The Transnational Protection Regime and Taiwan's Democratization

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Journal of East Asian Studies

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On September 28, 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party was formed in defiance of restrictions set by a decades-old authoritarian regime, heralding the emergence of a fully competitive multiparty electoral system in Taiwan. Existing literature on Taiwan's democratic breakthrough suggests that international factors have played a significant role in bringing about democracy on the island. But what exactly were these external factors and how have they effected political change in Taiwan? A reexamination of the changing geopolitical and normative environments surrounding Taiwan suggests that they were crucial in shaping political development on the island in ways that have not been described in the literature. This article examines how the geopolitical and international normative environment enabled myriad external substate and nonstate actors to form a transnational “protection regime” around the political opposition, preserving the democratic movement and allowing it to reach its full mobilizational potential in time.


Version of record can be found through Journal of East Asian Studies.