1st Edition

Taiwan's Green Parties Alternative Politics in Taiwan

By Dafydd Fell Copyright 2021
    306 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Examining the Green Party Taiwan (GPT) since its establishment through the aftermath of the most recent national elections in January 2020, this book focuses on Taiwan’s most important movement party over the last two and a half decades. Despite its limited electoral impact, its leaders have played a critical role in a range of social movements, including anti-nuclear and LGBT rights campaigns.

    Plotting the party’s evolution in electoral politics as well as its engagement with the global green movement, this volume analyses key patterns of party change in electoral campaign appeals, organisation and its human face. The second half of the volume concentrates on explaining both the party’s electoral impact and why the party has adjusted ideologically and organisationally over time. Based on a wide range of material collected, including focus groups, interviews and political communication data, the research relies heavily on analysis of campaign material and the voices of party activists and also considers other Green Parties, such as the splinter Trees Party and GPT-Social Democratic Alliance.

    Applying a wide range of theoretical frameworks to plot and explain small party development, this book will appeal both to students and scholars of Taiwan’s politics and civil society but also to readers with an interest in small parties and particularly environmental parties and movements.

    Part I. Introduction, Research Questions and Formation

    1. Taiwan’s Green Parties: Alternative politics in Taiwan

    2. Frameworks and Data for Analysing Taiwan’s Green Parties

    3. Beautiful accidents: The formation of Taiwan’s Green Parties

    Part II. The Changing Impact and Human Face of the Green Parties

    4. The Impact of the Green Parties in Taiwan: Elections, Media and the International

    5. Who are the Green Parties? Leaders, Candidates and Supporters

    Part III. The First Decade: 1996-2005

    6. The GPT’s First Election in 1996: Professor Kao Catching Missiles

    7. Almost breaking through in 1998: Is it OK to frequent sexual nightclubs?

    8. Understanding the GPT’s quiet period: 1999-2005

    Part IV. The Pan Han-sheng era: 2006-2012

    9. Returning to elections between 2006 and 2009: The Wish of the Ladybird, Red-Green Alliance and Treetop Protest

    10. The Struggle to become a Relevant Party: The 2010 and 2012 campaigns

    Part V. The Lee Ken-cheng era 2013-2016

    11. Reforms and the Local Breakthroughs and Setbacks of 2014: Unfinished Progress

    12. The 2016 GPT SDP Alliance’s failed national breakthrough: The Lunchboxes and Teenage Idol election

    Part VI. The Wang Hau-yu era: 2016-2020

    13. A new model of local election campaigning in 2018: Winning or Selling its Soul?

    14. The Teng Hui-wen or Wang Hau-yu GPT campaigns in 2020

    Part VII. Conclusion

    15. Conclusion: The aftermath, rebranding, returning to research questions and practical lessons.


    Dafydd Fell is Reader in Comparative Politics with special reference to Taiwan at SOAS University of London. He is also the Director of the SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies. His first publication was Party Politics in Taiwan (Routledge, 2005), which analysed party change in the first 15 years of multi-party competition. He also authored Government and Politics in Taiwan (Rouledge, 2011) and co-edited Migration to and from Taiwan (Routledge, 2013); Social Movements in Taiwan under Ma Ying-jeou was published in 2017. His most recent co-edited book was Taiwan Studies Revisited, published in 2019.

    Dafydd Fell's recent academic monograph, Taiwan's Green Parties: Alternative Politics in Taiwan, is not to be missed for those who are interested in or who study party politics in Taiwan. Drawing on close to a decade of research and observation, the book details the ebbs and flows, as well as the transformations, experienced by the Green Party in Taiwan since its founding. The book also focuses on the Social Democratic Party and Trees Party as Green Parties.

    Brian Hioe, New Bloom Magazine

    This study on Taiwan’s Green Party not only provides an exhaustive analysis of its rocky 25-year history, but also gives a face to its passionate, idealistic members who carry on despite minimal electoral success.

    Taipei Times

    Applying a wide range of theoretical frameworks to plot and explain small party development, this book will appeal both to students and scholars of Taiwan’s politics and civil society but also to readers with an interest in small parties and particularly environmental parties and movements.

    Li-Ping Chen, New Books Network

    Fell offers a number of reasons why TGP is worth studying, including the rise of Greens globally. This piece of scholarship is the first book-length study on an Asian green party. Moreover it studies a party that has a unique role due to Taiwan's international isolation. Alongside the party's electoral ups and downs, Fell also tracks their global engagement and contributions to Taiwan's increasingly important civil society-led public diplomacy.

    Gray Sargeant, American Journal of Chinese Studies

    Based on a solid ethnography of green party candidates in Taiwan over a decade, this book offers an in-depth analysis that contributes - beyond the case of Taiwan - to research on green politics and movement parties challenging mainstream parties.

    Paul Jobin, Party Politics

    There is never a dull moment in Taiwan’s party politics, but it is a rare gift to our area of study that a new book manages to bottle the excitement felt by party politics scholars studying a contested state like Taiwan. Dafydd Fell’s new book, Taiwan’s Green Parties: Alternative Politics in Taiwan, manages this feat.

    Lev Nachman, International Journal of Taiwan Studies

    Fell argues that ‘at a time when China is attempting to squeeze Taiwan’s international space at every possible opportunity, the Green’s global activism represents an important component of Taiwan’s civil society-led public diplomacy’. Readers interested in Taiwanese politics should read this book, and anyone who wants to better appreciate the vital role smaller parties perform in a democracy.

    Cara Camcastle, Environmental Politics

    The study offers a vital contribution to expanding research on politics and society in Taiwan to extend beyond questions of identity politics vis-a-vis China or the influence of cross-Strait relations, although Fell does touch on these issues where relevant. By drawing on the GPT’s engagement in regional and international green parties and other activist social movements, Fell presents a view of politics and social movements on Taiwan as they relate to broader issues within the Asia-Pacific Region and the world.

    Alessandra Ferrer, China Information