11/27/18 The Tondu Question: Understanding Taiwanese Preferences on Determining National Future

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room – Suite 503
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052


The Sigur Center for Asian Studies cordially invites you to a discussion with Mr. Fang Yu Chen – a Non-Resident Scholar affiliated with the Sigur Center – to discuss Taiwanese views regarding national future and to explore government responses to these views.

Light refreshments will be available. This event is public and open to the media.

About the Event:

With the dynamic shifts and changes in the U.S.-China relationship, Taiwan has been thrust in the spotlight of international politics. On the one hand, China is increasingly mounting pressure on governments and private corporations to adhere to its “One China Principle.” On the other hand, preserving Taiwan’s democracy and freedom have been identified as important elements to U.S. policy and values, as outlined in U.S. National Security Strategy and echoed by recent remarks made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

However, how do the Taiwanese view China’s One China Principle and, conversely, the “One China policy” of the United States? What are citizen preferences on determining national future, whether it be independence, unification, or maintenance of the status quo? Although Taiwanese identity has been a growing force within Taiwan politics, support for “Taiwan independence” may seem to be waning. What does “maintaining status quo” fully mean and imply, given that this selection is a popular recurring option in surveys on the subject?

In fact, there are various interpretations of “status quo” and even multiple meanings of Taiwan independence. Using a recently collected dataset based on a new approach of measurements, this talk aims to disentangle the varieties of Tondu (統獨, unification/independence) – illustrating the propositions of different types of pro-independence, pro-unification, and status quo; and estimate the proportions of each category in public opinion. The talk will also discuss how the tondu preferences influence the results of the local elections in Taiwan, especially the rise (and fall?) of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-Je.

About the Speaker:

Mr. Fang Yu Chen is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Michigan State University. His research interests include authoritarian politics, political behaviors, inequality, and nationalism. Mr. Chen’s dissertation topic is “Ruling Party Institutionalization in East Asian Authoritarian Regimes,” in which he will compare former dictators’ ruling parties in Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Since 2014, he became the co-founder and co-editor of the website “Who Governs TW,” which aims to become a Mandarin version of the Monkey Cage. Currently, he lives in the DC area.

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