Download PDF by J. Michael Cole: Black Island: Two Years of Activism in Taiwan

By J. Michael Cole

Lengthy ahead of the student-led Sunflower circulate stormed the legislature in Taipei on March 18, 2014, sparking the main critical political predicament in Taiwan’s glossy background, journalist J. Michael Cole used to be chronicling the increase of civic activism during this younger democracy and caution us of the arriving issues. during this long-awaited number of essays, the writer takes us to the guts of this impressive recrudescence of activism and indicates that there has been not anything ‘spontaneous’ concerning the Sunflower circulate. With on-site observations and distinctive entry to the protagonists, Black Island brings you to the frontlines of civil unrest—the police shields, pro-Beijing gangsters, sufferers of injustice, callous executive officers and the idealists who're battling back—and explains why the increase of civil society will swap the face of politics in Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait for years yet to come.

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Extra resources for Black Island: Two Years of Activism in Taiwan

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On Monday, after being interrupted by protests during an event promoting the alleged virtues of the cross-strait trade agreement to be signed next week, Premier Jiang complained to the press that his efforts to talk about the pact had been "hijacked" by protesters. The protests continued this morning with a press conference on Ketagalan Boulevard, a few hundred meters from the Presidential Office, with a sizeable turnout of police officers in riot gear and rolls of barbedwire. During the event, the TRF and allied organizations issued an ultimatum against the government, warning it that if by August 18 - exactlyone month after the demolitions - the government has not apologized for the demolitions in Dapu and returned the land stolen from its owners (to make way for a science park, though their properties were located on the peripheries), there would be hell to pa y.

A second group of protesters, meanwhile, clashed with police in front of the main gate, amid shouts of anger directed at Liu, Jiang, and other officiaIs. From my vantage point atop the fence, l could sense a powerfulwave of anger coursing like electricity among the protesters. One could almost reach out and touch it. The situation eventually calmed down. The dozens of activists who had crossed over to the Executive Yuan lawn were released, and one final press conferencewas held before the crowd started dispersing.

In other words,Wu accomplished nothing; he only made it possible for Liu to wear the protesters out and to carry out the demolitions when nobody is looking. There have been so many such instances in the past year that it must be very difficult for the victims and their supporters not to feel powerless. One has every reason to be uplifted by the recent mobilization of people - students, university professors and civil society - in support of the weak against the predations of the state. But the unresponsiveness of this government, the seeming inability of its officiaIs to connect with the victims, remains unchanged.

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