A Taiwan where politics is cool

Foreign Policy
18 March 2015

One way young activists have attempted to raise themselves above the partisan fray is by looking to the past for inspiration. According to Ian Rowen, a fellow at the non-profit Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Taiwan’s youth have lionized past political figures that have contributed to the public good without attaining elected office, including democracy activists like Cheng Nan-rong and Su Beng — the former self-immolated in protest of martial law. Su, now 97 years old, is a former Marxist revolutionary turn outspoken historian of Taiwanese identity, and the subject of a recently released documentary. Posters for the film have become near-ubiquitous on the walls and windows of some coffee shops and bookstores around Taiwan. “Ten years no one knew about these people, but now they’re everywhere,” said Rowen.

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