taiwan Studies as a distinct field had been born. A Taiwan historiography began to appear that emphasized an emerging importance of the Japanese colonial period. Today, scholars from all over the world are regularly involved in discussion of the series of historical events that gave birth to this unique society. A large enough body of research has become available to support a growing number of overviews and surveys with Taiwan as their central theme and now involves a wide range of academic disciplines. In addition to historically informed scholarship (Taiwan History), there is a growing understanding of Taiwanese identity and ethnicity that draws heavily from theoretical considerations. These works also include an increased understanding of the role of religion in contemporary Taiwan politics, gender issues and studies on the place of indigenous peoples in a contemporary Taiwan. Another trend that heavily influences contemporary Taiwan Studies is linked with the critical analysis of literature and its recent expansion into venues like cinema, documentary and drama. Finally, scholarly work on politics, law, cross-strait and international relations is indispensable to a proper understanding of contemporary Taiwan culture and society.

-from the European Association of Taiwan Studies

As such, here we compiled a list of academic institutions that either have research centers focusing on Taiwan, offer academic programs or courses about Taiwan, or have both. Institutions are listed by regions in the world. If you know of any programs or institutions with a focus in Taiwan Studies that’s not listed here, feel free to leave a comment and we will be happy to add it/them to the list. Continue reading “Taiwan Studies 台灣研究”

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