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Politics & Society

Politics & Society
Retirement: Challenges & Solutions

Here’s How We Can Fix Our Pension Systems

With aging populations, longer life expectancy, and declining fertility rates, retirement has become a serious issue for various nations. What can the public and private sector do to make our pension system more inclusive and sustainable?

‘Care Café’ Serves Seniors as well as Community

Is long-term care for the elderly only up to the government to provide? Now a corner café serving the community’s seniors has proven that long-term care can be not just innovative, but also attract young people to the field.

Politics & Society
Super-Aged Society

Bank Chairman Quits for His Father's Long-Term Care

“As long as I have the money, I can get a private room in a long-term care home.” This is perhaps what most people have been planning for their elderly at home. Yet when there is no room available, no hands to help, a bank chairman would also have to quit to take care of his father.

Politics & Society
Interview with RSF Chairman Pierre Haski

The Specter of ‘Illiberal Democracy’

The chairman of Reporters without Borders (RSF), Pierre Haski, was in Taiwan recently to talk about “illiberal democracy.” In this interview with CommonWealth Magazine, he spoke about the rise of this phenomenon and what could be done to reverse the tide.

Politics & Society
2018 State of the Nation Survey

70 Percent Dissatisfied with President Tsai’s Performance

President Tsai Ing-wen is currently less popular than her premier, a rare phenomenon in Taiwanese politics. Areas in which the public is least happy with the Tsai administration range from government performance and the economy to air pollution and high housing prices.

Politics & Society
'Reach for the Stars'

Has This Advice Failed an Entire Generation?

Millennials or Generation Y is projected to be the biggest part of the working force. They are, however, facing great technological, political and social challenges at the same time. How can they thrive in the future?

Politics & Society
Taiwan vs. Vietnam

Who Treats Workers Better?

Labor groups in Taiwan have been up in arms recently over the government’s labor policy. And there’s good reason for that, argues professor Hong-zen Wang, who says that workers in Taiwan have even fewer rights than those in less-developed Vietnam.

Politics & Society
Universal Healthcare Coverage

WHO: Healthcare Costs are Pushing Millions into Extreme Poverty, This Outrage must End

At least half of the world’s 7.3 billion people still do not have access to essential health services. Director-General of the WHO (World Health Organization) calls the world's governments to act now.

Can Small Investments Create Large Returns for Energy Production?

Incoming Premier William Lai is wasting no time, cracking the whip to jumpstart Taiwan’s ambitious new infrastructure program, focusing on green energy, offshore wind farms, digital infrastructure upgrading, and easing employment regulations. Will the government’s strategy of using small investment to stimulate large growth pay off?

Politics & Society
Taiwan’s Economic Miracle Long Gone

Chronicling a 20-Year Decline

Taiwan’s economy has floundered for the past two decades, plagued by sluggish growth and a lack of direction. Two Academia Sinica researchers have done an in-depth study of what has gone wrong, and they share their findings in this interview.

Politics & Society
Aging Society

The Job Market is Booming for Older Workers

With the structure of population aging, the projected share of people aged 65 and over in the job market is projected to rise sharply.

Politics & Society
Dwiita Vita

Migrant Workers Should Get the Day-Off

Dwitta Vita is the winner of 2015 Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants. He points out that there are still a relatively significant amount of migrant workers who don’t get regular day-offs. It is urgent that they’re able to rest like decent workers.

Politics & Society
Housing Justice

These Cities Have the Least Affordable Housing

Of the top 20 cities with least-affordable housing relative to income, seven are in Asia and six are in Latin America.

Politics & Society
Wooing Taiwan's Independence-Minded Youth

Can Xi’s ‘National Treatment’ Strategy Work?

A continued stalemate appears to be on the horizon for official cross-strait relations following the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress. Yet it is worth watching to see how far such substantive measures as “national treatment” aimed at facilitating cross-strait “fusion development” rolled out by PRC President Xi Jinping could go towards winning over a generation of Taiwanese naturally favoring independence.

Politics & Society
Taiwan Turnaround

Fighting the Brain Drain

See how Taiwan’s internet tech scene is catching up by checking in with some star players about how Taiwan’s brain drain is affecting them and how they are addressing the issue.

Politics & Society
A Growing Class of ‘Down and Out Elderly’

Indifferent to Life, Ready to Die

The term “karyū rōjin,” or “down and out elderly,” highlights the rising poverty, loneliness, and chronic disease of aging populations. Takanori Fujita, the author who coined the term, talks to CommonWealth about the looming crisis in Taiwan.

Politics & Society
The ’35 Generation’

Seeking Freedom, Living for the Moment

They’ve been derided as the “strawberry” generation, but Taiwan’s 30-somethings defy stereotypes. Born into an era when freedom began taking root in the country but economic growth slowed, what motivates them and how do they see their futures?

Politics & Society
Taiwan’s Energy Transition

Facing Up to a Hot, Dirty 10 Years

Taiwan intends to increase the use of renewable energy and phase out nuclear power by 2025. But thermal power plants burning coal and natural gas will still play major roles and could pose serious health risks, especially over the next 10 years.

The Conundrums of Offshore Wind Power

Offshore wind power is one of the two major pillars of Taiwan's transition away from nuclear power and fossils fuels to renewable energies. Yet concerns remain that offshore wind farms might obstruct sea channels, encroach on marine habitats and undermine the livelihood of coastal fishermen.

Taiwan’s ER Crisis

“Too convenient, too cheap, no need to wait,” is what characterizes emergency rooms in Taiwan. As a result, people with minor ailments flock to the ERs of major hospitals, diverting resources from those with life-threatening conditions or injuries. Can the public healthcare system be sustained if emergency departments are treated like round-the-clock convenience stores?

Politics & Society
Reversing the Brain Drain

Time for Homecomings

Thirty years ago, Taiwan sent a team overseas to study semiconductors and recruited Morris Chang back to the country. Can history repeat itself? Taiwan is hoping it can reverse its brain drain, but the government and private sector need to step up.

Politics & Society
Taiwan’s Growing Talent Drain

‘Farewell, Taiwan’

With its low salaries and lack of stages on which to shine, Taiwan is no longer seen by young people as a land of opportunity, and they are leaving in droves. Are companies and the government ready for the massive talent deficit down the road?

Politics & Society
Rethinking Taiwan’s Food Safety System

Is Your Kitchen Really Safe?

