A self-ruled democracy China claims as its own, Taiwan is up against a formidable campaign from Beijing.

How did Taiwan transition to democracy? 
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. When Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui died at 97 on July 30, politicians around the world sent their condolences.  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Lee was crucial in transforming Taiwan into a “beacon of democracy.” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Lee had brought Taiwan “freedom, democracy, human rights and other universal values.” In mainland China, however, the tone was critical. The reporting of Lee’s passing was condemnatory, because he was regarded by the mainland government as promoting independence for the self-ruled island. T
Longing to travel? These Taiwan airlines offer to take you to nowhere
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to make travel abroad difficult, two Taiwanese airlines are offering those itching to fly a rare opportunity to take off – and return to where they come from. Next weekend, an EVA Air A330 will take off from Taoyuan International Airport, fly over the northeast cape, circle Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and head home again via Taiwan’s southeast coast. “There will not be a stopover in Japan,” a spokesperson said. The brief weekend getaway – the flight will last two hours and 45 minutes – is an example of airlines’ attempt to keep their business afloat as the virus has wiped out the majority of international flights. Globally, airlines could lose more than $345 bi
Taiwan offers fake flights for people who miss flying
You can check in but you can never leave, at least for now, from Taiwan’s Songshan Airport. The terminal in Taipei offered “fake” flights on July 2, 2020, to satisfy passengers hungry for a chance to travel as they wait for Covid-19 pandemic restrictions to be lifted. Thousands of people applied for “tickets to nowhere” that offered about 60 lucky passengers a chance to go through check-in procedures and board a plane that never left the ground.
Taiwan’s controversial Chiang Kai-shek statues
Statues depicting Taiwan’s former leader Chiang Kai-shek continue to generate controversy. Chiang fled to Taiwan after his Nationalist troops lost a civil war on the Chinese mainland to Communist forces in 1949. While some revere him for his anti-communist stance, others recall Chiang’s brutal imposition of martial law and purge of thousands of opponents. More than 70 years later, there is intense debate about Chiang’s legacy, as statues are being removed under a law meant to address issues of the island’s authoritarian past.   
‘I will never go back’: the Hong Kong protesters hiding in Taiwan
One of about 200 Hong Kong protesters believed to have left for Taiwan after social unrest erupted last year, Jack Chan (whose name has been changed at his request) has no idea what the future holds. Chan, in his 20s, headed to Taiwan after Hong Kong police started looking for him regarding his involvement in a serious offense during the city’s anti-government protests. Sitting in the Taipei flat he shares with seven other Hongkongers, all participants in the protests, he declined to say what he did, but admitted he supported violent means because peaceful protests had proven futile. “I want to tell my family that I am sorry for all the trouble I have brought them. They never scolded me, but
Taiwan opposition leader suffers another rebuff
The defeated candidate in this year’s Taiwanese presidential election has suffered another electoral rebuff after an unprecedented recall election. Han Kuo-yu was removed as mayor of the city of Kaohsiung on Saturday after more than 900,000 eligible voters backed his removal. Han was reported to have been Beijing’s favored candidate during the presidential campaign. Some analysts said his ouster was a reflection of the growing resentment on the self-ruled island toward Beijing. Han was the first Taiwanese official ever to be removed in this way. It marked a stunning reversal from his landslide election victory in Kaohsiung 18 months ago, as he rode a wave of popularity that took him to the
US blasts ‘spiteful’ decision to freeze Taiwan out of WHO
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has slammed the “spiteful” rejection of Taiwan’s bid to attend the World Health Organization’s annual meeting as an observer despite its success in tackling Covid-19. Beijing has insisted that Taiwan, a self-ruled island democracy that it claims as its own territory, be excluded from the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body. It added that the previous inclusion of Taiwan should not count as a precedent, as the current Taiwanese government no longer recognized the one-China principle (under which both Taipei and Beijing agree there is only one China, but differ on how it is interpreted). “The United States condemns Taiwan’s exclusion from th
Pro-Trump ad mistakes Taiwanese airline for China’s
The latest pro-Trump TV ads aim to depict the leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as being a friend of China’s – except they get “China” wrong at one point.  The ad campaign, funded by America First Action, a super PAC supporting President Donald Trump’s re-election, accuses Biden of supporting China’s rise at the expense of Americans. "Travel Ban." pic.twitter.com/mmPrj6FbIS — America First Ads (@AmericaFirstAds) May 1, 2020 In one part of the advertisement, the narrator claims that Biden “failed to support the China travel ban to stop the coronavirus,” while a China Airlines plane is shown taking off next to a darkened picture of the former vice president. China Airlines, h
Coronavirus patients are most contagious early on, study says
Most transmission of Covid-19 occurs at the very early stage of the disease or before the onset of symptoms, a study based on Taiwan’s contact tracing system has found. The research looked at the outcomes for 2,761 close contacts linked to Taiwan’s 100 confirmed cases of the disease, caused by a new coronavirus, up to March 18. Only 22 of those contacts were found to have contracted Covid-19, and all of them caught the disease from people who had not yet reached their sixth day of illness or had not even started to show symptoms. The findings – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine on Friday – come as countries around the world are looking to