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Taiwan - between democracy and fear of China | DW Documentary

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Taiwan and China are engaged in a bout of saber rattling that could lead to war. This documentary shows why the Taiwanese don’t want to be seen as Chinese: their open, democratic society stands in contrast to that of totalitarian China.

Taiwan has had to endure foreign rule by European, Chinese and Japanese colonial powers - as well as occupying powers and the dictatorship of Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek. Modern Taiwan has emerged from this painful past as an open and dynamic society - one that stands in total contrast to that of totalitarian China.

Since 1987, Taiwan has forged its own impressive path and evolved into a robust democracy that grants its people full political participation and observes human rights and freedom of expression. Since 1996, the president has been directly elected by the people to serve a four-year term. That president is responsible for appointing the prime minister. Taiwanese politics is dominated by two parties: the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The next presidential elections are scheduled for 2024.

With a political system that’s seen the democratic transfer of power several times, an empowered civil society that observes the rights of ethnic minorities and the LGBTQI community, and an economy based on cutting-edge technologies like the indispensable microchip, the island has many trump cards up its sleeve. But will they be enough to preserve Taiwan’s political autonomy and unique identity?

Against the current backdrop of Chinese saber rattling, the documentary provides insights into Taiwanese society and history; it also explains why the Taiwanese don’t see themselves as Chinese.

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