The shadows of successive food safety scandals continue to cast a pall over Taiwanese consumers. At a time when government regulation has proved inadequate and even top brands have faltered, how should Taiwan go about addressing the issue?

Politics & Society
Michael Sandel

Leadership and Ethics in the 21st Century

Michael Sandel, Harvard ethicist, scholar, & TED Talk star gave a Keynote speech on “Leadership and Ethics” at the Fulbright Thought Leader Forum on June 2nd, 2017.

Politics & Society
Interview with Michael Sandel

We Need Public Discourse on Big Ethical Questions

Bestselling author of “Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?”, philosopher, & professor at Harvard University, Michael Sandel, gives a keynote speech at the Fulbright Thought Leader Forum in Taiwan on 6/2. He talks about "Leadership and Ethics" in the 21st century.

Politics & Society
Lin Chuan-neng

Striving for Energy Transition

According to Bureau of Energy Director-General Lin Chuan-neng, while working toward the goal of a nuclear-free Taiwan, equal attention must be paid to ensuring a stable power supply and low greenhouse gas emissions.

Preparing for the Golden Years

Have you pictured what your life will be like when you’re old? Whether living alone, or in the company of family, or growing old with a group of good friends, old age can have many forms.

Beijing’s 'Safest' Candidate Least Trusted in Hong Kong

Taiwanese writer Lu Ping, who served for seven years as director of the Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center, Taiwan's cultural window in Hong Kong, comments on the former British colony’s first female chief executive.

Politics & Society
Fish Depletion in the Taiwan Strait

A China-made Environmental Catastrophe

CommonWealth Magazine reporters went out on the Taiwan Strait to tell the story of the mullet trade. What they saw was the encroachment of Chinese fishing boats in Taiwanese waters and the environmental catastrophe those vessels are creating.

Politics & Society
Slow Fish

Where Does Our Fish Come From?

Taiwan is the fourth largest fish consumer in the world, however, Fisheries Statistic Yearbook shows that Taiwan’s coastal fisheries have only 160,000 metric tons of fish left now. Are Taiwan’s coastal fisheries and waters overfished?  Do we know where the fish we eat comes from?

Politics & Society
Reinventing Tertiary Education

Aiming for a Unique Profile

Dwindling student numbers, insufficient resources and global competition are forcing Taiwan’s colleges and universities to reinvent themselves or become obsolete. A unique niche with precise positioning may be the answer.

Politics & Society
Labor Law Revisions

Co-opetition Key to Labor-Management Ties

Taiwan’s largest automobile manufacturing company, Kuozui Motors, features high employee satisfaction and low turnover. It might be hard to picture workers donning headbands and staging angry protests 30 years ago, but management was open to discussions, laying a foundation of trust that endures to this day.

Politics & Society
Labor Law Revisions

Collective Agreement Expedites Labor Negotiations

Fewer than 0.1 percent of Taiwan’s corporations have a company labor union. Fubon Financial Holdings not only has a union, but the company and union have an agreement that helps the company respond better to the new labor laws.

Politics & Society
Labor Law Revisions

Our Goal: A Five-Day Workweek for Everyone

Faced with criticism over the introduction of a new workweek system under the revised Labor Standards Act, Hsieh Chien-chien, Director of Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment in the Ministry of Labor, says the aim of the amendment was to create a legal basis for a five-day workweek for all. Following are the excerpts from our interview:

Politics & Society
Labor Law Revisions

'I Got My First Real Day Off in Over 20 Years'

Lin Chih-chien, a department store counter sales lady, feels that her rights would be better protected with more government inspections.

Politics & Society
Labor Law Revisions

Responsibility System Needs Appropriate Compensation

Photojournalist Cheng Chao-wen believes that journalists should be allowed more free time to enhance their skills and be properly compensated to ‘keep the flame burning.’

Politics & Society
Labor Law Revisions

More Paid Leave Brings Greater Personal Flexibility

Software Engineer Huang Pei-en appreciates the paid annual leave that comes with the revised Labor Standards Act, but misses the seven national holidays he used to enjoy.

Politics & Society
Labor Law Revisions

Is Taiwan Out of Kilter with Reality?

Taiwan recently revised its Labor Standards Act to protect workers interests, but some see it as far too restrictive and lacking in flexibility as businesses reinvent themselves to cope with the arrival of the knowledge economy era.

Politics & Society
2017 State of the Nation Survey

Neglected Voices Hound Tsai Administration

President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration is having a hard time satisfying socie-ty’s expectations. The voices of middle-aged people, residents of remote areas, and those demanding educational reforms must be heard.

Politics & Society
2017 State of the Nation Survey

Only Common Wish: Fix the Economy

The CommonWealth Magazine 2017 State of the Nation Survey identified a major generational divide in Taiwan on a wide range of issues. There was agreement on only one point, the need for economic transformation.

Politics & Society
2017 State of the Nation Survey

Fissure Point Identified at 39 Years Old

The subtle shift in public opinion with 39 years of age as a point of demarcation reflects the reality of divides and frictions developing between the generations on issues large and small. How should Taiwan proceed in the face of this generational divide?

Politics & Society
2017 Forecast: Domestic Politics

Reform Gets Underway as Approval Plummets

In the course of its first year in office, Tsai Ing-wen’s administration has barely gotten reforms rolling, only to face ire at every turn. Yet for Tsai there is no turning back, making for a bumpy ride ahead in 2017.

Politics & Society
Gay Marriage Legalization

Factions Clash as Marriage Equality Law Tabled

Last week, as legislators reviewed the Marriage Equality Law, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Politics & Society
Battling the Spread of Illegal Factories

Taiwan’s Industrial Land Crisis

Thousands of Taiwanese factories are operating illegally on land zoned for agricultural use. In many cases, they want to become legal but have found few options for doing so, in part because of land speculation and mismanagement. Is there any hope to solve this problem?

Politics & Society
Lin Wan-i:

We Cannot Abandon Reform over Dissent

Pension reform is of vital importance as Taiwan faces the challenges of industrial transformation as well as an aged society. Can the long-overdue reform succeed this time?

Politics & Society
National Pension Reform

Taiwan on the Edge of a Precipice?

Taiwan’s rapidly aging population has made its different pension systems – especially that for public employees – unsustainable. The stakes are high as the country tackles pension reform, and we look at the possible directions the initiative might take.

Politics & Society
2016 City Happiness Survey

Taiwan’s ‘Well-Being’ Revolution

CommonWealth Magazine’s latest City Happiness Survey has found that residents’ trust in their local leader may go a lot further in promoting a sense of “well-being” than a community’s resources and infrastructure or tangible initiatives.

