CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION

By | Biography, China, Critical Essays, Geopolitics, History, Taiwan | No Comments

On the death of Zhao Ziyang and the future of China  “We Chinese people have an old weakness: we cling to some things so hard that we can’t let go…This weakness has blocked up people’s thinking, has stifled democracy and science, has aided ignorance and backwardness, and is a major obstacle to the advance of Chinese society.” Li Ruihuan (1992)[i] “Rapid economic growth is a stressful process…it churns and reorders economic and political elites. It can destabilize the political order that is responsible for the policies that sustain it, unless the political order itself evolves with the economic structure.” Ross…

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QUEMOY: AT THE FRONTIER OF THE POSSIBLE

By | China, Critical Essays, Geopolitics, Taiwan | No Comments

  Visiting the island of Quemoy, or Kinmen, as it is now commonly called, is like visiting Check Point Charlie before the Berlin Wall came down, or Panmunjom up on the militarised border between North and South Korea. It is a tiny island, 150 square km in size, set right inside a major inlet in the Chinese coast, just two kilometres from the old port city of Amoy, now the thriving special economic zone of Xiamen. Through the powerful binoculars at the Mashan Hill Broadcasting and Observation Station, on the northernmost tip of the island, you can clearly see the…

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GREEN ISLAND ELEGY: HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE CHINESE WORLD

By | China, Critical Essays, Geopolitics, History | No Comments

Green Island lies just off the south east coast of Taiwan. For decades it was Taiwan’s most notorious place of incarceration for political prisoners. Built during the so-called White Terror of the early 1950s, it held thousands of political prisoners at one time. There were 14,000 there in the mid-1950s, according to official figures.[i] Thereafter, numbers declined, but the prison was not closed until after the end of martial law, in 1987. During that era, officially, 29, 407 people were imprisoned for political reasons. Unofficially, Guomindang figures have put the total at up to 70,000. According to none other than…

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