This essay examines the recent crisis of democracy in Taiwan. The Sunflower Movement and its enduring dynamism have successfully mobilized Taiwanese voters to rethink an urgent situation with regard to the “PRC effect,” which, related to an economic and political assertion of sovereignty and hegemony, has recently extended to efforts to dismantle democracy and to undermine shared consciousness, local wisdom, and political life. This nationwide project for a democratic reevaluation is therefore about a new mode of social protest. The Sunflower Movement has revealed that a generation of young, frank-talking critics has been born into this now not-so-young democracy. Often called the politics of xiangmin (literally “country people”) for their style of straightforwardness, this new contentious activity in Taiwan involves netizens as cyberactors and presents the most recent force of antagonism against this new threat to the nation’s search for democracy.
1 August 2018