Politics & Society
2016 Local Leader Approval Survey

Political Shifts Point to New Leadership Trends

As the leaders of Taiwan’s 22 cities and counties near the second half of their four-year terms, their approval ratings have taken some unexpected turns. Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te lost his crown, while the chief executives of two offshore counties grabbed ranks 1 and 2, and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je came in second to last.

Politics & Society
National Chiayi University Animal Disease Diagnosis Center

Superbug Prevention Through Source Management

One-fifth of the antibiotic-resistant germs transmitted to humans come from animals or food, making farms critical firewalls against their spread. Showing farmers new concepts and know-how, the Yunnan-Chiayi-Tainan Animal Disease Diagnosis Center’s assistance encompasses pig feed, diagnosis, medicine administration, and animal health monitoring.

Politics & Society
National Yang-Ming University Hospital in Ilan

Infectious Disease Specialist Leads Fight against Superbugs

At National Yang-Ming University Hospital, physician Chang Yea-yuan has been spearheading the fight against the overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics that has led to the emergence of multidrug-resistant microbes.

Politics & Society
2015 City Happiness Survey

Restructuring Triggers Fight for People, Resources

Taiwan’s “Big Six” special municipalities have now taken shape, soaking up resources and people, and extending the gap between cities and towns. Not only improving its ranking across five categories to claim first place, Taipei displaced Taichung City as the top destination for “domestic migration.”

Politics & Society
New Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang

Taiwan’s Democratic Innovation ‘Connector’

Audrey Tang will soon become Taiwan’s youngest Cabinet minister when she starts as minister without portfolio on Oct. 1 to lead open government initiatives. Describing herself as a “connector,” she is uniquely qualified to play this role. Here’s her story.

Politics & Society
Taiwan Social Trust Survey

Judicial Reform Long Overdue

Taiwan is facing many challenges, including a shortage of trust in some key institutions. CommonWealth Magazine’s “Social Trust Survey” reveals the public’s greatest concerns and provides the new government a roadmap for change.

Full Text of President Tsai's Inaugural Address

The following is the full text of President Tsai Ing-wen's inaugural address as released by the Presidential Office:

Politics & Society
Premier-designate Lin Chuan

The Most Inside Outsider

How did Lin Chuan, the son of mainlanders who grew up in military dependents’ villages, gain President-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s trust? In a new era marked by de facto majority rule and full accountability for the DPP, what challenges await him?

Politics & Society
Parliamentary Speaker Su Jia-chyuan

A Neutral Mediator?

Majority control of Taiwan’s Legislature changed for the first time this year with the victory of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in January, opening the door to sweeping reform. Newly elected Speaker Su Jia-chyuan, a veteran DPP politician, has pledged to end the practice of closed-door negotiations.

2016 A Different Taiwan Election

The 2016 elections seem to represent a significant shift away from traditional patterns of Taiwan party politics. Cross-strait issues played a much smaller role than in the past. Moving toward a more normal left-right politics is a positive development in Taiwan politics.

Politics & Society
A “Green” Legislature

Is Reform Really in Store?

For the first time in Taiwan’s history, the country’s legislature will not be controlled by KMT-led “pan-blue” forces. People will be watching to see if the change in power will unleash reforms and lead to an era of greater efficiency and less partisanship.

Politics & Society
Congress’s Third-largest Party

Can New Power Be an Effective Watchdog?

The New Power Party, founded by social activists, has become the third-largest party in Taiwan’s Legislature. The capacity of these political neophytes to exercise oversight will soon be put to the test.

Victory Speech of Tsai Ing-wen

Full text of Tsai Ing-wen’s victory speech at international press conference.

Politics & Society
Taking the Helm of a Stagnant Taiwan

Tsai Faces Three Major Challenges

After a landslide victory, Tsai Ing-wen will become the first female president in the Chinese-speaking world. Though her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gained control of the Legislature for the first time, Tsai has a difficult job on her hands even before she takes office on May 20.

Politics & Society
James Soong :

Taiwan’s Problem Is Leadership

Taiwan will be holding its sixth direct presidential election in history on Jan. 16. People First Party Chairman James Soong has participated in four of them. He says Taiwan is facing a crisis of leadership, and he’s the right person to fill the bill.

Politics & Society
The Political Model Student

Eric Chu on a Mission Impossible

Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu has had a stellar political career. Yet in the upcoming presidential elections, he is predicted to lose to DPP challenger Tsai Ing-wen. Critics say Chu over-thought his strategy and threw his hat in the ring when it was too late.

Politics & Society
Tsai Ing-wen

Ready to Take on Cross-strait Turbulence

Nimble campaign tactics, ambiguous cross-strait discourse, and a strong Taiwanese consciousness are the hallmarks of Tsai Ing-wen’s campaign. The daughter of a successful businessman, she has overseen her party’s rebirth and seeks to renew Taiwan’s socio-political and economic structure.

Politics & Society
2016 State of the Nation Survey

Ready to Test a New President

Taiwan will soon elect a new president, and CommonWealth Magazine’s 2016 State of the Nation Survey has uncovered the priorities most on the minds of the country’s people.

The Burden of Being a Political Heir

In Chiayi County, the scions of two political families are pitched against each other. One is a political newbie, the other a seasoned street protestor, and they will have to prove that they are not puppets but able to pull a few strings themselves.

Hsiao Bi-khim Takes on Local Scion

Having lost a by-election to him five years ago by over 6,000 votes, DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is now again taking on Wang Ting-sheng (王廷升), son of a former Hualien Magistrate, for a single seat in the legislature.

Politics & Society
Legislative Yuan Elections

A Second-generation Wave

Of the 356 candidates vying for directly elected legislative seats in Taiwan’s fast-approaching elections, 63 are from political families and 40 are the children of former politicians. Will they change the face of hereditary politics in the country?

Politics & Society
Letters to the Editor: A Letter to the Future President of Taiwan

Dwiita Vita: Our Aspirations as Indonesian Migrant Workers

As a migrant worker from Indonesia, Dwiita Vita tries to gather opinions from Indonesia fellow workers at the informal(caretaker) and formal (manufacturer) sector. What are their aspirations?

Politics & Society
Taiwanese Political Outlook:

Clashing Interests, Old Party in Crisis

From cross-strait relations to the parliament and party politics, ripples will course through the political scene in Taiwan beginning on January 16, 2016. How the new leadership and citizenry respond will determine how the volatility plays out.

