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Talking Taiwan

Author: Felicia Lin

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Talking Taiwan is a Golden Crane Award Winner and the longest running Taiwan-related podcast. Hosted by Felicia Lin, it's about the interesting people and stories connected to Taiwan and Taiwan's global community – in Taiwan, the US, and around the world. Listen and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, and everywhere - or on
252 Episodes
Earlier this year when we were in Taiwan, we traveled down to Kaohsiung where we met with Wan-jen Lin the architect who worked on Weiwuying (衛武營國家藝術文化中心), Kaohsiung’s performing arts center and the Echo Across the Harbor, which up to now is the largest public art project in Taiwan. Related Links: She shared how the design of the Echo Across the Harbor was inspired by the history of Kaohsiung harbor. We will have Wan-jen back on for a more in-depth interview at a future date.   Related Links:
Last September we had the pleasure of interviewing actor, writer and director Michelle Krusiec. Her IMDB page displays an impressive list of acting roles dating back to 1992. Related Links: We talked about the different phases of her career starting with her one-woman show, Made in Taiwan, which earned her much critical acclaim. She wrote, directed and acted in it in her 20s. Then there was her first main character role in a feature film, Saving Face, a film that put her on my radar and so many others’ in 2004. In 2020 she portrayed the legendary Anna May Wong in the Netflix series Hollywood. Stepping into that role helped her to rethink the institutionalized racism that she’s experienced as an actor. Michelle also talked about her directorial projects, and expressed her thoughts on the SAG-AFTRA strike, and so much more. March is Women’s History Month and so we thought this would be the perfect time to release the first episode of the Trailblazing Taiwanese Women’s series sponsored by NATWA, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association, which was founded in 1988. To learn more about NATWA visit their website:     Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       How she got on the path of acting ·       The stereotypical Asian roles she took on early in her career ·       The struggles she’s faced in her acting career ·       How playing the role of Anna May Wong helped her to rethink the institutional racism that she’s faced as an actor ·       Her first leading role in a feature film (Saving Face) ·       How she grew up she didn’t see many people who looked like her on television and longed to change that ·       How Michelle prepared for her role in Saving Face by going to Taiwan to learn Mandarin ·       How Michelle prepared for her role as Anna May Wong in the Netflix series Hollywood ·       Michelle’s directing projects ·       Michelle’s one woman show Made in Taiwan and how it opened doors for her and got her a deal with ABC TV ·       How anti-Asian hate became more prevalent during the pandemic but was around long before ·       Her upbringing and how it impacted her early career ·       Michelle’s Washington Post op ed piece ·       How a fortune teller impacted Michelle’s adoption ·       The connection between Made in Taiwan and Michelle’s short film, Bite ·       Michelle’s short film Nian ·       Michelle’s thoughts on motherhood and parenthood ·       The writing/directing projects that Michelle is working on ·       Michelle’s thoughts on the SAG-AFTRA strike ·       Michelle’s support for SB 805, a bill that supported funding for nonprofit theaters ·       How Michelle was affected by the BLM (Black Lives Matter) demonstrations that arose during the pandemic ·       Michelle’s advice to others who want to pursue acting or directing ·       Michelle’s connection to Taiwan   Related Links:
Ten years ago, on the night of March 18, 2014 students and activists broke into Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in an effort to block the passage of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, a trade agreement between Taiwan and China. The day before, on March 17, the Kuomintang (KMT) had attempted to force through passage of the trade agreement in the Legislative Yuan, without giving it a clause-by-clause review. The occupation of the Legislative Yuan lasted over 20 days, until April 10 th and Fire EX.’s song Island’s Sunrise became the anthem of the movement, which came to known as the Sunflower Movement. Related Links: To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Sunflower Movement, I sat down and spoke with Sam Yang, the lead singer of the band Fire EX. about how the opportunity to write the song Island’s Sunrise came about. As it turns out there’s a New York connection to the story and an exhibit and event to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Sunflower Movement be taking place in New York on March 15 and running until April 15. Sam and I also spoke about where he gets his musical inspiration and how the band nearly broke up in 2015, the same year that Island’s Sunrise was named Song of the Year at the Golden Melody Awards. Fire EX. now has its own music production company and since 2017 they have been organizing something called Fireball Fest. The band is now on a North American tour and most notably will be performing at this year’s South by Southwest in Austin Texas. We’ll share their tour dates below. This interview was a real treat for me because I happened to be in Taiwan in 2014 when the Sunflower Movement happened. I remember all of the events that unfolded and being so moved when I heard the song Island’s Sunrise. Special thanks to Katie Wei for her translation and May Wu for her help in making this interview possible. Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:  How Sam got interested in music  How Fire EX. got started and where its name comes from  Fire EX.’s musical influences  Sam’s path to becoming a full-time musician  Sam’s advice for young aspiring musicians  How the opportunity for Fire EX. to write a song for the Sunflower Movement happened  The New York connection to the story of how Fire EX. was asked to write a song for the Sunflower Movement  How there will be a month-long exhibit in New York to commemorate the 10- year anniversary of the Sunflower Movement from March 15-April 15 at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City  March 18, 2014 the night students and activists broke into and occupied the Legislative Yuan  The March 23, 2014 attempt to occupy the Executive Yuan  The rallies that happened worldwide on March 30, 2014 in support of the students and activists’ actions to block the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement  How students who occupied the Legislative Yuan often listened to Fire EX.’s song Good Night Formosa before falling asleep  Why students of the Taipei National University of the Arts approached Sam to writ a song for the Sunflower Movement  Sam’s approach to writing the song Island’s Sunrise  How Sam decides to write songs in Holo Taiwanese or Mandarin Chinese  Sam’s thoughts on the differences and challenges of the twenty-somethings who were involved in the Sunflower Movement vs. the twenty-somethings who just voted in Taiwan’s recent election (January 13, 2024)  How Sam’s sense of social activism was influenced by his roommate Wu Zhining (吳志寧) whose father Wu Sheng (吳晟) is a famous Taiwanese poet  How Fire EX. almost broke up in 2015  The Fireball Festival  How Fire EX. will be touring in North American in March and performing at South by Southwest in Austin, TX  One of the most touching things that Sam has heard from one of the band’s fans  What we can expect from Fire EX. in the future, a concert in Taipei on June 15 and Fireball Festival at the end of November Related Links:
Remembering 228. On this day, we remember February 28, 1947, a sad tragic date in Taiwan’s history that marks the murder of tens of thousands. Some estimates put the number as high as 28 30 thousand. Two years earlier, in 1945, the Chinese Nationalists or Kuomintang had fled from China to Taiwan. After Japan’s occupation of Taiwan had ended and since the arrival of the KMT, discontent had been brewing for some time. Related Links: So on the night of February 27, 1947 when Tobacco Monopoly Bureau agents tried to confiscate contraband cigarettes from a 40-year-old woman and brutally knocked her out, an angry crowd gathered in protest. Then one of the agents fired a shot into the crowd killing a bystander. What followed was a bloody crackdown by authorities, widespread violence and what some have called the March Massacres since most of the killings actually happened in March.   In this episode, is an account that James Shau, chairperson of the Taiwanese American Association of New York shared at last year’s 228 commemoration at the New York Taiwan Center. Mr. Shau’s account is a reminder of how widespread the violence was at that time. And while we now know that intellectuals and community leaders were among those who were specifically targeted, there were many unknown, unnamed who also senselessly lost their lives.   228 led to 38 years of martial law and an even longer period of White Terror in Taiwan. Let us also remember those who suffered during those subsequent periods of time.   In more recent news related to 228, Taiwan’s Transitional Justice Commission has identified 42 historical sites where injustice related to 228 have happened.   On Monday, February 26 just a few days ago, the Executive Yuan compound was designated as a historical site of injustice. 77 years ago, it was the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office when the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang KMT military police fired indiscriminately on protestors on February 28, 1947.   Other historical sites of injustice that have been unveiled include the Jing-mei White Terror Memorial Park which used to be the Taiwan Garrison Command’s detention center and military court, the Ankang Reception House, and the Tang Te-chang Memorial Park in Tainan.   Special thanks to Meiling Lin for her translation assistance for this episode. Related Links:
On January 25th we held the second in-person event during the Talking Taiwan Election Tour at the PicCollage office in Taipei thanks to John Fan, who was a guest on episode 179 of Taking Taiwan. Many of our past guests, friends and supporters were in attendance at the event, and what made the event extra special for us of course was the chance to meet some of our past guests in-person for the very first time.   In this episode you’ll hear me speaking with our previous podcast guests and a few people from the audience also came up and spoke with me at our impromptu on-stage podcasting booth. Previous guests featured in this episode include: Eric Chang (episodes 121, 127 and 231), Jane W. Wang (episode 150), Karen Chung, (episodes 217 and 219), Elias Ek (episode 59), Brian Foden (episodes 184 and 185), Richard Wang (episode 77), Jerome Keating (episodes 97, 98 and 186).   This episode bookends the Talking Taiwan Election Tour episodes, but we do have some other interviews that we recorded while in Taiwan. Those will be released at a later date.   We are extremely grateful to our supporters and donors who made the Talking Taiwan Election Tour possible.   By the way, if you'd like to listen to the episode featuring our first in-person on January 19th at 4SC Crossfit thanks to T.H. Schee, check out episode 273 and if you want the full visual experience, visit Talking Taiwan’s YouTube channel where you can watch video footage from both of our in-person events.   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       Jenny Luo talked about the Taiwan Plus show she’s producing called, Anything Goes with JL ·       Eric Chang shares his thoughts on the January 13th election in Taiwan, and talked about his work at Taiwan News and enjoying Taiwan’s natural beauty ·       Jane W. Wang talked about her interest in permaculture and degrowth ·       Karen Chung talked about an app she’s been working on to improve the listening skills of those learning English called Ear Bug ·       Elias Ek talked about how his early career in radio shaped him as an entrepreneur, Dragon’s Chamber and his latest business venture Keego ·       Brian Foden talked about his podcast, If the Phrase Fits ·       Richard Wang shared how he’s helping to bring baseball games to the Taipei Dome, that the Yomiuri Giants (Japanese baseball team) will be celebrating their 90th anniversary with games at the Taipei Dome, and starting this year, the local baseball league will have six teams ·       John Fan made introduced and explained what PicCollage does ·       Jerome Keating shared his thought on the future direction of Taiwan and where Taiwan is headed ·       Nancy Baldwin talked about her book, One Thousand Layers of Water and Clouds: The Tale of a Taiwanese Daughter ·       Elias Ek shared a few pet peeves that he has about terms and phrases commonly used in Taiwan ·       Felicia acknowledged Gus Adapon the original producer of Talking Taiwan who was in the audience ·       Dylan Black a Canadian who has lived and taught English in Taiwan for many years talked about how he is now doing so in China, and how life China compares to life in Taiwan so far   Related Links:
