Where I Go: The Headlands of Yehliu

It Took Me 20 Years and Five Visits to Develop My Own Relationship to Taiwan

I was hiking the Port Orford Heads State Park on the coast of Southern Oregon this summer when I realized how closely the rock formations and coastline resemble the rugged geology of my parents’ native Taiwan. These similarities brought back memories of my trips to the country, and made me miss my friends and family overseas. By June, lacking enough shots for its 24 million citizens, the country, once seen as a COVID success story, was forced to institute lockdowns and close public spaces. Due to the pandemic and the …

The Secret to Making Democracy More Civil and Less Polarized | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Secret to Making Democracy More Civil and Less Polarized

When Citizens Get to Decide Big Questions for Themselves, They Act More Responsibly Than Their Politicians

“When you take responsibility away from people you make them irresponsible,” proclaimed English politician Sir Keith Joseph almost half a century ago.

Sir Keith might not be a household name …

For Global Democracy, These Are the Worst of Times, But Also the Best of Times | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

For Global Democracy, These Are the Worst of Times, but Also the Best of Times

A Rising Tide of Authoritarianism Co-Exists With Advancing Forms of Participatory and Direct Democracy

Right now, it can feel like the worst of times for democracy. It also can feel like the best of times.

Democracy is under stress around the world from authoritarians and …

How Taiwan’s High Speed Trains Expose California’s Lack of Nerve | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Taiwan’s High-Speed Trains Expose California’s Lack of Nerve

While the Golden State Made Excuses, the Poorer, Smaller Island Country Transformed Its National Transit System

When it comes to fast trains, a California consensus has hardened: High-speed rail is beyond our capabilities.

We may be the world’s high-tech capital, but we say that high-speed rail …

Why Democracies Need the Right to Vote “No”

To Boost Participation and Promote Compromise, Taiwan and Berkeley May Let Citizens Cast Ballots Against Candidates

If we want our civic life to be more positive, we might need to vote in the negative.

That’s the compelling case that Sam Chang, a retired banker who lives in …

Why Taiwan Would Be Better Off Neutral

A Citizen of Switzerland and Sweden Argues That a Stance of Non-Aggression Can Protect Small, Vulnerable Democracies

How can Taiwan best defend its democracy from the explicit threats of mainland China—and the security machinations of great powers in the Pacific?

Neutrality might be the answer.

I was born and …