Politics & Society
Tsinghua University High School

Students Play Lead Role on Educational Stage

Developing apps, wearable devices or electric vehicles - what sounds like Silicon Valley startup preoccupations is everyday school life at China’s Tsinghua University High School, where high schoolers have access to the top-notch facilities and faculty of the prestigious Tsinghua University.

Politics & Society
Political Stars Take Small Step Back

2015 Local Leader Approval Survey

In CommonWealth Magazine’s survey of people in Taiwan’s 22 cities and counties, many local leaders, including those considered stars, saw their satisfaction ratings fall below expectations, but some newcomers made big jumps.

Politics & Society
'Banana Kingdom' No Longer

Taiwan's Farmers under Assault

Taiwanese consumers have gotten into the habit of buying a banana at convenience stores, but that banana may ultimately stir up nightmares for Taiwan's farmers. CommonWealth Magazine takes you behind the scenes to explain why.

Group Aims to Help Foreign Laborers

One out of every 40 people in Taiwan today is a migrant laborer from Southeast Asia. Now a "migrant workers' business school” founded by Taiwanese youths aims to help them realize their dreams.

Politics & Society
Lin Fang-yue

A 'Sweatshop Healthcare System' Won't Make Progress

While foreign media and experts heap praise on Taiwan's "utopian" 20-year-old national health insurance system, many in the island's medical profession lambast it as a "sweatshop system." A former health minister expresses strong opinions about the system's ills.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Health Care Crisis

Surgeons the New Endangered Species

When a disaster occurs in Taiwan, medical workers respond with passion. But once the adrenaline wears off, they face an even more real challenge – a flawed health insurance system – that is leading to shortages in critical medical fields.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Health Care Crisis

Queuing for Emergency Rooms

When hundreds of burn victims were recently rushed to emergency rooms after a fire catastrophe at a seaside water park, the problem of Taiwan's overcrowded emergency rooms came to the fore.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Health Care Crisis

Water Park Disaster Exposes Systemic Flaws

The huge crush of burn victims from the Formosa Fun Coast disaster has exposed long-existing problems in Taiwan's national health insurance system. Can the incident prompt reforms that make the lives of overworked medical professionals a little easier?

Politics & Society
NHI Deputy Chief Tsai Shu-ling

Lower Payments Aim to Save Public Money

Taiwan's national health insurance system is lauded as one of the world's most effective, but it faults were recently exposed after a water park disaster. National Health Insurance Administration deputy chief Tsai Shu-ling admits reforms are needed but warns that there are no perfect solutions.

Politics & Society
Stephane Corcuff

'Acquiring' Ancestors in Taiwan

Inside a cluster of decrepit wooden houses dating from the Japanese period, French scholar Stéphane Corcuff came across a wooden ancestral memorial plaque that changed his relationship with Taiwan.

Politics & Society
Watchout Cofounder Zuyi Lin

Social Activist with a low Profile

Although Zuyi Lin masterminded the Appendectomy Project, a campaign to recall underperforming lawmakers, he shies away from serving as figurehead to Taiwan's growing civic action movement.

Politics & Society
Interview with Hong Hsiu-chu

Campaigning to Reawaken Hope

Her emergence as the Kuomintang's prospective presidential candidate may have been the product of unusual circumstances, but "Little Hot Pepper" Hung Hsiu-chu is ready to wage a vigorous campaign against heavy favorite Tsai Ing-wen.

Does A Degree from Taiwan Really Worth It?

After coming to Taiwan with high expectations and studying for four years, students from across the strait find themselves asking each other, "Is it worth it?

Politics & Society
The Invisible Killer

Coping with Persistent Drought

More frequent droughts and reservoirs with shrinking capacity mean constant water shortages in Taiwan. An integrated approach outlined in a national drought management policy is needed to deal with this threat.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Diverse Families

I Call Taiwan My Second Home

Dang thi phuong lan, who is preparing to return to her native Vietnam after working for the same family for eleven years, recalls the highs and lows of her time in Taiwan, and how she came to see it as her home away from home.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Diverse Families

Finding a Haven in Close-knit Family

Lai Lixia, one of many Chinese women who have made their homes in Taiwan, has found comfort and happiness in her close-knit family even if she is not always fully accepted by others.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Diverse Families

Stan Shih: No Outsourcing Granddad's Role

In a large corporation you can make use of helpers as long as you delegate authority, but no one can take my place as a father and grandfather – there's nowhere to outsource this task.

Taiwan's Diverse Families

For many, the changing face of Taiwan's families can make family reunions over the Lunar New Year holiday difficult. But in this changing world, it may be finally time to let go of entrenched beliefs and accept people for who they are.

Politics & Society
Housing Justice

Germany: Housing Is Human Right

In Germany, real estate is an essential good. In Taiwan, it's a means to get rich and will likely stay that way as long as the cost of owning property remains negligible. Without tax reform, housing justice in Taiwan will be hard to come by.

Politics & Society
Housing Justice

Legislative Loophole Hurting Reform

Legislation was passed in 2011 to register actual real estate transaction prices in Taiwan but it was watered down in cross-party consultations. As calls for revisions mount, can a better system be devised and passed?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Unpopular Legislature

Six Questions for Wang Jin-pyng

Public support for Taiwan's Legislative Yuan is below 10 percent because of incessant partisan wrangling and the body's lack of efficiency. How much is Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to blame and what does the future hold?

Politics & Society
Jonathan Liao

Making Our Own Films

Older people swore it couldn't work, but for the team at 1987 Studio, opportunity was right there before them, and they are determined to pave a new way in filmmaking for themselves and their young peers.

Politics & Society
2015 State of the Nation Survey

China, Political Infighting on People's Minds

CommonWealth Magazine's latest State of the Nation Survey found ongoing dismay with partisan wrangling at home but decidedly mixed attitudes toward China, even in the wake of social movements portraying Beijing as a villain.

Politics & Society
Election Fallout

Five Big Challenges Await Taiwan

Taiwan's Nov. 29 local elections in the books, Taiwan is already gearing up for national elections in early 2016. In the run-up, the country's major parties will likely square off over constitutional reform and resource allocation.

Politics & Society
The KMT's Next Move

Get Close to the Grass Roots

Why stumble, if not in order to get back up? The Kuomintang cannot afford dejection or hesitation, and must recognize and learn from mistakes. From the grass roots to the party power core,, how can the loose, sluggish party machine recover its might?

