The national security law that China passed last week is scary for many reasons: It severely limits free speech in Hong Kong, which had been a fixture of life for decades; it allows the authorities to take suspects from Hong Kong and try them in mainland China, where people such as the recently detained writer and law professor Xu Zhangrun are prosecuted for simply expressing their opinions; it establishes a secret police structure in Hong Kong that will operate outside of the law. And in threatening to arrest anyone who advocates Hong Kong’s independence, the law seems to assert jurisdiction over every person on the planet.…  Seguir leyendo »

Desde que la dinastía Qin incorporó la región de Hong Kong a China en el año 214 antes de Cristo, la ciudad ha sido una posesión imperial. Durante la mayor parte de su historia, fue una mancha remota e insignificante en el mapa de sucesivos imperios chinos. Hasta que, en 1842, el imperio británico se la arrebató al emperador manchú Qing. Luego, en 1997, el territorio se convirtió en Región Autónoma Especial del imperio informal chino gobernado por el Partido Comunista.

Taiwán también tiene una larga historia imperial; perteneció en distintas épocas a varios emperadores chinos, a Holanda y España en el siglo XVII, a Japón entre 1895 y 1945 y, desde ese año, a los nacionalistas chinos exiliados que afirmaban ser los gobernantes legítimos de China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Crowds at the Vroesepark in Rotterdam over the weekend. Photograph: Barcroft Media/via Getty Images

The whole world has been struggling to contain the coronavirus and “flatten the curve”, but Taiwan has had no curve. Out of a population of 24 million, only 440 people have tested positive for Covid-19, and there have been just seven deaths. Compare that with the Netherlands: while it is similar in size to Taiwan with a population of 17 million, well over 5,000 lives have been lost to the virus.

What has made the difference? Clearly, the Netherlands is not an island that could cut itself off from the rest of world, lock down completely and thus contain the disease.…  Seguir leyendo »

Employée d’une fabrique de masques en portant un aux couleurs nationales de Taïwan. Taoyuan, République de Chine, mars 2020. — © Ann Wang/REUTERS

Du moment où Taïwan a été durement touché par l’épidémie de SRAS et tout au long de ces 17 dernières années, nous avons maintenu une situation de préparation permanente face à la menace d’une nouvelle maladie infectieuse. Par conséquent, dès la première confirmation, le 31 décembre 2019, d’une information sur une nouvelle pneumonie, Taïwan a commencé le jour même à effectuer des contrôles à bord des avions en provenance directe de Wuhan. Une équipe dédiée était créée dès le 2 janvier 2020, et le Centre de contrôle des épidémies, qui a les moyens d’intégrer les remontées de différents ministères et est pleinement impliqué dans la maîtrise de la propagation de l’épidémie, est lancé le 20 janvier.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lights in rooms at the Taipei Grand Hotel display the word 'ZERO' to mark Taiwan's reporting of no new novel coronavirus cases on May 3. (David Chang/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

The communist government in Beijing has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with crackdowns, coverups and intimidation. The democratic government in Taipei has taken a starkly different approach, one based on pragmatism, science and generosity. The contrast between the two leads to the inescapable conclusion that Taiwan is a much better partner for the United States than the People’s Republic. It’s long past time we started treating it that way.

Earlier this week, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger delivered a speech in Mandarin to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the founding of what’s known in China as the May Fourth Movement, when student protests in cities around China in 1919 spawned a generation of scholars and activists who believed in promoting science and democracy above the closed system controlled by Chinese elites at the time.…  Seguir leyendo »

We continue to learn more about the Chinese Communist regime’s lies and culpability in the global coronavirus pandemic. But if you want to see the difference between how a totalitarian and a free Chinese society handles a public health emergency, just contrast the actions of the People’s Republic with those of the Republic of China, Taiwan. One is responsible for unleashing a contagion that has infected more than 2 million people; the other has all but defeated the virus.

Taiwan should have seen the second-largest outbreak of covid-19 in the world, according to an analysis published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.…  Seguir leyendo »

If there is going to be a silver lining to the covid-19 crisis, it should involve the plucky democracy of Taiwan getting the international support it deserves. The country of 23 million people has dealt with the pandemic as well as any. As of Tuesday, Taiwan had 393 confirmed cases and six deaths, extremely low numbers for a nation on China’s doorstep. Taiwan is now even helping the rest of the world as well by churning out millions of face masks and sending them all over the globe.

Like other countries that responded effectively, Taiwan had a bad experience with SARS in 2003, so it was better prepared for an epidemic.…  Seguir leyendo »

Checking the temperature of a passenger arriving at the international airport in Hong Kong. The city, like Singapore and Taiwan, has made headway in containing Covid-19.

While the spread of Covid-19 is picking up speed in Europe and the United States, among other regions, the outbreaks in some countries in Asia seem to be under control.

