Fieldwork in Taiwan, China and France
This research investigates the emergence of so-called “Chinese” capitalism and the cross-strait socio-political transformation brought about by Mainland China’s rise to economic prominence in the world at the turn of the twenty-first century. I focused particularly on Taiwanese transnational enterprises investment into Mainland China, the business operation across the strait, as well as the emergence of new consumer culture and “Chinese” identity politics. I use “Chinese” not to refer to a people or location “inside China” in its territorially bounded sense, but to a broader refashioned identity constructed through global interaction.
The fieldwork was conducted in Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing and Paris, covering a variety of companies and factories ranging from high)tech manufacturer to high-end luxury fashion house. What struck me most, unexpectedly, were the divergent forces that I witnessed: Taiwanese businessmen seeking survival in expanding their business to Mainland China against the global economic downturn, while college students in Taiwan striving for democracy that they were afraid of losing in a closer cross-strait economic relationship, a counter-force best exemplified in Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement in March-April 2014 and from which Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement was regarded to learn experiences six months later.
From top right:
At the backstage of Paris Fashion Week held at the Grand Palais, French models and stylists were preparing for the upcoming show featuring a Taiwanese fashion house, while a majority of the media outlets and guests were from mainland China.
Donated goods were piled up outside of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, showing the Public’s support to students who occupied the parliament building as well as protesters who sat outside of the building for weeks.
While Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan (the Taiwanese Parliament) had been occupied by student protesters and the surrounding streets full of thousands of supports, the police guarded its front gate in prevention of any further break-in.