Politics & Society
Legislator Tien Chiu-chin

Holding on Only Preserves Regrets

Few trials in life are more difficult than saying goodbye to a loved one. Oftentimes a prolonged illness devoid of hope for a turnaround is harder on the living than the dying, and when nature gains the upper hand, not knowing when to let go only results in lasting regret.

Die With Dignity – A Global Issue

In Japan, the term "shukatsu" – preparing for the end of life - has become a catch phrase among the elderly. In Europe and North America, "living wills" or "advance directives" are widely discussed.

Politics & Society
Confessions of a physician

Who is Weeping Silently?

A first-hand account from a doctor of how futile medical treatment can actually occur.

Politics & Society
Attitudes on Life and Medical Care Survey

Good Death or Poor Life, What Do You Choose

A CommonWealth national survey on attitudes toward end-of-life medical treatment lays bare the struggle between choosing a good way to die for oneself on the one hand and being unable to let go of family members on the other.

Politics & Society
Survey of Taiwan's Critical Care Specialists

Futile Medical Treatment Commonplace

Why do terminally ill, dying patients receive futile medical treatment that often prolongs their suffering? CommonWealth Magazine and the non-profit surveyed Taiwan's critical care specialists to get the answer.

Politics & Society
Rewriting the Final Chapter of Life

The Need to Let Go

When is it time to say goodbye to loved ones? Taiwan has grappled with the question at great expense, resulting in considerable medical futility in end-of-life care.

Politics & Society
2014 City Happiness Survey

Prosperity Not Translating into Happiness

The cities of Taipei and Hsinchu are the most competitive in Taiwan but that competitiveness did not translate into a sense of well-being, according to CommonWealth Magazine's 2014 City Happiness Survey.

Politics & Society
2014 City Happiness Survey

Is Your City Safe?

According to City Safety Index established by CommonWealth, as many as 14 of the 22 municipalities in Taiwan emerged as "high risk" places. What can their residents do to protect themselves?

Politics & Society
2014 Local Leader Approval Survey

DPP Retains Top 3, Near Half See Ratings Fall

As the year-end elections loom large in Taiwan, the chief executives of the island’s 22 cities and counties are battling to retain office, yet 40 percent have suffered a drop in their popularity. CommonWealth holds their scorecards up for readers to judge.

Politics & Society
The Kaohsiung Gas Explosions

Petrochemicals: Welcome Worn Out?

Five petrochemical industrial zones provide Greater Kaohsiung with over 10,000 jobs. With public outcry over the recent tragedy at a boil, will the city ask the industry to take a hike?

Politics & Society
The Kaohsiung Gas Explosions

The Menace of 'Hidden Giants'

The gas explosions that jolted Kaohsiung were the product of long-term neglect of public safety. They pose a series of huge challenges to governance at the central and local level that will be hard to overcome.

Politics & Society
The Cry of the Salaried Worker

Who's Looking after Me?

Squeezed between the demands of their jobs and the demands of taking care of aging parents, many middle-aged Taiwanese workers are desperate for a sound long-term care system that has yet to materialize.

Politics & Society
The 1% vs. the 99%

Taiwan's Vast Wealth Gap

Taiwan's rich-poor divide is at an all-time high, with the top 1 percent of income earners enjoying most of the gains of economic growth. The situation is unlikely to change unless Taiwan overhauls its outdated tax system.

Politics & Society
Taking Taiwan's Pulse on Nuclear Power

An Ambivalent No to Nuclear Four

Popular pressure has forced Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant to be put on hold. CommonWealth Magazine's latest survey looks more closely at what the public was thinking and if it is ready for the consequences.

Politics & Society

What's Driving the New Generation

The sight of students storming government buildings shocked many Taiwanese. Where did all these angry young people come from? To understand their outrage, we must look at Taiwan from their perspective.

Politics & Society

How Close to Collapse Is Taiwan's Democracy?

By trampling on the legislature and forcibly hindering democratically elected lawmakers from rightly exercising their constitutional authority, a minority of protesting students is doing Taiwanese democracy no favor.

Politics & Society
Anti-Services Pact Furor

What Should Taiwan Do Next?

How can Taiwan find a solution for cross-strait contacts that guarantees economic benefits, democracy and national security? Here are three steps Taiwan needs to take to rebuild the public's trust in the government.

Politics & Society
Anti-Services Pact Furor

A Chance to Deepen Taiwan's Democracy

The controversy over a trade agreement with China has engulfed Taiwanese society. Touching on political, social, generational and class fault lines, it may end up being a boon for democracy.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Youth Exodus

Why Taiwanese Are Willing to Be Foreign Workers

Why would young Taiwanese want to work in Singapore as low-skilled migrant workers? Why would they still want to go even if they are exploited and treated badly?

Hope in Taiwan

These are simply not the worst of times for Taiwan – thanks to the many people rolling up their sleeves, taking responsibility, breaking new ground, dedicating themselves, and making a difference.

Politics & Society
2014 State of the Nation Survey

Widening Wealth Gap Spawns Discontent

CommonWealth Magazine's latest State of the Nation survey found a breakdown in confidence in Taiwan's government, dismay over the country's rich-poor divide, and a desire to not be so economically dependent on China.

Politics & Society
Top 2000 CEO Survey

Mild Recovery, Rising Wages

Only 40 percent of Taiwan's top executives are optimistic about economic prospects in 2014, yet 70 percent are preparing to increase wages. CEOs nearly unanimously favor free trade agreements, but remain bearish on investment.

Politics & Society
2013 City Happiness Survey

Which Taiwanese City Would You Call Home?

Taichung has emerged as the place where most Taiwanese would like to live, pushing aside Taipei. While the capital is still seen as the island's most representative city, its glitter generates less happiness than its country cousins.

Politics & Society
2013 City Happiness Survey

Ramping Up Reading

With the bold ambition of becoming a "city of reading," Kaohsiung is pooling the resources of its 61 public libraries, making millions of books available to its schools. Throughout Taiwan, cities are raising competiveness by elevating culture, and the answer lies in books.

Politics & Society
2013 City Happiness Survey

Taipei, Jinmen Rise to the Top

The competitiveness rankings of Taiwan’s five big "special municipalities" produced few surprises, but at the "city and county" level, small island counties showed unexpected strength.