While in Taipei, we were able to meet up with Keelung City Councilor Jiho Chang who’s been a guest in episodes 149, 156 & 174. Related Links: We spoke about the recent announcement that Daniel Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang had become the speaker of the Legislative Yuan and Bi-khim Hsiao’s role as vice president of Taiwan.   Related Links:
As part of Talking Taiwan’s Election Tour, we spoke with Courtney Donovan Smith a week after Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections. Lai Ching-te of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected president with 40.05% of the vote. Hou Yu-ih the Kuomintang’s (KMT) presidential candidate got 33.49% of the vote and Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) got 26.46%. It was the first time in Taiwan’s history that any political party has been elected for three consecutive four-year terms in office. Related Links:   The DPP won an unprecedented third presidential term but lost its majority in the legislature. We talked about how ballot counting in Taiwan is highly transparent and also about how the Taiwan People’s Party could have a crucial role in the legislature, and if the TPP will suffer the same fate as Taiwan’s other third parties   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       Reflections on the 2024 election compared to past elections ·       How the election of Lai Ching-te has earned the DPP an unprecedented third term in office ·       How Terry Guo had expressed interest in running for president ·       The opposition unity ticket deal that fell through ·       Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996 ·       How ballots are counted in Taiwan ·       How voting is done in Taiwan ·       Donovan’s thoughts on if the Taiwan People’s Party will survive as a third party ·       Taiwan’s third political parties and what has happened to them ·       The 2000 election in which Lien Chan was the KMT presidential candidate and James Soong ran as an independent presidential candidate ·       The origin of the terms “Pan Green” and “Pan Blue ·       The possibility that Hou You-yi could be recalled as mayor of New Taipei City ·       Comparing the recall of Hou You-yi with the recall of Han Kuo-yu ·       What the election results tell us about how people feel about the Democratic Progressive Party ·       How Ko Wen-je has managed to attract many young voters ·       How voting results may have differed if the presidential election were not a three-way race ·       What could happen with the Legislative Yuan speaker and deputy speaker positions   Related Links:
During the Talking Taiwan Election Tour we planned to host two in-person events for our guests, supporters and friends. The first event was held on January 19th at 4SC CrossFit’s Xindian branch in New Taipei, thanks to T.H. Schee who’s been a guest on Talking Taiwan several times. Related Links: In fact episode 234 with T.H. is one of the Top 5 episodes of 2023. On January 19th we had a chance to meet some of our past guests in-person for the first time in person. We started off talking to JD Chang from episode 80 about Crushing the Myth. Next up was John Eastwood who talked about legal reforms needed in Taiwan in episode 203. We talked about the election results in Taiwan’s legislature that had the KMT with 52 seats, the DPP with 51 seats and the TPP with 8 seats and 2 seats going to Independents We next spoke with Jerome Keating who talked about understanding the history of Taiwan in episode 97. Jerome explained why he wrote in his recent Taipei Times article that he doesn’t expect the TPP, the Taiwan People’s Party to survive to the next presidential election in 2028. And finally at the end of the night Kaju and I talked to TH Schee who’s been on Talking Taiwan several times, and who’s one of the investors of 4SC Crossfit where we held our January 19th event. Related Links:
Talking Taiwan is on an Election Tour and we traveled down to Kaohsiung where I cast my vote in Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election. Voting booths opened at 8am on January 13th and we spoke with Sean Su, midday on election day. He was also in Kaohsiung to cast his vote. Sean shared some of his observations and we talked about the alarming text message alert many in Taiwan received on January 9th. I remember reading the text about a missile flyover on my phone just as Kaju and I arrived in Kaohsiung on the high-speed rail. Sean is Co-Producer of Taiwan Report. Known for jump starting Keep Taiwan Free. He is also a frequent guest on ICRT.   Related Links:   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       Sean’s observations on election day in Kaohsiung ·       How if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te wins it would be the first time in history that an incumbent party after eight years in office is re-elected ·       Courtney Donovan Smith’s recent article about Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election, which mentions that Ko Wen-je’s YouTube subscribers have surpassed one million ·       The DPP’s rally that was held at Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei on January 11 ·       Ma Ying-jeou’s comments that Taiwan has no choice but to trust Chinese leader Xi Jinping ·       The text message alert from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense on January 9th that stated in English that there was a missile flyover Taiwan airspace ·       Bilingual 2030 ·       The case of the two Michaels from Canada that were kidnapped by China ·       How China conducted a series of missile tests in the waters surrounding Taiwan, including the Taiwan Strait in 1995 in response to President Lee Teng-hui’s visit to Cornell University and in 1996 before Taiwan’s first direct presidential election ·       What China would need to do in order to successfully invade Taiwan   Related Links:
