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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

"Climbing over a Wall 翻牆": accountability, social media, and cross-straits relations - further reflections on the significance of the Taiwan 2016 election

Panel discussion  on "What does the Taiwan 2016 Election Signify?"

Series:  Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective

Date: Thursday 18th February 2016, 6–8pm

Venue: Seligman Library, 6th Floor, Old Building, LSE

Chair: Stuart Thompson (SOAS)

Panellists: Dr Fang-long Shih (LSE), Ziyuan Wang (LSE), Victor Chan (BBC Chinese Service)

All are welcome to attend

In the spring 2014, Dr Huang Guo-chang and many others climbed over the wall of the Legislative Yuan to occupy the chamber, in protest against an unaccountable procedure: the forced passing of the Cross-Strait Services trade Agreement in 30 seconds. Their actions began what has become known as "Sunflower Movement". In the 2016 election, we saw a decline in support for the KMT; however, the KMT's former supporters did not switch to the DPP; many instead voted for various, and in particular, newly established, smaller parties. Dr Huang Guo-chang and his New Power Party won 5 seats (including one for himself) in the Legislature. The New Power Party emerged soon after the Sunflower Movement, and overtook Taiwan's established third party, the People First Party. This means Dr Huang and many Sunflower occupants no long need to climb over the wall, but can now rather enter the Legislature through the main gate and receive the respect of the police.

On the other side of the cross-Straits, we also saw many young Chinese netizens climbed over the Great Fire Wall to search for information relating to the Taiwan election. They were commentating, shouting, cursing, and arguing in their nationalist reactions to Taiwan's election and democracy. In this discussion, Dr Fang-long Shih from the LSE Taiwan Research Programme, Ziyuan Wang from the LSE International Relations, and Victor Chan from the BBC Chinese Service will explore the metaphor of "climbing over a wall" both physically and virtually. They will further examine if that action has led to the creation of a civic realm of accountability in the domain of social media, and if that virtual civic space has mediated a better understanding of Taiwan's democracy and Chinese nationalism between both sides of cross-Straits.

To find out more, please do come to participate in the Panel discussion. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

This event follows the success of the LSE Taiwan Research Programme's previous panel discussion about the election.


Fang-Long Shih

Victor Chan