Politics & Society
2013 Local Leader Approval Survey

DPP Stands Firm, KMT Shuffles Deck

Personal scandals and unpopular strong-hand measures have caused public support to plummet for some local leaders, while innovation and effective public relations have won residents' hearts.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Young Voters

Who They Favor as the Next President

Taiwan's top five mayors stand the greatest chance of rising to political supremacy. But first they must win the enigmatic hearts of the younger generation. A new CommonWealth survey shows how they're stacking up.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Medical Brain Drain

Where Have All the Doctors Gone?

With modest compensation on home shores, more and more Taiwanese physicians are opting for lucrative careers in China's high-end hospitals, leaving Taiwan with a looming crisis.

Politics & Society
Hiwin President Enid Tsai

Assertive Leadership, Soft Touch

She is known as the top female CEO in Taiwan’s machinery industry, building Hiwin Technologies into the world’s No. 2 precision components maker without a technical background. So what skills does she bring to the table?

Politics & Society
New 'Good Cuisine' Movement

Dining Table Revolution

CommonWealth Magazine's New "Good Cuisine" Movement is off and running, calling on everyone to take the "40-mission" low-carbon diet challenge, to eat with greater value, conscience and environmental consciousness.

Politics & Society
2013 Green Living Initiative

The New 'Good Cuisine' Movement

Taiwan wastes 70 Taipei 101s of food a day, at a cost of NT$240 billion per year. But throughout society a movement is rising to eat locally, efficiently, healthily and conscientiously.

Politics & Society
AU Optronics

Eat Your Veggies, Get an iPad

When this leading display maker discovered that half its employees were overweight, it revolutionized the company dining hall, labeling each dish with an intelligent flat-panel display.

Politics & Society
Yang Ju-men

Bringing the Farm to the City

A decade ago, he set off bombs to protest the deregulation of Taiwan's rice market. Today, the "Rice Bomber" is using more peaceful methods to bring consumers closer to the soil.

Politics & Society
Education Reform

Food, the Fount of Learning

Food education is becoming the new foundation for moral and mental growth. When children appreciate what they eat, they also learn to care for others, cherish the earth and understand the value of life.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Nuclear Dilemma

Coping with Nuclear Power's Downsides

Taiwan faces considerable risks if it blocks completion of its fourth nuclear power plant. But operating the plant may pose just as many questions, judging from other countries' experiences.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Energy Dilemma

Can It Survive a Nuclear-free Future?

The uncertain fate of Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant will have major consequences for the country's energy future. Is Taiwan really ready to go nuclear-free?

Politics & Society
Jhanghua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan

Getting a Grip on Public Perceptions

Cho Po-yuan enjoys one of the highest voter support rates of any KMT mayor or county executive. As one of the new generation of KMT leaders, how is Cho getting his constituents to sense his passion for public administration?

Politics & Society
Yilan County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien

Cultivating the Good Life

What does well-being taste like? The residents of Yilan seem to know. More than 90 percent of people living there say they are happy. What has their chief executive done to make them feel so satisfied?

Politics & Society
2012 Local Leader Approval Survey

The Rise of a New Generation

Taiwan's highest public approval ratings belong to newcomers. But will they be able to meet expectations? And what do the rankings reveal about the state of Taiwan's democracy and the island's political landscape?

Politics & Society
2012 City Happiness Survey

Does Competitive Equal Happy?

What places in Taiwan are mostly likely to foster the greatest sense of well-being? CommonWealth Magazine's latest survey of happiness throughout Taiwan's cities and counties reveals that living the good life has little to do with material standards.

Politics & Society
Guey Lin Elementary School

A Heaping Helping of Healthful Greens

When other schools are promoting just one veggie day a week, this grade school in rural Yunlin County has already made it four, and inspired the whole community to focus on healthy living.

Politics & Society
Happiness Index Survey

Seeking Taiwan's Happiness Equation

In the first survey of its kind, CommonWealth Magazine ponders five key metrics measuring the well-being of Taiwanese society.

Politics & Society
How to Become More Competitive:

Embrace Happiness

How can Taiwan survive in a competitive world market and enable its citizens to find satisfaction with their lives? The answer is: Change, on both the national and personal level.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's War on Drugs

The New Weapon – Care

Taiwan's government has waged a battle against illicit drugs for almost 20 years now, but it has little to show for its efforts. What needs to be done to win the crusade against drugs?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Offshore Island of Siao Liouciou

Underwater Cleanup Brigade

With coral reefs in peril, along with the fish they support, this little island's tourism industry operators have taken a very hands-on approach to the problem of underwater trash.

Politics & Society
In Focus: U.S. Senator Max Baucus

The 'Commander-in-chief of U.S. Beef'

He jets around the globe, prying the world's markets open for American beef, and numerous heads of state pay him heed. Who is this "commander-in-chief of U.S. beef" at the center of the maelstrom enveloping Taiwan?

Politics & Society
Food Safety

Beefsteak Confidential

Avian Flu, Leanness Enhancing Drugs – Taiwan is erupting with food scandals, and current controls seem incapable of stemming the tide. Who actually is responsible for the meat that ends up on Taiwanese plates?

Politics & Society
Beefsteak Confidential

The Guardians of Food Safety Speak Out

Three top officials are in charge of Taiwan's food safety. As the public becomes increasingly alarmed at the chemicals present in the food they eat, what actions are these officials taking?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's New Cabinet

Experience Seasoned with a Bit of Zest

Taiwan's new cabinet is a mix of conservative technocrats and potential loose cannons. Can this lineup deliver the "people's economy" it has promised?

Politics & Society
2012 Presidential Election

Ma Re-elected, Faces Huge Challenges

Stability trumped change in Taiwan's presidential election, but President Ma Ying-jeou will need to push in four key areas to be successful over the next four years.

Politics & Society
Four Little Dragons – Taiwan

Model Student, Back of the Class

In Taiwan salaries have hit rock bottom, and economic transformation has stalled. But while it is taking up the rear in the march of the Four Little Dragons, Taiwan remains Asia's champion in terms of diversity, freedom and democracy.

Politics & Society
2011 Top 1000 CEO Survey

Bracing for Bad News in 2012

While mostly pessimistic about the coming year, Taiwan's top executives strongly back President Ma Ying-jeou's policies on China and the economy. Yet a divergence of viewpoints exists between CEOs and the general public.

Politics & Society
Survey of Taiwanese Teens

Survey of Taiwanese Teens

CommonWealth Magazine's civic education survey found that Taiwan's Internet-savvy teens strongly support equal rights but have confused core values that could complicate a push toward "digital citizenship."

