IIR and the Development of China Studies in Taiwan



Panel 4:

Think Tanks, IIR, and Disciplinary Development of Social Sciences

Chair: Dr. I Yuan (IIR)

Panelists: Chien-Wen Kou (National Chengchi Univ.) Simon Shen (Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong)

John Wong (East Asian Institute, National Univ. of Singapore) Discussant: Paul Evans (Univ. of British Columbia)


IIR and the Development of China

Studies in Taiwan:

Trajectories and Dynamics

Chien-wen Kou

Department of Political Science & Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies

In the past six decades, Taiwan’s China studies have undergone a gradual shift from a focus on policy analysis and political indoctrination to one that is centered on scholarly research with policy analyses as its secondary aim. During this process, the role of the IIR has moved from a government think tank, monopolizing China studies jointly with other state-dominated research units and serving the top brass, to a competitor for academic achievement and policy influence in a pluralistic aca-demic and political market. This paper will examine this marked transition across three dimensions: the IIR’s relationship with the state, the educational backgrounds of research fellows, and the edito-rial policy of major IIR journals. This paper argues that the dynamics of such a transformation come from generational replacements of scholars on the one hand, and the amelioration of cross-Taiwan Strait relations and political and educational developments in Taiwan on the other.

Keywords: the Institute of International Relations, communist rebel studies, Chinese communist

studies, and contemporary China studies


Periodical assessments of the study of an academic field are crucial to the further progress of the field. Since the mid-1990s, several assessments have been made of the state of contemporary China studies in different countries, from North America and Europe to East Asia.1 These apprais-1 David Shambaugh ed., American Studies of Contemporary China (Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press,

1993); Avery Goldstein, “Trends in the Study of Political Elites and Institutions in the PRC,” China Quarterly, no. 139 (September 1994), pp. 714-730; Lucien Bianco, “French Studies of Contemporary China,” China Quarterly, no. 142 (June 1995), pp. 509-520; Mark Sidel, “The Re-emergence of China Studies in Vietnam,” China Quarterly, no. 142 (June 1995), pp. 521-540; Graham E. Johnson, “The True Strong: Contemporary Chinese Studies in Canada,’

China Quarterly, no. 143 (September 1995), pp. 851-866; Lowell Dittmer, “Approaches to the Study of Chinese

Politics,” Issues & Studies, vol. 32, no. 9 (September 1996), pp. 1-18; Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard, “Contemporary China Studies in Scandinavia,” China Quarterly, no. 147 (September 1996), pp. 938-961; Robert Ash, David Shambaugh and Seiichiro Takagi eds., China Watching: Perspectives from Europe, Japan and the United States (New York, NY: Routledge, 2007); Jae Ho Chung, “Studies of Contemporary Chinese Politics in Korea: An Assessment,” China

Quar-terly, no. 194 (June 2008), pp. 395-413; Allen Carlson, Mary E. Gallagher, Kenneth Lieberthal and Melanie Manion, Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies (New York, NY: Cambridge University


als help us in understanding research focuses and debates, trends in approaches, methods and data sources, changes in academic manpower and resource allocations, and the dynamics of changes in the China studies field in different regions or countries throughout the world.

Owing to the needs of national security and politico-economic development, there has al-ways been strong demand for China studies in Taiwan. Nevertheless, the development of Tai-wan’s China studies has rarely been evaluated in the existing literature, particularly in the English-language literature.2 By illustrating the role of the Institute of International Relations (IIR), which has been a key research institute for mainland China studies and international relations in Taiwan since its establishment in 1953, this paper sketches the historical trajectory of this field in Taiwan and identifies the dynamics of its evolution.3

Using generational replacement of scholars and major political and academic events as cri-teria, this paper divides the development of China studies in Taiwan into three stages: communist rebel studies (匪情研究) (early 1950s to mid-1980s), Chinese communist studies (中共研究) (mid-1980s to late 1990s), and contemporary China studies (當代中國研究) (late 1990s to pres-ent). Changes in scholarly generations usually lead to a shift in the research paradigm of a field in terms of research mission, research focus, methods and data sources, and standards of perfor-mance evaluation, thereby serving as good demarcation points. Political and academic events are also important to the definition of developmental stages because they may trigger or accelerate the process of paradigm shift. Of course, these divisions are relative rather than definitive, owing to

Press, 2010); Melanie Manion, “Using All Tools in Our Toolbox? The Study of Chinese Politics by Western Schol-ars,” the Keio Annual Symposium on Contemporary Chinese Politics, Center for Contemporary Chinese Studies, Keio University, Tokyo, December 15, 2012; Jing Vivian Zhan, “Studying Chinese Politics in Hong Kong: Resources, Methodologies and Prospects,” the Keio Annual Symposium on Contemporary Chinese Politics, Center for Contem-porary Chinese Studies, Keio University, Tokyo, December 15, 2012.

