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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Hand in Hand: a social construction of political romance and Taiwan's democratization

With Documentary Directors Yen Lan-chuan and Chuang I-tseng

Date: Tuesday 24 February 2015, 6pm-8.20pm (Film-screening) 8.30pm-9.30pm (Discussion)

Venue: Seligman Library (OLD 6.05), Old Building, LSE

Chair: Dr Fang-Long Shih (LSE Taiwan Research Programme)

Respondents: Dr Kent Deng (LSE Economic History), Dr Christine Han (Institute of Education, UCL), and Stuart Thompson (LSE Taiwan Research Programme)

Summary of discussion

About the Documentary Film

Hand in Hand examines the social context of Taiwan’s transition from authoritarianism in the 1950s to democracy in the present, from the perspective of the love story of two human rights activists, Mr Tian Chau-ming and Mrs Tian Meng-shu. Mr Tian won the title of Doctor of Human Rights, and in 2010 Mrs Tian was awarded a prize by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights. The directors, Yen Lan-chuan and Chuang I-tseng spent five years (2006-2010) studying in archives and conducting interviews on sites to make this documentary film. The documentary shows how Mr and Mrs Tian’s personal romance was interwoven with a series of socio-political crises in Taiwan: the bloodshed and repression of the 2-28 Incident and the White Terror; the decision of the United Nations to de-recognise the Republic of China, and the death of Chiang Kai-shek. It also charts the couple’s active role involvement in campaigns to highlight the regime’s abuses, including the 1979 jailing of the Formosa Eight, the 1980 2-28 murder of Mr Lin Yi-hsiung’s mother and daughters, and the 1989 self-immolation of Cheng Nan-jung as a protest against the denial of free speech. The film not only documents a symphony of life’s bitterness, sweetness, difficulties, and simplicity, but also a fifty-year history of the struggle of Taiwanese people fighting against authoritarian rule and campaigning for human rights and the creation of a new democratic era. The documentary was awarded first prize at the 2010 Taiwan International Documentary Festival.

About the Directors

Yen Lan-chuan and Chuang I-tseng are both teaching at Kao-yuan University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and they have been making documentaries on Taiwan since the 921 Earthquake in 1999. Yen was awarded an MA in the Studies of Film and TV Programme Production from Sheffield University, UK. Chuang received a BA in Philosophy from National Taiwan University. Yen and Chuang are known for their award-winning documentaries Let It Be and Hand In Hand.




Hand in Hand