In Taiwanese politics, the DPP is taking over the KMT’s stable narrative niche

Now that the DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has begun her second term as President of Taiwan and her defeated KMT opponent Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) has successfully been recalled as Mayor of Kaohsiung, it is useful to look at the changes in the Taiwanese political landscape in recent times. Six years after the Sunflower Movement protests […]

Bekijk Taiwan niet steeds door een Chinese lens: vier misverstanden voor de komende verkiezingen

Op 11 januari zijn er in Taiwan verkiezingen voor de president en voor het parlement, de Wetgevende Yuan. In de korte geschiedenis van deze jonge democratie zijn dit de meest cruciale verkiezingen tot nu toe. Kiest de bevolking voor weerstand bieden aan Peking of voor langzame integratie? Het eiland komt meestal in het nieuws in […]

Hong Kong shows that ‘communism’ is the most efficient creator of alienation

As Hong Kong is gripped in chaos and violence, there is something interesting about the ‘strongly condemn’ statements that Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (林鄭月娥) puts out at her rare press conferences. Completely in line with the rules prevalent on the Mainland, the first thing she condemns is always the harm […]

Party Not Required: nationalism’s long-term threat to the Chinese Communist Party

Xi Jinping’s well-documented attempts to become ‘chairman of everything’—as several observers have argued before me—are in fact a testament to his need to shore up weak central power. The Chinese party-state works through broad project campaigns, launched through the apparatus of party committees and propaganda organs. Local leaders take the cue to come up with […]

The dangerous long-term weakness of authoritarian leadership

A strong leader can put the house in order. Authoritarian figures with a vision have some successes on their names, notably in East Asia. But their cheerleaders often underestimate how much their achievements were possible because of broad support. As Paul Krugman pointed out in his 1994 Foreign Affaris article debunking uncritical celebration of the […]

The argument for democracy is its mediocrity

Any review of the argument for democracy as the best form of governance as a matter of tradition starts with Churchill’s citation in the House of Commons of the quote that Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. I oblige. Its popularity shows how wary many people have become of democracy. Gone is the faith of […]