Family Law and Politics in the Oriental Empire: Colonial Governance and Its Discourses in Japan-Ruled Taiwan (1895-1945)
- Yun-Ru Chen
This article challenges the common misconception that in Japan-colonized Taiwan, family law was considered marginal and secondary in the arena of legal reforms. Instead, through multi-faceted analysis of family laws, customs, and politics, the article argues that family law intertwined with politics in various ways. Examples are found in internal discussions among Japanese scholars, political advisors, officials, and jurists, on wide ranging topics from colonial policies and legal structures to, more specifically, whether Taiwanese family customs or Japanese family law should apply to Taiwanese. Moreover, family law served as an essential tool not only for cultural assimilation, but also on legal aspects such as the very definition of who were Japanese/Taiwanese. The importance of family law is also reflected in the fact that on one hand, family law was viewed as the last bastion for special colonial legislation, and on the other deemed a crucial step for racial integration by assimilationists. Moreover, the intertwining of family law and politics were not localized to substantial matter, but also rhetoric. The ambiguity of the Japanese colonialism being a “nation-empire” or “oriental colonialism” made it possible for Japanese to retain a fluidity in its rhetoric based on both similarity and difference at the same time. There were interconnections between rhetoric modes on “factual question” (such as “close vs. far” and “similar vs. different”) and normative decision (such as “assimilation vs. special rule” and “Japanese family law vs. Taiwanese customs”). Overall, the reason why Japanese colonial rule left Taiwanese family matters in the customary law regime for the entire colonial time was not that it was mere an afterthought. On the contrary, family law was too relevant to change.
John Rawls on Civil Disobedience: The Enbryo and Mature Development
- Hung-Ju Chen
In A Theory of Justice John Rawls the famous political philosopher in the 20th century devotes almost 30 pages to civil disobedience and conscientious refusal. Rarely discussed is a short article published two years before A Theory of Justice named The Justification of Civil Disobedience. Comparing these two texts contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of Rawls’s theory. The differences or changes between the two texts have been out of sight and ignorance about the previous text hinders the main function of civil disobedience in Rawls’s theory, that is, the communicative function. The purpose of this article is to give those two texts a close reading, find how Rawls evolves his arguments, demonstrate the essential function of disobedience in Rawls’s theory, and explicate implications. Through reading those two texts we can understand how the principle of nonviolence becomes essential to civil disobedience and why Rawls relaxes some justificatory requirements to initiate disobedience but meanwhile he finds the potentiality of disobedience to de-stabilize the basic structure of society.
Follow the Money: The Buck Stops Where?: A Historical Analysis of Transparency and Campaign Finance Law in Taiwan (1935-2004)
- Po-Liang Chen
The Taiwanese legislature enacted the Political Donation Act 2004 (PDA), adopting U.S. and Japanese campaign finance law models. Nonetheless, the legislative efforts seemed slight. This paper argues it is because the Taiwanese legislature of 2004 underestimated two main factors of the campaign finance market: the value of transparency and the pre-existing electoral clientelism. This paper adopts a historical institutionalism approach to analyze the evolution of electoral clientelism and its interaction with campaign finance law before the enactment of PDA in four eras: the Japanese colonial rule era (1935-1945), the transition from the Japanese colonial rule era to the ROC era (1945-1949), the authoritarian era (1949-1991), and the democratic era (1991-2004). From 1895, Japan established a colonial regime in Taiwan. The Government-General of Taiwan (GGT) held elections in 1935. In order to control the electoral outcome, the GGT enacted strict election laws and lenient campaign finance rules, and enforced them arbitrarily to form a coalition leaning to the GGT via exchange of interests. As a result, the GGT controlled the majority. The election of 1935 marks the beginning of elections in Taiwan, as well as the beginnings of electoral clientelism. After WWII, the Republic of China (ROC) began to rule Taiwan. In order to enhance its legitimacy, the ROC and its ruling party, KMT, suspended elections at the central government level but opened the local assembly elections under the SNTV. In the absence of effective campaign finance laws, the partisan enforcement granted the KMT an advantage over the opposition. As a result, the KMT established a mutual reliance alliance with local factions and controlled the majority in each level of local congress; and electoral clientelism took root in Taiwanese society. With the end of the temporary provisions, the ROC reopened elections at all levels in 1991. Given the rise of electoral competitiveness, the electoral clientelism rose. In response to the people’s outrage, the PDA, a milestone in campaign finance law, was ultimately enacted in 2004. Nonetheless, under the shadow of authoritarian rule and electoral clientelism, the scope of public disclosure was limited; and the effects of PDA have been slight. This study argues that openly recognizing the value of transparency and expanding the scope of financial disclosure could suppress electoral clientelism and lay the bedrock of a clean government.