By J. Michael Cole
Lengthy earlier than the student-led Sunflower flow stormed the legislature in Taipei on March 18, 2014, sparking the main critical political obstacle in Taiwan’s sleek historical past, journalist J. Michael Cole was once chronicling the increase of civic activism during this younger democracy and caution us of the arriving issues. during this long-awaited choice of essays, the writer takes us to the guts of this notable recrudescence of activism and exhibits that there has been not anything ‘spontaneous’ in regards to the Sunflower circulate. With on-site observations and detailed entry to the protagonists, Black Island brings you to the frontlines of civil unrest—the police shields, pro-Beijing gangsters, sufferers of injustice, callous govt officers and the idealists who're combating back—and explains why the increase of civil society will swap the face of politics in Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait for years yet to come.
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Additional resources for Black Island: Two Years of Activism in Taiwan
A small black dog - his name was Black Dragon - joined us. Black Dragon has many friends, Mr. Huang told me, referring to the students and activists who often came to provide help. It was a good thing that Ketty, my partner, had accompanied me, as with the exception of Mr. Huang, aIl the others residents spoke Taiwanese, and Mr. Huang's Mandarin had a thick Taiwanese accent. l knew enough words, and enough of the context of our discussion, to understand sorne of what our hosts were talking about, but the nuance, the essence of their story, was lost on me, and so Ketty filled the gaps.
Soon afterwards, two large police buses arrive d, and the order was given for police to take the protesters away. Law enforcement officers were also ordered to create a ring around the protesters to keep journalists and photographers at bay. 1 circled around the scene as activists were forcefull y shoved into the buses, frustrated at my inability to take good pictures - a feeling that was shared among most photographers at the scene, who loudly voiced their complaints (this would happen again and again over the next year).
Furthermore, the mobilization, with support from a number of academics, is engendering essential public debate on issues that otherwise would likely be ignored. Even more important is the fact that the protests are action, not the empty talk we are usually served by politicians from both sides of the political divide. And those actions are, in turn, prompting reactions. Occasionally, those reactions are overreactions, such as the targeting of young students like Chen Wei-ting by Mr. Tsai' s media empire and government authorities, or, as occurred thisweek, in the Miaoli County Police Department' s handling of the protests over a controversialwind turbine project in Yuanli Township.