Democratic Progressive Party

Everyday life through the eyes of secret agents in spy drama Enemy. (Enemy official Weibo)

Mainland Chinese TV drama sparks talk of ‘Taiwan spies’

China's new TV show Enemy tells the story of a spy couple from Taiwan living in mainland China. The drama has won accolades and fans not so much for spy intrigue per se, but the realistic portrayal of everyday life in mainland China. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at how reel life mirrors real life and the ongoing tensions in cross-strait relations.
People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19, cast their vote at a polling station while participating in a four-question referendum in Taipei, Taiwan, 18 December 2021. (Annabelle Chih/Reuters)

Japanese academic: Taiwan’s national referendum vote shows democracy at work

​Taiwan’s four-question referendum did not pass, to the relief of the DPP and disappointment of the KMT, says Professor Yoshiyuki Ogasawara of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. That the motion to reinstate an import ban on pork with ractopamine, namely US pork, did not go through is significant, as it is an election issue that could have a detrimental impact on the DPP. Results aside, the referendum itself was a show of democracy at work and in some ways a bulwark against reunification with the mainland.
Former KMT chairman Johnny Chiang and incumbent KMT chairman Eric Chu join the annual Autumn Struggle labour protest, focusing on the opposition to the government's decision to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, and other issues related to the referendum in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 December 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan’s four-question referendum results show a Kuomintang in serious decline

Taiwan’s four-question referendum ended without any “yes” votes being passed. The KMT, who initiated the referendum, failed to gain broad-based support for its positions despite an all-out campaign. Rather than the cosmetic reasons, Lu Xi sees the core cause of the KMT’s poor showing to be its outdated approach of pandering to the traditionalist “deep blue” camp in the party. It has to move with the times and get a better pulse on the electorate if it is to make any headway.
Supporters of Taiwan's main opposition party The Kuomintang (KMT) join the annual Autumn Struggle labor protest, focusing on its opposition to the government's decision to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, an additive that enhances leanness, and other issues related to the referendum in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 December 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Kuomintang the biggest loser of Taiwan’s four-question referendum?

As the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wished, the four-question referendum held in Taiwan on 18 December — regarding the building of a third LNG plant near an algal reef, the restarting of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, pork imports, and timing of referendums — was not passed. However, they should not be too happy yet, says Chen I-hsin. Recent exposés on party members, not least on President Tsai Ing-wen herself, are draining support from the party. And though the KMT did not achieve enough “yes” votes in the referendums, if they learn from it, they could still make gains in upcoming elections.
Demonstrators take part in a march against nuclear power ahead of a referendum on whether the government should continue building the stalled Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, in Taipei, Taiwan, 5 December 2021. (Annabelle Chih/Reuters)

Taiwanese wavering over referendum on Fourth Nuclear Power Plant

Given Taiwan’s energy needs, the debate over nuclear energy is being revived, with discussions over whether the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City should be resumed. The ruling party DPP is advocating for a “No” vote and the KMT vice versa. But concerns of nuclear safety overshadow the debate and the referendum on 18 Dec, which will be one among four to be held on different issues. The outcome will be telling of the public’s political leanings and prospects for the future of Taiwan’s energy policies.
An algae reef zone is seen before Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives for an inspection at the coast of the Guanyin district in Taoyuan on 25 November 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan’s algal reef referendum: A proxy for political battle?

The Datan algal reef off Taoyuan in Taiwan is rich with biodiversity, and a natural barrier for Taiwan. However, plans for a third LNG terminal in the area have turned the reef into a political point of contention, with conservationists wanting to protect the reef and the Taiwan government having to consider energy demands. A KMT-supported referendum on whether the terminal should be moved away from the reef, along with three other referendums on pork imports, nuclear power and future referendums, will also be held on 18 December. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong examines the political undertones behind the environmental concerns.
In this file photo taken on 3 November 2021, activists rally in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, California, calling for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics due to concerns over China's human rights record. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

Beijing Olympics diplomatic boycott: Does China care?

Following the announcement of the US’s diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Australia, the UK, and Canada have also joined the boycott, while New Zealand has cited the pandemic as its reason for not sending ministerial-level officials to the Games. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines the moves by these countries, and notes that perhaps the real reason for the US boycott has more to do with US-China competition and the need to play to the domestic gallery. And while China has reacted strongly to the boycott, is it truly concerned?
Girls at a rehearsal ahead of the Double Tenth Day celebration in front of presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan, 10 October 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Who dictates war and peace in the Taiwan Strait?

Mainland China’s aerial incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone has almost become a regular routine, US warships sail through the Taiwan Strait ever so often while international military drills are conducted from time to time. As Taiwan is increasingly seen as “the most dangerous place on earth", the mainland, the US, and Taiwan are all making political statements against escalation but are preparing for military action just in case. Might conflict erupt as early as 2024? Does the key to solving the Taiwan Strait issue lie with Beijing and Taipei and the larger question of defining the Chinese nation?
This file photo taken on 30 January 2018 shows Taiwanese soldiers staging an attack during an annual drill at a military base in Hualien, Taiwan. (Mandy Cheng/AFP)

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait fear imminent war

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait have experienced anxiety and fear lately, out of escalating US-China tensions and growing speculations on the prospect of war. But how much of this so-called anxiety and fear is being manipulated for political gain by Taiwan’s ruling DPP and the US? For all the bravado seen on internet chatter, when it comes down to it, the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will suffer most in an actual war. Shouldn’t mainland provocateurs think twice before falling into the trap of beating the war drums?