Talking Taiwan is taking the show on the road back to Taiwan on the Talking Taiwan Election Tour and we traveled down to Taichung on January 7th to meet up in person with political commentator Courtney Donovan Smith, to do some pre-election coverage. We talked about the backgrounds of the three presidential candidates Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) nominee, Lai Ching-te (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), the Kuomintang (KMT) nomineeand their running mates, the opposition unity ticket between the Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party that fell apart. Related Links:   At one time it looked like Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election could have been a four-way race but Terry Gou, the founder of Foxconn who withdrew from the presidential race. To learn more about the candidates and their policies be sure to check out episode 270 with Courtney about the presidential debate. After the election results are in, we will bring Courtney back to share his post-election results analysis with us.   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       The background of TPP presidential candidate Ko Wen-je ·       How Taiwan has a lot of politicians with medical backgrounds ·       The background of DPP presidential candidate Lai-Ching-te ·       The DPP campaign video” On the way” featuring Tsai Ing-wen, Lai Ching-te and Bi-khim Hsiao ·       The background of KMT presidential candidate Hou You-yi ·       Hou You-yi’s background as a police officer ·       The background of Jaw Shau-kong the KMT vice presidential candidate ·       The background of Bi-Khim Hsiao the DPP vice presidential candidate ·       The background of Cynthia Wu the TPP vice presidential candidate ·       Some of the controversies and allegations involving the presidential candidates ·       What happened to Terry Gou founder of Foxconn who withdrew from Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election   Related Links:
On December 30th  there was a debate held between Taiwan’s three presidential candidates Lai Ching-te (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nominee Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), the Kuomintang (KMT) nominee and Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) nominee. The three candidates started with eight minutes each to present their candidacy, that was followed by a media question answer session, and then in the second half each candidate had a chance to question each other. I sat down and spoke with political commentator Courtney Donovan Smith who shared his thoughts and observations about the debate.   Related Links:   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       How candidates were doing at the polls at the time of this interview was recorded (December 30, 2023) ·       How undecided voters could influence the outcome of the presidential election ·       How Courtney calculates the Taiwan News Poll of Polls ·       How the presidential candidates performed in the first policy forum in comparison to the presidential debate ·       The 60-70% of what was covered during the debate was related to China ·       The second issue covered during the debate was properties owned by the three candidates ·       Little time was spent on domestic issues like Taiwan’s low birth rate, and energy ·       Each candidate’s position on China and how they would handle relations with China ·       Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je and Lai Ching-te’s take on the 1992 Consensus ·       How from China’s point of view, the 1992 Consenus includes acceptance of the One China principle ·       How Hou You-yi wants to bring back the cross strait services pact ·       Courtney’s opinion of the cross strait services pact ·       How Ko Wen-je wants to pass the cross strait oversight bill ·       During the debate Ko Wen-je claimed that the Sunflower Movement was a protest against black box political dealings and not a protest of the services trade pact, when it in fact was a protest about both black box political dealings and the services trade pact ·       Each of the presidential candidate’s position on national defense spending ·       Each of the presidential candidate’s position on extending or shortening military service ·       The candidate’s policies on housing, death penalty and energy and nuclear power plants in Taiwan ·       How Taiwan’s energy reserves are a matter of national security ·       If younger voters care more about domestic issues or the China issue ·       Courtney’s thoughts on watching Taiwan Plus’ broadcast of the debate with simultaneous English translation ·       How Hou You-yi spoke some Taiwanese during the policy forum, debate ·       The Kuomintang’s strategy behind picking Jaw--- as the vice presidential candidate ·       How the KMT put Han Kuo-yu in the number one slot on their party list, which indicated that he is probably their candidate for the legislative speaker   Related Links:
Here we are again… at the end of another year and we’re getting ready to reveal the top 5 Talking Taiwan episodes of 2023! Related Links: We want to take a moment to especially thank all those who have supported and donated to the Talking Taiwan Election Tour. So far we have raised 40% of our overall fundraising goal of $25,000. Because of your support we will be heading to Taiwan in January to cover the presidential election and also producing additional episodes in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. We’re also grateful to all of our amazing guests and want to thank each and every one for being a part of the Talking Taiwan podcast. Stay tuned for the first new episode of the New Year featuring political commentator Courtney Donovan Smith sharing his analysis of Taiwan’s presidential debate. Soon Talking Taiwan will be taking the show on the road to Taiwan for the Talking Taiwan Election Tour. We’ll be covering Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election with pre-election coverage and a post-election discussion. Plus, we’ll be traveling to Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung and producing additional episodes related to these 3 major cities. Wishing you a wonderful rest of 2023 and a Happy New Year! Related Links:
