Regular Issue

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Volume #26, Number #2

Published in December, 2022

   Taiwan’s populism has drawn scholarly attention since the 1990s. However, the existence of populism at the mass level in Taiwan lacks rigorous conceptual scrutiny and empirical investigation. In this sense, this article explores two fundamental questions: (1) are there people with populist attitudes (populist voters) in Taiwan; and (2) if there are, which factors contribute to the development of populist attitudes at the individual level in Taiwan? The article conceptualises populism as a multidimensional construct and then proposes an eight-item populist attitudes scale to identify the populist supporters in Taiwan. Then, to profile these populist supporters, we perform a logistic regression analysis based on four hypotheses concerning the economic, cultural and nationalist aspects. The findings suggest that the subjective assessment and perception of the economy, as well as one’s feeling of relative deprivation are significant predictors of an individual’s populist attitudes. Meanwhile, the individual’s objective socio-economic situation and attitudes toward globalisation and nationalism are not relevant in the context of Taiwan.

Ziqian Wang, Yu-Tzung Chang

   Scholars see Chinese foreign aid very differently from traditional ODA (official development assistance) due to its inherently commercial essence. Not surprisingly, Chinese non-development finance (NDF) greatly outweighs standard ODA in the total amount. As the quasi-FDI is disguised by foreign aid, the authors try to find out how political risks influence the location of Chinese NDF in recipient countries. Based on the previous literature and the characteristics of Chinese aid, we provide three hypotheses that the Chinese NDF does not consider the political institutions in recipient countries, but that it does take into account the local corruption and political stability. Using a dataset based on AidData’s Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset (version 2.0), we confirm the first and second hypotheses, but the third only partly. We confirm that political institutions will not be decisive in allocating Chinese NDF, but more corrupt countries are preferred. However, only financial flows in the energy and mining industries will significantly obviate an unstable political environment.

Szu-Ning Ping, Ching-Hsing Wang, Hsuan-Mien Wang

   Social trust and political participation are crucial indicators for examining the operation of a democracy. According to the traditional argument, social networks, including personal contact and group participation, are the main sources encouraging social trust and political participation. However, the accumulation of social trust and political participation might become more difficult along with the decrease in social networks in a changing society. Can the Internet become a new source for social trust and political participation? The author argues that internet use for political information is a necessary element for promoting social trust and political participation. This study thus hypothesizes that there will be more frequent internet use for political information, the higher the degree of social trust and political participation. By adopting the fifth wave survey of the ABS, this study finds that there is no significant relationship between internet use for political information and social trust. However, internet use for political information can promote political participation which includes the election campaign, contacts, and political protests.

Tsong-Jyi Lin

   Populism is a trend in politics, but in terms of rigorous academic definitions, is there populism in Taiwan? The Internet is a hotbed of populism. This study analyzes big data on the Internet to understand the situation regarding populism in Taiwan. This research proposes the keywords and four aspects of populism on the basis of theory, supplemented by the populism keywords that actually appear on the Internet, and proposes keywords to observe the measurement of online populism, which is an important contribution of this paper to research on populism.

   Populism has the characteristics of “people-centrism,” but unlike democratic politics, it encompasses “attacking the elites,” “ostracizing others” and “invoking the heartland.” When these four aspects occur at the same time, populism can be said to be prevalent. Overall, during the research period of this paper, “attacking elites” had more than 7 million voices, with most voices coming from all four sides, followed by“ostracizing others,” “people-centrism” and “invoking the heartland.” All four aspects of populism occur in relation to different issues. The common issues include the chaos of the nine-in-one election, the U.S. pork issue, and the ouster of Han Kuo-yu.

   On the whole, “attacking the elites” and “ostracizing others” give rise to more voices, but if we observe individual issues, “attacking the elites” and “people-centrism” occur more frequently. Is there Populism in Taiwan? The simultaneous occurrence of “people-centrism” and “attacking the elites” cannot be underestimated. However, if a stricter definition is adopted, the general voice is “anti-elite” rather than “anti-establishment.” That is, although populism has many voices on the Internet, it will not undermine democracy.

Jia-Wei Liu

In this paper, we attempt to answer how we can facilitate people’s real psychological support for human rights. To answer this question, we suggest that we need to understand the relations between human rights discourses and individuals’psychological mechanisms. Therefore, we propose a theoretical framework of moral foundations theory to explain people’s human rights orientations. The framework combines Jonathan Haidt’s and his colleagues’moral foundations theory and Dan P. McAdams’s three-layers theory of personality. We use this framework to outline the mechanisms and processes that lead human rights events to shape people’s human rights attitudes. To further explain the use of our theory, we apply the theory to a specific issue of human rights, namely, the death penalty. We analyze eight social discourses concerning the death penalty, and explore the relations among the discourses, the moral foundations and people’s attitudes to the death penalty. Our theory suggests that we need to know the moral foundations of a specific society in order to learn the relations between the moral foundations and death penalty attitudes of that particular society. To illustrate, we design and undertake a survey based on Haidt’s moral foundations questionnaire to find out the relations between Taiwan’s moral foundations and death penalty attitudes. In the end, we offer some discursive strategies to Taiwan’s abolition movement.

Chia-Ming Chen, Ying-Lung Chou