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This book is the first of three covering Taiwan’s gradual evolution over several decades from a one-party dictatorship to a vibrant multi-party democracy. It deals with the social as well as political changes that have taken place in Taiwan, as seen from the point of view of a foreigner and a Taiwan citizen.

A foreigner and a Taiwan citizen? Two people? No, just one. I arrived in Taiwan on a British passport in 1986 and swapped my British nationality for Taiwan (ROC) nationality about 10 years ago.

The book first gives the history of Taiwan to provide the background necessary to understand the complex present-day circumstances of this island. Then, the political circumstances and developments from 1986 to 1992 are narrated in Part Two from the point of view of an initially rather reluctant observer. Part Three focuses more on social change during this same time period. These years represent Taiwan’s initial opening up from a society that had been under martial law for nearly four decades, the longest period any country in the world had suffered martial law at the time. Book Two will cover the years from 1992 to 2003, and draw comparisons with other countries in the region, particularly the other three of the four ‘Asian Tigers’; South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

At the time of this writing, Taiwan is going to the polls in the 2018 so-called ‘nine-in-one’ local elections. Apart from the elections themselves, there are 10 referendums. Even I will cast a vote shortly, for the first time in my life. Public participation in the administration of Taiwan has reached unprecedented levels. But it hasn’t always been this way…

Free on 21st - 25th Sep 19
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