With the presidential election in Taiwan fast approaching (on January 13, 2024). We thought it would be a good time to discuss disinformation related to Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election with Summer Chen, the Editor-in-Chief of Taiwan FactCheck Center and Wei-Ping Li, a research fellow at Taiwan FactCheck Center. Related Links: We also talked about disinformation that circulated in 2020 around the time of Taiwan’s presidential election and the United States’ presidential election, TFC’s work to combat the spread of disinformation and how the general public can prevent themselves from falling prey to fake news by creating something called a trust circle.   Taiwan FactCheck Foundation (TFC) is a non-profit/non- government organization jointly established by the Association for Quality Journalism and Taiwan Media Watch Foundation in April 2018. In December 2020, TFC legally registered as an independent foundation, Taiwan FactCheck Foundation.   As COVID-19 first broke out in China, TFC was the first fact-checking organization to alert the potential disinformation threat to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) in January 2020, which led to the launch of the biggest ever fact-checking project, CoronaVirusFacts Alliance. The alliance unites more than 100 fact-checkers across the globe and has published more than 10,000 fact-checks surrounding the pandemic.   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       The difference between the terms disinformation and misinformation ·       Disinformation that was spread about Taiwan’s government donating US $200 million to Israel ·       How Taiwan FactCheck Center (TFC) has joined Facebook’s third party fact checking program and what that means ·       The difference between a journalist and fact checking organization (or between the media and a fact checking organization) ·       How TFC collaborates with tech Facebook, Google and messaging apps like LINE (which is popular in Taiwan) ·       TFC is certified by the IFCN (International Fact Checking Network) ·       What TFC when disinformation or posts go viral ·       How people can file a claim or report to debunk or fact check something they see on social media or a messaging app ·       How people in Taiwan have become aware of suspicious information after having experienced disinformation that happened during the elections in 2018, 2020 and 2023 ·       The Cofacts chatbot that people can use to report disinformation in Taiwan ·       Fact checking sites that people in Taiwan can use such at MyGoPen ·       Disinformation related to 2020 elections in Taiwan that TFC debunked ·       TFC was published a disinformation playbook ·       How disinformation that could impact Taiwan’s presidential election in January has been spread several months in advance ·       The misinformation and disinformation observed during Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election ·       How disinformation related to Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election on Facebook and LINE disappeared around December 25th when Wuhan went under lockdown ·       Disinformation about the 2020 U.S. presidential election that floated into Taiwan’s LINE and Facebook groups ·       How there will be several elections in several different countries around the world in 2024, and the challenge this poses for fact checkers ·       How it is difficult to confirm the origin of disinformation ·       How misleading information makes it into Taiwan’s social media networks, message boards and get picked up by journalists and reported as news ·       How Taiwan FactCheck Center has hosted workshops for journalists to educate them about how to do fact checking ·       Concerns about AI for fact checkers ·       The responsibility of media owners and companies to maintain the quality of journalism ·       The role of AI in creating disinformation ·       How to debunk AI generated disinformation ·       How people can evaluate the trustworthiness of information by having several different sources of information and a circle trusted sources and individuals that they can check in with ·       Reliable fact checking sites ·       The accuracy and reliability of Wikipedia   Help us Get the Show on the Road by Supporting the Talking Taiwan Election Tour!     Support Talking Taiwan:   GoFundMe:   PayPal:   Zelle:   Patreon:   Checks can be made payable to Talking Taiwan and sent to:   Talking Taiwan PO Box 1049 New York, NY 10113   Related Links:
These days Taiwan is known to be the most free and democratic country in Asia, but it wasn’t always that way. It’s hard to imagine that Taiwan has had a very dark period of history during which there was massive censorship. At one time Taiwan had the longest period of martial law in the world at 38 years. During the martial law period from 1949 to 1987, and the White Terror era that extended beyond the lifting of Taiwan’s martial law, there was no freedom of speech, expression or thought, and advocating for the independence of Taiwan was a crime punishable by death. This episode examines how Taiwan’s transformation from an authoritarian state to a democracy, has impacted Taiwan’s media environment.   Related Links:   I spoke with Wei-Ping Li about the laws and mechanisms of the censorship from Taiwan’s martial law era and the impact it had on Taiwan’s media environment, and how Taiwan’s media environment had changed since then.   Wei-Ping is speaking in a personal capacity (as a media scholar who studied Taiwanese media) and the views expressed in this interview were all her own personal opinions.   About Wei-Ping Li   Wei-Ping Li is a research fellow at Taiwan FactCheck Center. She collaborates with fact-checkers to monitor disinformation trends in Taiwan and produces analysis reports for both English and Chinese audiences. Her English analyses are published in Taiwan FactCheck Center's biweekly newsletter "TFC Disinfo Detector."   