"Civil Society, Democracy and Nationhood: What Can We Learn from the Scottish Referendum, Taiwan Sunflower and Hong Kong Umbrella Movements?"

"Civil Society, Democracy and Nationhood: What Can We Learn from the Scottish Referendum, Taiwan Sunflower and Hong Kong Umbrella Movements?"

Sunday, 12 October 2014 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Venue: 
Pavilion Room, Fourth Floor, Gateway Building, St. Antony's College
Speaker(s): 
Dr. Jamie Allinson (Westminister University)
Dr. Liu Xin (University of Sussex)
Convenor: 
Feng-yi Chu
Series: 
Taiwan Studies Seminar Series

Discussant

Dr. Jamie Allinson: Lecturer in International Relations, Westminster University; specialising in Historical Sociology, International Relations theory and Political Economy.
Dr. Liu Xin: Associate Tutor in International Relations, University of Sussex, whose expertise lies in Historical sociology in International Relations and Chinese foreign policy.

Introduction

In March 2014, a group of academics, students and civilians climbed into the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, in objection to Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang’s (KMT) untransparent procedure of the passing of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement. Protesters occupied the Legislative Yuan and the surrounding streets for a month, until the government agreed to postpone the agreement.

On 18 September 2014, a referendum on Scottish independence was held. It was the first time in 300 years that the possibility of separation was discussed after the Acts of Union, passed by the parliaments of Scotland and England that created the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Despite losing the referendum by 45% to 55%, with more than 2 million Scots voting against independence, there was a remarkable surge in support for the yes movement’s political parties, which has in turn emboldened campaigners.

On 28 September 2014, large scale protests broke out in Hong Kong. A part of them were initiated by university students and the Occupy Central Movement, a civil disobedience campaign that intends to pressure the Chinese government into granting an

electoral system that “satisf[ies] the international standards in relation to universal suffrage” in the Hong Kong Chief Executive election in 2017, as promised according to the city’s mini-constitution. More demonstrations took place in reaction to the force used by the Hong Kong police in the following days. Up until now, there has been no real progress in the negotiation between the Hong Kong government and the tens of thousands of protesters on the streets.

What do these three events share in common, and what can we learn from their experiences? The Taiwan Studies Programme of St Antony’s College and Oxford University Hong Kong Society invite all those interested to freely share your views on this.