Myth and Reality in Taiwan’s Democratisation

J. Bruce Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Taiwan began democratisation in 1988 after the death of President Chiang Ching-kuo. However, even three decades later, a substantial number of Western scholars still argue that Chiang established democracy in Taiwan. This article demonstrates that Chiang Ching-kuo did not establish democracy. The article also examines related issues such as whether there are differences between “liberalisation” and democratisation and whether or not the regime of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo was colonial. Thirty years after democratisation in Taiwan, too many scholars still follow the false history that the former dictatorship mandated, but now, under democracy, scholars should have a much better understanding of Taiwan’s history and politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-177
Number of pages14
JournalAsian Studies Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Chiang Ching-kuo
  • colonialism
  • Democracy/democratisation
  • dictatorship
  • liberalisation
  • Taiwanisation

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