Schubert, Gunter (Ed.) (2016).

Taiwan and the ‘China Impact’: Challenges and Opportunities.

London: Routledge.

There can be no doubt that China’s economic and political rise is having a stronger effect on Taiwan than on any other country, given the Chinese government’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan, and Taiwan’s quest to maintain its democratic achievements and political identity as a sovereign state. Against this background, this volume deals with the ‘bigger picture’ of evolving relations across the Taiwan Strait, departing from the observation that China’s impact on Taiwan has become stronger over the last 20 years.

This book analyses the ‘China impact’ on Taiwan in terms of its social, political and security space from both an empirical and conceptual point of view. It is the first comprehensive account of China’s multifaceted impact on the politics and society of contemporary Taiwan, written by renowned scholars from Taiwan, Europe and the U.S. The book covers a wide range of topics including Taiwan’s party alignment, elections, generational politics, cross-strait political economy, immigration policy and security. The contributors, political scientists and sociologists, highlight both the dangers and the opportunities of the ‘China impact’ for Taiwan and draw a realistic picture of the island republic’s current situation and future options in the shadow of its giant neighbour.

Based on qualitative and quantitative data, this volume intends to fill a gap in the Taiwan studies field by studying the ‘China impact’ on Taiwan’s politics and society systematically and from a comparative perspective. By doing so, it will be of great interest to students and scholars of Taiwan studies, and East Asian politics and society more generally.

Taiwan and the ‘China Impact’ book coverThe Kaohsiung Incident in Taiwan and Memoirs of a Foreign Big Beard cover

Jacobs, J. Bruce (2016).

The Kaohsiung Incident in Taiwan and Memoirs of a Foreign Big Beard.


The Kaohsiung Incident of 1979-1980 disturbed Taiwan’s dictatorship and ultimately contributed to Taiwan’s democratization. This book analyzes the precursors to the Kaohsiung Incident, the Kaohsiung Incident itself, the following trials and the contributions of these events to Taiwan’s democratization. After the indictments were issued, the murder of the mother and twin daughters of Lin I-hsiung, one of the defendants, shocked Taiwan and the world. The government accused the author, a well-known scholar of Taiwan, of being involved in the murder case and he was placed under “police protection” for three months. Part 2 of this book is the writer’s memoir of that period.

Ming-yeh T. Rawnsley (蔡明燁) (2015).

Discovering Taiwan Cinema (看見台灣電影之光), Taipei: Youth Culture (in Chinese).

This book aims at a readership of 13–18 years old. However, it is based on the author’s research and addresses the impact of democratisation on culture by using the development of Taiwan cinema as a case study. The book takes three approaches—historical, agency and structural—to examine how culture in Taiwan has democratised since the 1980s. First, the author reviews the history of cinema in post-war Taiwan in order to demonstrate the changes through the years leading to the 1980s. Second, it focuses on a number of filmmakers of Taiwan New Cinema and Post-New Cinema (in particular Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Tsai Ming-liang and Ang Lee) and explain how they challenged different boundaries and broadened the cultural horizon of a society under authoritarian rule for over four decades. Third, Taiwan’s film industry suffered from a serious decline since the 1990s until the appearance of Wei De-sheng’s Cape No.7 (Haijiao qihao, 2008), which became the all-time best-selling movie in Taiwan. So what has changed and how has Taiwan’s film environment evolved from the 1990s to finally enable the coexistence of home-grown commercial and art-house cinema in the new millennium? These structural developments of the local film industry are considered part of the long-term legacy of Taiwan New Cinema and presented in the book as evidence or Taiwan’s cultural democratisation.

Discovering Taiwan Cinema bookTaiwan's China Dilemma book cover

Lim, S. Shirley (2016).

Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy.

Stanford: Stanford University Press.

