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‘Stand Up Like a Taiwanese!’ with CHONG Ja Ian

credit @ millenius

April 23, 2023

On Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. PT, UCLA’s Asia Pacific Center and UW’s Taiwan Studies Program welcomed CHONG Ja Ian to discuss his new work, ‘Stand up Like a Taiwanese!’. 

Taiwan’s opposition to PRC demands such as acceptance of the ‘92 Consensus’ and ‘One Country, Two Systems’ formula since 2016 has invited a series of retaliatory measures from Beijing, designed to coerce Taiwan into compliance. Given the stark asymmetry in economic size, military capability, and diplomatic status, Taiwan provides a case for studying coercive diplomacy that takes the form of threats to punish. Material differences suggest that Taiwan should capitulate, and ‘cheap talk’ theses expect PRC threats to have no discernible effect, while balance of threat arguments expect resolve. Chong argues that the popular support for resisting China rises as PRC coercion grows and Taiwanese citizens increasingly perceive China to be a threat. His research finds that citizens in a liberal democracy can develop the will to pushback against pressure from an authoritarian regime despite sharp asymmetries in capabilities and material limitations. Over time, the PRC has to decide how much it wishes to bear the growing costs and risks of escalation to overcome resistance.

CHONG Ja Ian (莊嘉穎) is associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore. His research covers security, coercive diplomacy, foreign intervention, and external influence with a focus on Southeast and Northeast Asia. He also works on Chinese foreign policy, US-China relations, and Taiwan politics. Chong is also a Non-Resident Scholar with Carnegie China.