Politics & Society
2011 CommonWealth Happiness Survey

Making Wellness Prevail

Some cities with the conditions most conducive to well-being give their mayors mediocre ratings, while those in less favorable areas are the most content. What do local leaders need to do to achieve a hike in happiness?

Politics & Society
2011 Local Leader Approval Survey

Big Names See Their Stars Fall

Just having a recognizable name no longer guarantees political popularity. As this year's Local Leader Approval Survey reveals, the secret to success is balancing the public's aspirations with sustainable local development.

Politics & Society
DPP Presidential Candidate Tsai Ing-wen

New Platform Stirs Things Up

Having recently unveiled her Ten-Year Platform, Tsai Ing-wen is determined to show she's leading a different kind of presidential race. Will she really be able to change Taiwan's future?

Politics & Society
Indigenous Entrepreneur Lin Yi-bei

Owl Magic Reshapes a Community

Returning to Sun Moon Lake to start a business, Lin Yi-bei never expected her little owls to make such a mark on her community. Her inspiring story shows that people can choose their own path in life.

Politics & Society
Beautiful Formosa

Taking a Different Road

Traveling the length of gently curving Provincial Highway No. 1, CommonWealth Magazine witnesses the rising vitality of grassroots Taiwan, and discovers seven traits that enable countless Taiwanese to prevail.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Food Scare

When Will the Government Get in Gear?

Three years ago, the Control Yuan submitted proposals to reform Taiwan's food safety oversight system, but as the recent DEHP scandal shows, the government failed to act. Who is to be held accountable?

Politics & Society
Occupational Safety Sea Change

Local Leader Takes on Petrochem Giant

After four major fires, Yunlin County magistrate Su Chih-Fen has axed operations at the Formosa Plastics Group's sixth naphtha cracker. As Taiwan begins to take occupational safety seriously, can the petrochemical industry survive?

Politics & Society
Personal Stress Relief

Take a Deep Breath – And Be Healthy

Psychosomatic disorders wrought by the pressure of modern life have become our biggest enemy. What can you do to resuscitate your stressed-out mind and body?

Politics & Society
Employee Well-being

De-stressing the Workplace

Responding to the headlines about employee protests, suicides and deaths from overwork, some proactive Taiwanese enterprises have gotten the message that the well-being of workers is crucial for company health.

The 'Ant Tribe' of Taiwan

Soaring housing prices have squeezed even average income earners out of the market and forced them to crowd into tiny apartments like ants. What can be done to ease their predicament?

Politics & Society
New Hope for the Ant Tribe?

Social Housing Gets in Gear

In Taipei real estate prices have gone through the roof. But now several new social housing projects are to be built to give Taiwan's "ant tribe" an affordable place to live. What are the possible pitfalls?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Health System

Four Thorny Issues for the New Health Minister

Taiwan's new health minister Wen-ta Chiu faces a task both daunting and urgent: reforming the problem-ridden public health care system. Four big issues are particularly pressing.

Politics & Society
Rising Consumer Confidence

Taiwan's Robust Rebound

Taiwan's businesses were the first to feel the economic recovery. Now, it is being felt in the labor market, with higher wages spurring rising consumer confidence.

Politics & Society
Government 'Buying News'

Taiwanese Democracy Short-sheeted

Across the political field in Taiwan, government agencies are paying news organizations to embed favorable stories in the guise of independent reporting. Is this what a democratic society looks like?

The Grand Families of Taiwan

Connected through marriage, Taiwan's ten richest clans have accumulated more than NT$6 trillion, about one quarter of the Taiex's market value. But how do their machinations affect ordinary people's lives?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Post-election Reality

Both Parties Face Tough Challenges

Mayoral elections in Taiwan's five new special municipalities in late November produced mixed results, with neither major party gaining a decisive edge. In the run-up to 2012 presidential elections, both sides must deal with thorny issues.

Politics & Society
Taiwan Wants More than a Pretty GDP

2010 Happiness Survey

What makes a city’s residents happy? The issues people care about are not luxury housing or impressive statistics, but a sustainable environment, a fulfilling job and a good place to live.

Politics & Society
Elections for Taiwan's ‘Five Municipalities'

Who Can Deliver Happiness?

In a series of exclusive interviews, the candidates for mayor of Taipei City, Xinbei City and Kaohsiung City present their plans for governance after the reshuffling of Taiwan's administrative districts.

Politics & Society
2010 Local Leader Approval Survey

A Sea Change in Voter Sentiment

This year Taiwanese citizens are ready for change. Approval of local chief executives from the opposition party has risen, while ruling party approval is on the skids. Why is Taiwan’s "blue camp" singing the blues across the island?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Municipal Upgrades

Winners and Losers

Some are greeting Taiwan's new districting system with joy, others with pessimism. How can Taiwan's five new top-tier cities truly leap onto the international stage? And how can Taiwan narrow the gap between city and countryside?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Revised Personal Data Protection Act

The Age of Information Liability Begins

When they take effect next year, strict new stipulations will put virtually everyone in Taiwan at risk of unknowingly breaching the Personal Data Protection Act, with possible fines of up to NT$200 million.

Politics & Society
One Taichung, Two Worlds

Who Profits from Perpetual Urban Development?

In stark contrast to the opulence of Taichung's newly developed Zone Seven, the city's dilapidated and empty central district is like another world. The alliance of government and commerce has become a zero-risk game of wealth redistribution.

Politics & Society
Green Consumer Behavior Survey

Taiwanese Embrace a Green Premium

Environmental consciousness is higher than ever among the Taiwanese public, particularly women, middle-aged and older consumers. Precisely where on Taiwan do the green business opportunities abound?

Politics & Society
Grab, Hold, Speculate

What's Fueling Taiwan's Land Price Explosion

What kinds of policies encourage developers to sit on land and speculate with impunity, causing real estate prices to soar? Why has Taiwan become a land speculator's paradise?

Politics & Society
Real Estate Rage

Our Land, Their Luxury Homes

In Taipei salaries are stagnant, but housing prices soar, lifted ever higher by the luxury real estate market. What can be done to restrain rampant property speculation and defuse mounting anger?

Politics & Society
Tax System Controversy

Taiwan: 'Island of Inequity'?

Taiwan's finances are in their worst shape in a decade, yet the government continues to push tax cuts as a way to prosperity, angering the overburdened middle class.