Li received her Ph.D. degree at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Her research interests include propaganda, social media content moderation, free speech challenges faced by democratic countries, and privacy issues in the digital era. She has published scholarly articles in academic journals, books, and law reviews.   Before pursuing an academic career, she offered consulting services on digital human rights in Asia. She also worked as a journalist for media outlets in Taiwan for several years. She earned her LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and has been admitted to the practice of law in New York State.   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       Wei-Ping’s previous career in journalism that started in 2001 ·       How Wei-Ping was one of the speakers in a discussion about America Skepticism Theory organized by GTI (Global Taiwan Institute) ·       How Taiwan is currently the most free and democratic country in Asia ·       Taiwan has had the second longest period of martial law in world history, and a dark period of extreme censorship and authoritarianism during and after martial law was lifted in 1987 ·       The restrictions, and laws of Taiwan’s martial law era included two tracks one was martial law and the other was called The Period of Mobilization for the Suppression of Communist Rebellion ·       The mechanisms that enforced the restrictions, and laws of Taiwan’s martial law era, such as publishing laws, Article 100 of the Criminal Code and the Betrayers Punishment Act ·       Bans on the media, newspapers, songs, films, books ·       Why Mark Twain’s book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the wuxia novels of Jin Yong were previously banned in Taiwan ·       Some of the bureaus and departments that enforced censorship laws include: Taiwan Garrison Command, Information Bureau, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior, Council for Overseas Communities ·       How the Kuomintang extended their censorship to newspapers issued overseas ·       How private correspondence was monitored and surveilled ·       How the Kuomintang was trying to build a comprehensive mechanism of censorship in the 1950s ·       After martial law was lifted in Taiwan the government imposed a National Security Law ·       How it took the efforts of many advocates and advocates to break up the barriers and restrictions to gain more freedom ·       The Period of Mobilization Law was lifted in 1991by President Lee Teng-hui and the bans on newspapers were lifted in 1988 ·       How in 1989 (a year after bans on newspapers were lifted) Cheng Nan-jung, the publisher of the Freedom Era Weekly or New Era Weekly barricaded himself in his office and set himself on fire in protest against the restriction of media freedom ·       The nature of the bans on newspapers that were lifted ·       How Criminal Code Article 100 did not allow people to advocate for Taiwan independence, or criticize high ranking officials or presidents ·       The article written by Cheng Nan-jung in 1987 that criticized the authorities’ methods of restricting freedom of speech ·       Topics that the Freedom Era Weekly addressed included the health of President Chiang Ching-kuo, power struggles inside the intelligence bureaus ·       The police that tried to arrest Chen Nan-jung on April 7, 1989 was headed by Hou You-yi, who is the KMT’s presidential candidate for Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election ·       How the Taiwan Independence Association led the repeal of the Betrayers Punishment Act, and amendment of Criminal Code Article 100 ·       In 1998 Taiwan’s constitutional court made a decision that advocating for Taiwan independence is no longer a crime ·       How Taiwan’s history has affected its media environment ·       The trauma of censorship on the Taiwanese ·       Taiwan’s current media environment ·       Taiwan’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index ·       Challenges in Taiwan’s current media environment ·       The self-censorship of businesses with close ties to China ·       How disinformation could flow into Taiwan through PTT (Taiwan’s bulletin board system)   Related Links:
Our deepest apologies. Listen to find out why. And looking ahead to 2024, we are making some changes.
January 13, 2024 is not just the date of Taiwan’s presidential election; seats for the Legislative Yuan will also be elected on that day.   Related Links:   My guest on this episode of Talking Taiwan is Dr. Fan, the Coordinator of the Overseas William Lai (Lai Ching-te) for President Committee.   We talked about why he’s supporting Lai Ching-te and two grassroots efforts that are being organized get out the vote for Lai Ching-te and his vice presidential running mate Bi-khim Hsiao. The DPP has had a history of coming up with creative, innovative, grassroots campaign tactics for its presidential candidates. Dr. Fan also shared his perspective on the other two presidential candidates and why the election for the Legislative Yuan is just as important as the presidential election.     Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: · ·       Dr. Fan’s background and how he got interested and involved in Taiwan’s political situation ·       How the Kaohsiung incident happened not long after Dr. Fan had gone to the United States ·       How he met Trong Chai and  Peng Ming-min and came to understand more about Taiwan’s situation ·       How Dr. Fan started meeting with U.S. senators and congressmen and tried to put pressure on Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo to give the people of Taiwan the right to assemble and to remove the black list ·       The presidential election in Taiwan is especially important since China’s President, Xi Jinping, is no longer subject to any term limits ·       That Taiwan should not fall into the hands of a party friendly with China ·       How the Kuomintang (during the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou) advocated for Chinese students to be allowed to come to work in Taiwan, to shorten military service from one year to four months ·       How if a comparison of Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency with Tsai Ing-wen’s, will show that the  tock market, economy and national GDP improved under Tsai Ing-wen ·       How China is using the 1992 Consensus as the basis for its One China Policy ·       How Xi Jinping has said that Taiwan will be unified with China ·       Whether called Republic of China, or Taiwan, Xi Jinping considers it Taiwan independence ·       Dr. Fan’s opinions of William Lai (Lai Ching-te) and Bi-khim Hsiao ·       Why Dr. Fan is supporting William Lai (Lai Ching-te) and Bi-khim Hsiao ·       How Lai Ching-te served as the mayor of Tainan and got re-elected with 70 percent vote ·       The qualifications of William Lai (Lai Ching-te) and Bi-khim Hsiao ·       Dr. Fan’s thoughts on TTP presidential candidate Ko Wen-je and KMT presidential candidate Hou You-yi: ·       How the KMT could support the legislator Ma Wen-chun who leaked national security information related to Taiwan’s development of submarines ·       Two events being organized to encourage people to get out and vote for Lai Ching-te and Bi-khim Hsiao ·       On December 13an event is being organized for people in the U.S.  to make phone calls back to Taiwan urging people to vote on January 13 ·       How the January 13 election is not only for Taiwan’s President but also for the Legislative Yuan ·       The importance of the election for the Legislative Yuan ·       How in 2006 the KMT blocked passage of budget for the sale of submarines from the U.S. to Taiwan ·       How people can participate in the phone call effort privately on their own by calling people within their own personal circles ·       How the DPP has used creative, grassroots campaign to promote their candidates ·       The merchandise created for the DPP presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian and Tsai Ing-wen to fundraise ·       The 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally that helped Chen Shui-bian get elected in 2004 ·       Team Taiwan theme songs and merchandise ·       The slogans used for the Lai-Hsiao ticket ·       Overseas voters and supporters of Lai and Hsiao are encouraged to participate in the January 8th event at National Taiwan University which will involve a press conference to showcase overseas support for Lai and Hsiao ·       The overseas voters include people from the east and west coast of the US, Taiwanese associations, and groups from Thailand, Japan, East Asia, West Europe, East Europe, and South America, and a Hakka group ·       The January 8th event aims to encourage people to get out and vote ·       How people can do their part to get out the vote even after December 13 by calling and asking others to vote on January 13           Related Links:
My guest on this episode of Talking Taiwan is Hsin-Tai Wu (吳欣岱), a member of the Taiwan Statebuilding party. We talked about how and why she went from being a cardiovascular surgeon to joining the Taiwan Statebuilding party and becoming a politician, the background and goals of the Taiwan Statebuilding party, and how the party was instrumental in the recall of Han Kuo-yu as the mayor of Kaohsiung, after he ran as the Kuomintang presidential candidate in Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election. Related Links:   Hsin-Tai Wu is running for Taiwan’s legislature on January 13th, the same day as Taiwan’s presidential election, so we talked about the issues she cares about and her thoughts on the presidential hopefuls.   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode: ·       Hsin-Tai’s background and upbringing ·       How Hsin-Tai went from being a cardiovascular surgeon to a politician ·       The impeachment of Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu ·       How Hsin-Tai became a member of the Taiwan Statebuilding Party ·       The anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong in 2019 ·       Han Kuo-yu was the Kuomintang presidential candidate in Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election ·       The background of the Taiwan Statebuilding Party and how it was founded ·       Taiwan’s attempt to enter the WHO in 2003 ·       When Hsin-Tai Wu joined the Taiwan Statebuilding Party ·       What happened in Kaohsiung after Han Kuo-yu became the mayor ·       Why Han Kuo-yu was recalled as the mayor of Kaohsiung ·       How Han Kuo-yu as the mayor of Kaohsiung said he wouldn’t run for president but then after serving three months as mayor he was nominated and later became the KMT candidate for Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election ·       Han Kuo-yu’s proposals ·       The outcome of Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election ·       The procedure to recall a mayor ·       The outcome of the recall vote ·       What it’s been like for Hsin-Tai Wu switching from being a cardiovascular surgeon to a politician and member of the Taiwan Statebuilding party ·       The goals and principles of the Taiwan Statebuilding party ·       Problems with the Kuomintang ·       The Brazilian egg issue that led the Minster of Agriculture in Taiwan to resign ·       The problem with Taiwan’s state system, the Republic of China ·       How China is using UN Resolution to say that Taiwan is a part of China ·       The confusion caused by Taiwan’s official name the Republic of China ·       Bills drafted by the Taiwan Statebuilding party ·       Issues that Hsin-tai cares about ·       China’s interference in Taiwan’s presidential election ·       how a possible opposition alliance in between the Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party in Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election would have used polls to determine who would be the presidential candidate- the Kuomintang’s (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) or the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) ·       Hsin-Tai’s thoughts on the 2024 presidential hopefuls Terry Guo, Ko Wen-je, Hou Yu-ih, Lai Ching-te ·       Challenges faced by the Taiwan Statebuilding party   Help us Get the Show on the Road by Supporting the Talking Taiwan Election Tour!   Support Talking Taiwan:   GoFundMe: PayPal: Zelle: Patreon:   Related Links:
