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Making Waves: Taiwan’s Presidential Election 2024

October 25, 2023

Join the Taiwan Studies Program in-person or online as three speakers, Kharis Templeman (Hoover Institution, Stanford), David Bachman (UW), and Ellen Chang (UW) discuss the 2024 elections and Wave Makers on Wednesday, November 1 from 5-6:30pm PT in HUB 340.

In January 2024, Taiwan will elect a new president and legislature. This election offers a potentially historic four-way race between the two party heavyweights, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Kuomintang (KMT), joined by the relatively new Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) and an independent candidate. As tensions are running high between Taipei and Beijing as well as Beijing and Washington, the implications of this election can reverberate across the Taiwan Strait and Pacific. What are the stakes of the 2024 elections, and what are the potential consequences for Taiwan’s domestic and foreign policies?

The 2024 elections follow the hit Taiwanese Netflix show, Wave Makers, earlier this year. Wave Makers portrays a fictional presidential election in Taiwan, offering audiences a glimpse into not just electoral politics but also hot button issues of environmentalism, social justice, and gender equality. After allegations of sexual crimes emerged that mirrored the fictional events in Wave Makers, the show was credited with sparking Taiwan’s MeToo movement. How does Wave Makers affect Taiwanese society’s relationship with elections? What are the broader implications of popular media portrayals of Taiwanese politics?

View the recording below:


Kharis Templeman is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and part of the Project on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region, as well as a lecturer at the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University. A political scientist by training, he writes and speaks frequently about cross-Strait relations and Taiwan politics and policy issues. Dr. Templeman holds a B.A. (2003) from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. (2012) in political science from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Templeman has edited three book volumes: Taiwan’s Democracy Challenged: The Chen Shui-bian Years and Dynamics of Democracy in Taiwan: The Ma Ying-jeou Years (both with Larry Diamond and Yun-han Chu), and Electoral Malpractice in Asia: Bending the Rules (with Netina Tan). His other research has been published in Comparative Political Studies, Ethnopolitics, Journal of Democracy, International Journal of Taiwan Studies, and Taiwan Journal of Democracy, along with several book chapters. He has also written articles on Taiwan policy issues for the Brookings Institution, Atlantic Council, Foreign Affairs, Taiwan Insight, War on the Rocks, and The Diplomat.

David Bachman is a Professor at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He was chair of the China Studies Program from 1992-2003 and Associate Director of the Jackson School from 2000-2001 and 2003-2010. He has returned as the Associate Director of JSIS since July 2022. His research and teaching interests address Chinese Domestic and Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, Asian Politics, International Relations, and U.S. – China Relations.

Ellen Chang is Director of Arts and Culture at the Taiwan Studies Program at the University of Washington and a Ph.D. Candidate in Cinema & Media Studies. As a simultaneous film scholar and art curator/practitioner, her research examines the transactional encounter among contemporary Taiwanese video art/installation, cinema, and popular culture as processes of aesthetic decolonization. Her recent work on sound and audio walks explores more engaged, sensitive, and practical understandings of how audiovisual art reflects (re-)occurring themes of everyday politics across international geographies.


James Lin is a historian of Taiwan and its interactions with the world in the 20th century. His research examines international agrarian development, beginning with rural reform and agricultural science in China and Taiwan from the early 20th century through the postwar era, then its subsequent re-imagining during Taiwanese development missions to Africa, Asia, and Latin America from the 1950s onward.