The epidemic in China appears to be slowing down after an explosion in cases followed by weeks of draconian control measures. And other locations have managed to avert any major outbreak by adopting far less drastic measures: for instance, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

All have made some degree of progress, and yet each has adopted different sets of measures. So what, precisely, works to contain the spread of this coronavirus, and can that be implemented elsewhere now?…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen celebrates her victory with supporters in Taipei. (Chiang Ying-Ying/AP)

Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, won a second presidential term last month with a 57 percent vote share and a record of 8.2 million votes. During her campaign, Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) advocated for the need to protect Taiwan’s democracy and freedom from China’s threats — with reminders that Taiwan’s fate could one day be like Hong Kong’s.

Tsai’s landslide victory sent a signal to China and the world that the Taiwanese were determined to protect their democracy when it was threatened, especially after seeing Hong Kong’s year of unrest. But this commanding victory also has important implications for gender equality in Taiwan.…  Seguir leyendo »

With the totalitarians’ talent for invective and the Leninist faith that “history” has a Marxist mind of its own, a Beijing-run “news” agency dismissed Taiwan’s presidential election results as “a temporary fluke” and “bubbles left behind by the tides of history.” Actually, this election, just 48 days after Hong Kong’s resounding repudiation of Beijing in November voting, is another boulder in a growing avalanche of evidence, from the islands of Hong Kong and Taiwan to Central Europe, that China need not be accommodated.

The landslide reelection of President Tsai Ing-wen happened despite Beijing’s strenuously expressed objections, economic pressures (e.g., refusing visas to tourists wanting to visit Taiwan, where tourism produces more than 4 percent of gross domestic product), military intimidation (last year, Beijing’s fighter jets crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait for the first time in two decades), and surreptitious but flagrant electoral interference.…  Seguir leyendo »

Attendees watch a screen where election results are projected during a Democratic Progressive Party rally with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on Saturday. (Betsy Joles/Bloomberg)

On Saturday, the citizens of Taiwan enthusiastically exercised their democratic rights, voting for their president, vice president and national legislators. Tsai Ing-wen was reelected as president for the next four years. The Democratic Progressive Party remains the majority party in the parliament. Taiwan has been choosing its national leaders through free and direct elections since 1996.

Many countries around the world will soon send congratulations to the island republic for its successful elections. Taiwan’s giant neighbor, China, is on the outside looking in. This is not only because Beijing claims that Taiwan is a part of China, having never recognized the legitimacy of elections on the island.…  Seguir leyendo »

A supporter of Han Kuo-yu, a candidate for president, watching election returns on Saturday. Mr. Han, who favors close ties to China, lost his bid to unseat the incumbent, Tsai Ing-wen.Credit...Ritchie B Tongo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Populism was supposed to be the winning formula. With the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (D.P.P.) steadily campaigning on growing anxiety over threats to Taiwan’s national identity, the Kuomintang, a party that favors close ties to China, risked being consigned to playing permanent opposition. Populism seemed to offer it a way out.

It was populist promises, after all, that had helped Han Kuo-yu, of the Kuomintang, triumph in local elections in late 2018.

Yet the same playbook failed him and his party miserably in the general elections this weekend. Not only was Mr. Han unable to woo new voters; he couldn’t even hold on to many traditional Kuomintang sympathizers.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Han Kuo-yu, a presidential candidate who favors close ties with China, during a campaign rally in Taipei. Credit...Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

Can China extend its control over Taiwan as it has over Hong Kong? Beijing certainly wants to, judging by its many and varied efforts to influence the course of Taiwan’s politics, but the people of Taiwan won’t let it, apparently. Taiwan’s presidential election on Saturday, which essentially pits the incumbent Tsai Ing-wen (who has stood up to China) against Han Kuo-yu (who promotes close ties with the mainland), is also a proxy contest about Taiwan’s identity.

The recent assertion of the people of Taiwan’s sense of being Taiwanese has been spectacular. Liao Mei, an economist at National Sun Yat-sen University, and I analyzed unpublished data from surveys conducted in March and April 2019 by my colleagues at the China Impact Studies group at Academia Sinica, and according to those, more than 73 percent of respondents did not want Taiwan to “unify with the mainland China even if it arrives at the same level of economic and political development as Taiwan.”…  Seguir leyendo »

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan and her running mate William Lai Ching-Te, second from left, at a rally in Taoyuan on Wednesday.Credit...Tyrone Siu/Reuters

This Saturday, voters in Taiwan will choose their next president and the national Legislature. Tsai Ing-wen, the incumbent president who is detested by the Chinese government because of her tough — if, until recently, low-key — anti-China stance, has chosen as her running mate William Lai Ching-Te, who openly promotes independence for Taiwan. That was a risky move, and it may well help her chances.

Ms. Tsai’s popularity rating was languishing in the midteens as recently as last summer, but all recent polls place her safely ahead of her main opponent, the pro-China, populist maverick Han Kuo-yu.

