Episode 5

Tsai Ing-wen Re-election: The China Factor and Taiwanese Identity

Released January 18, 2020

Last week, Taiwan re-elected its president, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), by a landslide. Her campaign focused heavily on what she claims is “the rising threat from Beijing”. Since the election, she has said that China needs to “face reality” and show Taiwan “respect”. This, and the sheer scale of her victory, might well suggest that cross-strait relations are about to enter a renewed rocky period. But is it quite that simple? Joining us this episode to put these fresh election results into context is George Yin of Swarthmore College in Philadelphia and Harvard Fairbank Centre for Chinese Studies. George is part of a team that recently undertook a large-scale survey delving into Taiwanese attitudes toward identity, politics and cross-strait relations.

George Yin

George Yin is a Dickey Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy and International Security at Dartmouth College and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Political Science department at Swarthmore College. His work integrates rationalist and psychological approaches to study the ideational drivers of conflict. His research has received support from the Tobin Project, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, among others. His policy writings have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, and The Washington Post/Monkey Cage, among others. He holds a B.A. in political science and economics from Swarthmore, a M.Sc. in political economy from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.