We’ve got some big news for you! Talking Taiwan is taking the show on the road, back to Taiwan. Kaju and I are planning to be back there during the upcoming presidential election on January 13th. We will be doing election coverage and in-person interviews with some of our most popular guests, and new guests who are based in Taiwan. In order to do all that we want to do, we are going to have to do some fundraising and crowdfunding. Hear what we have planned and to learn how you can support the Talking Taiwan Election Tour! Related Links: Help us get the show on the road as we take the Talking Taiwan podcast back to Taiwan just in time for the presidential election on January 13th. There’s never been a better time for us to do this! The presidential election comes around once every 4 years. We want to take this opportunity to showcase Taiwan’s young vibrant democracy and to do some in-person episodes with guests who are based in Taiwan.   We’re calling it our “Talking Taiwan Election Tour” campaign. We plan to do several election coverage episodes with Courtney Donovan Smith, who is a seasoned political commentator, Taiwan News columnist, ICRT correspondent, and has frequently appeared on Taiwan Plus News, and on the Taiwan Plus Taiwan Talks show. We’re planning to meet with Courtney in Taichung to do a live in-person episode there.    During this trip we are not only going to be in Taipei and Taichung but we plan to also travel down to Kaohsiung. We’ll be doing coverage and meeting with special guests from northern, central and southern Taiwan. I’m looking forward to meeting some of our past guests in-person for the very first time. Speaking of meeting people in person…    While we are in Taiwan there will be two special in-person gatherings organized for Talking Taiwan, one at the Pic Collage Office, thanks to John Fan, and another gathering will be held at 4SC CrossFit’s Xindian Branch, thanks to T.H. Schee.    PLEASE NOTE: GoFundMe donors will not be eligible to attend these in-person gatherings, due to GoFundMe’s rules and regulations which state that 1) fundraisers that offer perks or rewards to donors aren’t allowed and 2) no raffles, sweepstakes, giveaways, or promotions may be offered in exchange for any donations made to your GoFundMe.   If you’d like a special invitation to one of these in-person gatherings with us in Taipei, make sure you make your donation via Paypal:, Zelle, Patreon:, or personal check and provide us with your email address.   Our goal is to raise $25,000 to cover all expenses for the “Talking Taiwan Election Tour” like air fare, accommodations, travel within the island, transporting all of our equipment and other incidentals. We are setting a deadline of December 31st to raise money for this trip.    We’re off to a great start because we are starting off with a Matching Donation Pledge of $5,000 offered by Patrick Huang. This means the first $5,000 we raise will be automatically doubled to $10,000 and we’ll be nearly halfway to reaching our fundraising goal.    During this campaign we will be completely transparent in publicly listing the names of donors and the amounts donated, however if you’d like to be kept anonymous, you can indicate this when you donate on GoFundMe or inform us at the time of your donation via email at The tally for “Talking Taiwan’s Election Tour” will be shown on the Talking Taiwan website and on our GoFundMe page the count will begin after $19,129. So we will need to reach a total of $44,129 on GoFundMe.   There are some other ways that you can support us. You can donate/offer housing during our stay, or donate airline tickets, or hook us up with discounted airfares.     We’ll be sure to share more exciting news and announcements as the campaign progresses. So stay tuned for more updates from us.    We are so grateful for our growing listenership and want to thank you to all of our listeners, past, present and future. It’s thanks to you and all of our supporters and donors that make what we do possible.    So help us get this show on the road. And raise the money by December 31st!   Support Talking Taiwan:   GoFundMe:   PayPal: Zelle:   Patreon: Related Links:
This interview with photographer, filmmaker Gao Yuan was originally part of episode 260 about coincidences connected with the Taiwanese American Arts Council’s house, Building 7B on New York’s Governors Island, which has affectionately come to be called the Taiwan house. The Taiwanese American Arts Council was selected to be an Organization in Residence on Governors Island this year from May to October and was also the only Asian organization on Governors Island this past year. In this episode I’ll be talking with Gao Yuan about her short film Between Us which deals with the conflict between the indigenous and Hakka in southern Taiwan, and also how Gao Yuan uncovered a surprising connection to Taiwan that actually came knocking on the door of TAAC’s house Building 7B.    Related Links:   Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:   ·       Gao Yuan’s background ·       How Gao Yuan got into photography ·       Gao Yuan’s short film, Between Us ·       The significance of the river in Gao Yuan’s short film, Between Us ·       Gao Yuan’s approach to photography and filmmaking ·       How Gao Yuan started photographing people with tattoos ·       How many of the tattooed people Gao Yuan photographed in Taiwan were part of the mafia or considered gangsters ·       Gao Yuan’s short film, Ocean, tattoo, and bar ·       How Gao Yuan met Commander Douglas Stevenson who previously lived at the Taiwan house (Building 7B) with his family and his connection to Taiwan ·       The short documentary film the Gao Yuan made about the Douglas Stevenson Family   Related Links:
Abigail Hing Wen was recently in New York for the launch of her latest YA book Loveboat Forever, the third book in her Loveboat trilogy. We caught up with her at her book launch and she stopped by our podcast studio for a quick visit.   If you’re a long-time listener of Talking Taiwan you may remember when we interviewed Abigail (who’d just become a New York Times bestselling author) about her first YA novel of this series, Loveboat Taipei in episode 67.   We’ll be having Abigail back on Talking Taiwan at a later date for a more in-depth interview.      Related Links:
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