Politics & Society
Statute for Industrial Innovation

A Lose-Lose Proposition?

Taiwan's new Statute for Industrial Innovation slashes Taiwan's corporate income tax rate to the lowest level worldwide. But these tax cuts will blow a gaping hole in state finances, due to lost tax revenues of at least NT$138 billion.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Shrinking Population

The 1.5 Million Baby Challenge

Taiwan has the lowest birthrate in the world, and an aging population. At least 1.5 million births are needed in the coming five years to boost the birthrate. Who is going to have these 1.5 million babies? And who can afford them?

Politics & Society
Survey of Taiwan's Land Resources

'River of Life' Lost

Southern Taiwan's landscape has undergone a shocking transformation since being pummeled by Typhoon Morakot last August. What has happened to the land of Taiwan?

Life-changing Gifts

The right gift at the right time can help forge closer personal relationships, smoothen business ties, and even change a person's life. How can we choose gifts that adequately convey our intentions and also please the recipient?

Politics & Society
2010 State of the Nation Survey

Income Gap on People's Minds

After a tumultuous 2009, what do Taiwan's people think about the state of affairs in their country? CommonWealth Magazine found many remain worried about the rich-poor divide and overdependence on China.

Politics & Society
Global Warming

The Great Food Exodus

Fish are shunning their traditional waters, bees are disappearing, grain prices are soaring... Climate change is profoundly impacting the global food chain, and Taiwan has no special exemption.

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Trade Strategy

The Dangers of ECFA Obsession

Taiwan once saw the world as the United States, but now all it sees is China, and forging a cross-strait economic agreement is the entirety of its current trade policy. Could Taiwan become another Hong Kong?

Politics & Society
Flawed Economic Indicator?

GDP's Three Big Blind Spots

Taiwan's work ethic has underpinned strong GDP growth, but life hasn't gotten much better for ordinary Taiwanese people in the past decade. What is it that this major economic indicator is not telling us?

Politics & Society
Kaohsiung City

From Soot and Smoke to the Sweet Life

How does a city of heavy industry seize the nation’s top environmental ranking? Kaohsiung's revolution in urban aesthetic began 'on the river.'

Politics & Society
Penghu County

An Ambitious Gamble

Penghu Island, long a popular destination for local travelers, has set its sights on loftier goals – attracting well-healed international tourists with five-star resort hotels and casinos. But can Penghu realize its grand designs?

Politics & Society
2009 Happiness Survey

The Ascent of the City

In 2009, city and county chiefs face pressure to perform, and urban areas claim a higher quality of life than their country counterparts. In this year’s Happiness Survey, which localities have risen, and which are on the slide?

Politics & Society
Survey on Cross-strait Relations

Three out of Four Taiwanese Have Sinophobia

How does Taiwan's public really feel about the thaw in cross-strait relations? A CommonWealth Magazine survey uncovers widespread anxiety the current government can ill afford to ignore.

Politics & Society
Cross-strait Relations

Should Taiwan Fear the Dragon?

China's influence is growing pervasive, and more than 70 percent of Taiwanese people are worried that further exchanges will compromise Taiwan's sovereignty. What is the source of this fear, and how should it be confronted?

Politics & Society
Typhoon Morakot Disaster

The Warning from Buried Siaolin

CommonWealth Magazine investigates why Taiwan's national land policies have been stymied and why authorities have sat on the sidelines as the problem festers.

Politics & Society
Social Media

The Might of Online Communities

The explosive growth of online social networks and the rise of microblogging tools like Twitter and Plurk signal a new marketing revolution that challenges conventional advertising.

Politics & Society
Minister of Justice Shih Mao-lin:

For the Law-abiding, Why Worry?

In this exclusive interview, Taiwan?s Minister of Justice talks frankly about the rising tide of corporate corruption and fraud, and the spate of investigations it has engendered.

Politics & Society

Water Worries – What Can Be Done?

Prior to Typhoon Morakot, Taiwan's agricultural land was bone dry. But the gods overcompensated with a massive deluge. What can the agricultural sector do to survive such extreme climatic variations?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Economic Miracle

State Capitalism Drives Innovation

Taiwan's economic miracle turned an agricultural backwater into a world powerhouse. Can today's officials show as much resolve as the engineers of that miracle in revitalizing Taiwanese industry?

Politics & Society
Taiwan's Public Health Miracle

From Infested Island to Health Heavyweight

Once seen as a disease-ridden tropical island, Taiwan won international kudos for eradicating malaria and other parasitic infections. And its national health insurance system has ushered in a new age of "fair, universal" public health.

Politics & Society
An Enlightened Transition

Chiang Ching-kuo's Crucial 200 Days

Under his leadership, authoritarian rule reached a crescendo, and also came to an end. Over a 200-day period in 1986, Chiang Ching-kuo permitted an organized opposition to form and set the stage for Taiwan's democracy.

Politics & Society
Beyond the Commotion

Taiwanese Democracy: What Lies Ahead?

Over the past 60 years, Taiwan has managed to form a vibrant, yet fragile, democracy. Beset with carnival-style electioneering and pork-barrel politics, where is Taiwan, the Chinese-speaking world's laboratory for democracy, headed?

Politics & Society
Ma Ying-jeou vs. Tsai Ing-wen

Opposing Visions for Taiwan's Future

Though similar in many ways, the chairpersons of Taiwan's two major parties differ markedly in their views of what's best for Taiwan. CommonWealth Magazine compares the two leaders head-to-head.

Politics & Society
Administrative Redistricting

The Rush to Change the Face of Taiwan

The controversial move to turn some of Taiwan's local governments into special municipalities has left many wondering if its benefits will outweigh the costs.

Penghu Rolls the Dice on Its Own Future

Will the construction of a gambling casino on Penghu really vault these beautiful islands into the international arena? Hard-up Penghu islanders may pass a referendum on gaming, but regulation will be the key to whether it takes off.

Politics & Society
The Age of Precarious Employment

Temp Work - Trap, or Springboard?

Taiwan has a temporary workforce 150,000-strong, bouncing between short-term positions. How can temps protect their rights? And how can they avoid sliding into a lifetime of odd-jobbing?

Politics & Society
The Age of Precarious Employment

Jobless Return to the Countryside

More and more Taiwanese who have lost their city jobs are returning to their hometowns in the countryside, ready to sweep streets or perform at local temples for meager pay. Will these unfortunate returnees be able to make a new start?