Daily shorts Nov 16

Our analytics show that interest in Taiwan2012 is globally dispersed (except for the Dakotas and Australia). Several upcoming events are further evidence. First, Hsiao Bi-khim will be talking at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University on Wednesday, Nov 16. Details of the event, “Political Progress and Change in Taiwan: a DPP perspective” can be found here. We will have video of the event (and a report from our Columbia U correspondent Julia Famularo) soon after. Second, the Asian Political and International Studies Association meeting runs 24-25 November at the Overseas Chinese University in Taichung. The meeting will address “Regional Integration” and will welcome many distinguished Taiwan scholars, including Linda Arrigo who will be talking on Taiwan’s foreign relations as a legacy of the Cold War. Third, Dafydd Fell has convened a panel (with Chris Hughes, Malte Kaeding and me) to talk about the elections, at SOAS on December 14. Fourth, the LSE has three talks coming up in its “Law and Society in Taiwan” series in conjunction with NTU.

Finally, there is a double book launch at SOAS on Nov 16 (room 116 from 6pm) for two major new publications in Taiwan Studies. From the blurb: “The first book, entitled Taiwan’s Democracy: Economic and Political Challenges, is edited by Prof. Robert Ash, Prof. John W. Garver, and Prof. Penelope Prime. In this volume by an international team of experts, the continuation of Taiwan’s economic and political achievements and the new challenges that have surfaced are addressed in rich detail. One of the biggest such challenges is Mainland China’s economic success, which has added to the complexity of Taiwan’s economic and political policy options. A number of the contributors to this volume consider Taiwan’s response to China’s economic rise and show how Taiwanese firms have strategically taken advantage of the changing economic environment by moving up the value chain of production within Taiwan while also taking the opportunity to invest overseas. The second book, entitled Government and Politics in Taiwan, is written by Dr. Dafydd Fell. Taking a critical approach, Fell provides readers with the background to the history and development of the political system in Taiwan as well as an explanation of the key structures, processes and institutions that have shaped Taiwan over the last few decades. Topics covered include: the transition to democracy, party politics, cross-strait relations, foreign policy, electoral politics and voting, political economy, national identity and social welfare.”

Frank Ching has a piece today at The Diplomat which argues that the status quo could be the basis for a de facto peace agreement-if, or rather iff, the mainland can accept it. I will leave it to readers to form their own opinion on that, but there was one line that caught my eye. Namely, “ironically, passage of the Anti-Secession Law saw a lowering of cross-strait tensions.” I don’t know why an explicit threat having the intended effect should be described as “ironic” (implying an unintended outcome), and I also found empirical support for an Anti-Secession-effect in my analysis of CSB’s presidential discourse (in this CQ paper with Will Lowe, see e.g. Figure 3). A brief survey of the literature on the Law (e.g. here and here) makes me rather less sanguine than Mr. Ching about the robustness of the SQ.

Mail me at jonathan.sullivan@nottingham.ac.uk, follow me on Twitter @jonlsullivan, or access my papers at http://jonlsullivan.com