Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

Research at PESD

The Taiwan Democracy Project

CDDRL Program

Larry Diamond - Stanford University
Kharis Templeman - Program Manager

Taiwan has undergone a peaceful transition to democracy over a period of more than a decade. Today, Taiwan is one of the freest and most vibrant democracies in Asia. Nevertheless, Taiwan's democracy still faces steep internal and external challenges. Some of these are common to many emerging and established democracies in Asia and globally, including widespread popular dissatisfaction with elected leaders and corruption of public officials. Others are unique to the island’s ambiguous status in international affairs and its complicated relationship with the authoritarian People’s Republic of China.

Initiated in 2005, the Democracy in Taiwan Project is sponsored by the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, with generous support from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco. The project sponsors a variety of activities examining democratic political and social change and the regional and international challenges confronting democracy in Taiwan, including the problem of cross-Strait relations.

The principal elements of the project are as follows:

▪    Annual Symposium on Taiwan Democracy: Each year the project organizes at least one public symposium addressing some of the challenges confronting Taiwan's democratic development, in comparative perspective. The most recent symposium, held in October 2013, brought together a range of scholars and policy-makers to examine Taiwan’s future development strategy in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations.

▪    Seminar Series: The project holds lectures and seminars by Taiwanese public officials, intellectuals, and scholars, and by U.S.-based scholars of Taiwan and of cross-strait relations. Previous speakers have addressed a wide range of topics, including: Taiwan's democracy and cross-strait relations, Taiwan's foreign policy and quest for international space, Taiwan's constitutional reforms, Taiwan's 2012 presidential and legislative elections, development of Taiwan's judicial politics, and the cross-strait economic relationship.

▪    Visiting Scholars: The project hosts occasional visiting scholars who are researching and writing about various aspects of the Taiwan's democratic development.

▪    Taiwan Democracy Resources Archive: The project also serves as a clearinghouse for online resources about Taiwan. These include links to academic databases, journals, Chinese-language library portals, news sites, government agencies, political parties, and policy institutes. In addition, the project maintains connections with a global network of Taiwan Studies programs, fostering interaction and collaboration among scholars, policy-makers, and students interested in aspects of Taiwan’s democracy.     

Updated: Dec 2013