As Taiwan has become increasingly dependent on mainland China economically, its policies toward China have fluctuated between liberalization and restriction. This study uses a framework that links national identity and economic interest to explain the ongoing debate over Taiwan’s cross-Strait economic policy and the oscillations this debate has produced in four episodes during the presidencies of Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, and Ma Ying-jeou. The debate has revolved around competing opinion clusters, described here as Extensive Restriction, Moderate Liberalization, Moderate Liberalization, and Extensive Liberalization. In the first two episodes, Taiwanese had not yet agreed on their national identity and the discussion was highly politicized, with Extensive Restrictionists and Extensive Liberalizers being most appealing. In the latter two, however, there was an increasing convergence on a definition of national identity, rooted in Taiwan’s distinctive values and institutions, rather than in ethnicity. Support for extreme policies dropped considerably, and the two moderate clusters became dominant. This consolidated national identity enabled a larger number of Taiwanese to dissociate economic policies from their future political preferences and definitions of national identity, and to rationally discuss the competing options. However, the debate remained intense, as Taiwanese attempted to balance a number of competing goals, including economic growth, equity, stability, security, and even international recognition and environmental sustainability. How Taiwan’s emerging national identity has shaped the evolution of its cross-Strait economic policy has implications for not only the future of cross-Strait relations but also the discipline of international political economy.

Damm, Jens, Cheng, Isabelle (2016).

Taiwan: Self vs. Other.

Chinese History and Society/Berliner China-Hefte 47 .

This issue of journal Chinese History and Society/Berliner China-Hefte themed ‘Taiwan: Self vs. Other’ brings together outstanding contributions from the 11th annual EATS conference which was held at the University of Portsmouth, UK, in 2014. The journal has been edited by Jens Damm, Chang Jung Christian University Tainan, and Isabelle Cheng, University of Portsmouth, and the various papers examine how Taiwan perceives and projects itself to its domestic and international audiences.

The journal contains the following contributions:

  • Isabelle Cheng and Jens Damm: Introduction
  • Isabelle Cheng: Which Team Do You Support? Situating the In-between Identity of Immigrant Women in Taiwan
  • Lara Momesso: From Someone, to No-one, to a New-one: A Subjective View of Taiwan’s Immigration Policies in the Context of Multiculturalism
  • Feng-yi Chu: Benevolent Self vs. Malignant Oher: The East-West Antagonistic Narrative of Taiwanese People’s Chinese Identity
  • Ek-hong Ljavakaw Sia: Crafting the Taiwanese Nation: Exclusivist and Inclusivist Theses of the Post-war Taiwanese Nationalism
  • Jens Sejrup: One or the Other: Synecdoche and Representation in Taiwan-Japan Controversies
  • Barbora Platzerova: Bigamy in Chinese Law in the 20th Century: Conflict between Laws and Special Cases of Bigamy
  • Jens Damm: The Contemporary Political and Public Discourse on the Xinhai Revolution in Taiwan

For more details, please visit the website

This issue is currently in print and will be available at the end of April.

For orders, please contact the main editor, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Mechthild Leutner at the Confucius Institute, Free University Berlin.

Taiwan Self vs. Other titleFilm and Visual Culture Reading the Classics of Taiwan Cinema book cover

Shie, Elliott S.T. (謝世宗) (2015).

Film and Visual Culture: Reading the Classics of Taiwan Cinema. (電影與視覺文化:閱讀台灣經典電影) (in Chinese).

Taipei: Wunan Publishing (五南出版社).

Film and Visual Culture: Reading the Classics of Taiwan Cinema is a textbook that introduces the discipline of film studies with a focus on Taiwan cinema. The first section of the book introduces the basic concepts of film studies, such as camera movement, editing, mise-en-scene and performance. Using a formalist approach, it also analyzes important Taiwanese films such as Edward Yang’s Yi Yi, Wan Ren’s Taste of Apples and Stan Lai’s Peach Blossom Spring. The second section focuses on Taiwan cinema and its transnational connections, including Hollywood cinema, European modernism and East Asian minimalism. Cases for analysis are drawn from such box-office hits as Cape No. 7 and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon as well as from auteur films such as Edward Yang’s The Terrorizers and Tsai Mingliang’s The Hole. The final section focuses on the approaches of cultural studies, concentrating on the issues of gaze, gender, masculinity, homosexuality and class. By closely reading a diversity of contemporary Taiwanese films, including the documentary Jump! Boys, the chapters in this section attempt to demonstrate the value of cultural studies when applied to the analysis of film in general. The book’s conclusion provides a practical guideline to instruct students on how to write an in-depth film review. As a whole, the textbook seeks to inform readers of the basics of film studies, while at the same time offering close readings of masterpieces in the history of Taiwan cinema.