A third candidate, the veteran — and stale — politician James Soong Chu-yu, is largely irrelevant.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Taïwan, à la veille d’un double scrutin présidentiel et législatif au suffrage universel à un tour, les sondages prédisent une réélection confortable de la présidente sortante, Tsai Ing-wen. Sa formation, le Parti démocrate progressiste (DPP en anglais), s’oppose à toute forme d’unification avec la Chine, sans pour autant chercher à proclamer l’indépendance de l’île, afin de préserver l’indépendance de fait de ses 23,5 millions d’habitants. Dès lors, Pékin n’a pas ménagé ses efforts pour entraver son premier mandat – en suspendant tout dialogue avec Taipei, en restreignant de 22 à 15 le nombre déjà étique des alliés diplomatiques de Taïwan, en accroissant ses manœuvres militaires dans le détroit de Formose –, comme pour favoriser le retour au pouvoir de la principale formation rivale, le Parti nationaliste (Kuomintang, KMT), qui demeure attaché à une unification à long terme.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dans un monde de plus en plus polarisé entre, d’un côté, un « axe illibéral » Chine/Pakistan/Iran et, de l’autre, un « axe néolibéral » Japon/Inde/Etats-Unis, le futur président de Taïwan, allié traditionnel de Washington au territoire réclamé de façon toujours plus pressante par Pékin, aura fort à faire pour préserver l’identité composite et la réussite économique de la seule démocratie libre du monde sinophone.

Depuis le 17 septembre, tous les candidats pour la présidentielle de janvier 2020 sont connus.

Lutte « classique »

Jusqu’au bout, le suspense des nominations aura tenu Formose en haleine : tout d’abord, c’est la création d’un nouveau parti par le populaire maire de Taipei, Ko Wen-je qui avait alimenté les spéculations ; ensuite, c’est la candidature annoncée, puis abandonnée au dernier jour, de Guo Tai-ming, dirigeant de Foxconn, qui augurait d’une confrontation inédite avec trois candidats de poids électoral quasi équivalent.…  Seguir leyendo »

It’s official. Taiwan is the first place in Asia to perform and legally recognize same-sex marriages. The first such marriages were registered Friday, less than a week after May 17, when the self-ruling island’s legislative body overwhelmingly passed a special bill enabling them. The bill includes a prescription that all the rights and duties Taiwan’s civil code grants to married couples will apply to married same-sex couples. This is a historic victory for the LGBT community in Taiwan.

The path to this new law was not easy — and reveals Taiwanese society’s mixed attitude toward LGBT rights. Here’s what you need to know to understand how these marriages were won and what it means for LGBT rights in Asia.…  Seguir leyendo »

En 1979 sucedieron muchas cosas con consecuencias duraderas. Dos de ellas fueron la invasión soviética a Afganistán y la Revolución Islámica en Irán, que llevó al poder a un régimen decidido a recrear no sólo la sociedad iraní sino también gran parte de Medio Oriente.

Igual de importante fue la decisión de Estados Unidos de reconocer, a partir del 1 de enero de ese año, al gobierno de la República Popular China –administrada entonces como hoy por el Partido Comunista– como único gobierno legal de China. El cambio sentó las bases para un aumento del comercio y la inversión entre la mayor economía del mundo y su país más poblado, y permitió una mejor cooperación contra la Unión Soviética.…  Seguir leyendo »

La contienda geopolítica que se despliega entre China y Estados Unidos ha sido descrita por muchos como una nueva guerra fría. Si alguna vez se convierte en una caliente, el punto de ignición bien podría ser Taiwán, en gran parte debido a la política chica con respecto a la isla.

El gobierno de China suspendió el contacto diplomático con Taiwán en junio del año 2016, debido a que el Partido Progresista Democrático (PPD) de Taiwán, un partido pro-independencia que acababa de regresar al poder, se negó a reconocer el llamado Consenso de 1992, la base política del principio de Una China.…  Seguir leyendo »

A voter reacts during the initial results of Taiwan’s midterm elections in Kaohsiung on Nov. 24. The local elections are crucial to whether Tsai can win a second term in the 2020 presidential election. (Peter Lin/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Taiwan’s midterm elections got a surprising amount of international coverage this November. President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered heavy losses against the opposition Kuomintang Party (KMT), winning only six of 22 districts — and losing nine districts it previously held. Tsai resigned as DPP chairperson and announced a “major reshuffle” for the party.

Foreign news outlets were quick to suggest the defeat of the traditionally pro-independence DPP at the hands of the more pro-China KMT mirrored the slide in U.S.-China relations. The Washington Post headline, for example, read, “Taiwanese president quits party leadership after pro-China rivals claim ballot landslide,” while a New York Times opinion piece asked “Will Taiwan Be the First Domino to Fall to China?”…  Seguir leyendo »