2 The author found only one work in English addressing this topic and four in Chinese. See Tai-chun Kuo and Ramon

Myers, Understanding Communist China: Communist China Studies in the United States and the Republic of China,

1949-1978 (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, 1986); Kai-huang Yang (楊開煌), “Taiwan

‘Zhongguo dalu yanjiu’ zhi huigu yu qianzhan,” (台灣「中國大陸研究」之回顧與前瞻, Retrospects and prospects of mainland China studies in Taiwan) in Si-Yin He (何思因) and Yu-shan Wu (吳玉山) eds., Mairu ershiyi shiji de

zhengzhixue (邁入廿一世紀的政治學, Political Science in the 21st century) (Taipei: Zhongguo zhengzhi xuehui,

2000), pp. 527-551; Jieh-min Wu (吳介民), Chih-jou Chen (陳志柔) and Ming-chi Chen (陳明祺), “Kua haixia xin shehui yanjiu: Taiwan zhi Zhongguo yanjiu dianfan gengxin yu xinxing lingyu,” (跨海峽新社會研究:台灣之中國 研究典範更新與新興領域, New social research across the Taiwan Strait: paradigm renewals and burgeoning fields in China studies in Taiwan) Dangdai Zhongguo yanjiu tongxun (當代中國研究通訊), no. 9, (January 2008), pp. 12-33; Hong-yuan Chang (張弘遠) and Tsung-yi Lee (李宗義), “’Zhongguo yanjiu’ zai Taiwan: yanjiu tizhi de fazhan yu bianqian,” (「中國研究」在台灣:研究體制的發展與變遷, China studies in Taiwan: the developments and changes of research institution), in Chih-yu Shih (石之瑜) ed., Cong linmo dao fansi: Woguo shehui kexue boshi dui

oumei zhishi yu tizhi de huiying (從臨摹到反思:我國社會科學博士對歐美知識與體制的回應, From imitation to

introspection: reflections of Taiwanese doctors of philosophy in social sciences to academic knowledge and institu-tion from Europe and America) (Taipei: hanlu, 2005), pp. 251-282; Hsin-hsien Wang (王信賢), “Taiwan Zhongguo zhengzhi yanjiu de xipu: fangfalun yu yiti fenxi,” (台灣中國政治研究的系譜:方法論與議題分析, The pedigree of mainland China studies in Taiwan: an analysis of methods and issues) the Keio Annual Symposium on Contemporary Chinese Politics: In Search of New Research Strategies with Japanese Characteristics, Center for Contemporary Chi-nese Studies, Keio University, Tokyo, December 15, 2012.

3 The Chinese name of the IIR was Guoji guanxi yanjiuhui (國際關係研究會, English name unavailable) when it was

founded in April 1953. This name was changed to Zhonghua minguo guoji guanxi yanjiusuo (中華民國國際關係研 究所, the Institute of International Relations of the Republic of China) in 1961. The Institute was then renamed Guoji

guanxi yanjiu zhongxin (國際關係研究中心, the Institute of International Relations) when it was linked to National

Chengchi University in July 1975. To facilitate discussion, this article will hereby refer to this institution by its cur-rent name, the Institute of International Relations.


the gradual and interweaving replacement of scholarly generations, as well as the continuous na-ture of changes in the political and academic climate.

In the past six decades, Taiwan’s China studies have undergone a gradual shift from a focus on policy analysis and political indoctrination to one that is centered on scholarly research with policy analysis as its secondary aim. During this process, the role of the IIR has moved from a government think tank, monopolizing information about mainland China jointly with other state-dominated research units and serving the top brass, to a competitor for academic achievement and policy influence in a pluralistic academic and political market. This paper will examine this tran-sition across three dimensions: the IIR’s relationship with the state, the educational backgrounds of research fellows, and the editorial policy of major IIR journals. This paper argues that the dynamics of such a transformation come from generational replacements of scholars on the one hand, and the amelioration of cross-Taiwan Strait relations and political and educational develop-ments in Taiwan on the other.

This paper is composed of three sections. The first section focuses on the communist rebel studies stage, the second illustrates the Chinese communist studies stage, and the last section focuses on the contemporary China studies stage. The main features of each stage of Taiwan’s China studies, the role of the IIR in each stage, and the external and internal dynamics leading to paradigm shift and the evolution of the IIR will be presented in each section.

IIR as a Key Government Think Tank:

from the Early 1950s to mid-1980s

During the communist rebel studies period, the primary attribute of China studies in Taiwan was its classification as official knowledge. The China studies field was tasked with the policy needs of “combating the communist rebels” (對匪鬥爭), enemy situation analysis and domestic political indoctrination, in contrast to the academic research of today.4 Guided by these policy needs, research themes during this period were primarily centered on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) political elites and other political issues, though they also touched on economics, culture and education, communist theory, CCP history, and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).5

In this period, only specific state agencies were authorized to read documents and informa-tion from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and to perform policy research on issues relevant to this information, while ordinary citizens were prohibited to do so. These agencies included the National Security Bureau, the Investigation Bureau, the Military Intelligence Bureau, and the Sec-ond Division of the Central Committee of the Kuomintang (KMT) (中國國民黨中央委員會第二 組), which was renamed the Department of Mainland China Affairs (大陸工作會) in 1972.

The China studies scholars of this period were usually referred to as communist rebel affairs experts (匪情專家). The majority were either defected CCP cadres or KMT and government of-ficials who had been engaged in the fight against the communists long before 1949.6 These spe-4 Kai-huang Yang, “Taiwan ‘Zhongguo dalu yanjiu’zhi huigu yu qianzhan,” pp. 531-534.

5 Tai-chun Kuo and Ramon Myers, Understanding Communist China, p. 82; Kai-huang Yang, “Taiwan ‘Zhongguo dalu

yanjiu’zhi huigu yu qianzhan,” p. 531.

6 For example, the former group included Warren Kuo (郭華倫), Yao Meng-xuan (姚孟軒), Liu Mao-nan (劉懋枬) and

others, Some of the latter group were Li Tian-min (李天民), Zhaqi Siqin (札奇斯欽), Yin Qing-yao (尹慶耀) and Zhu Wen-lin (朱文琳). “Introduction to our division,” (本所簡介), the webpage of the Chinese Politics Division of


cialists usually worked in the four state agencies mentioned above.7 Though lacking training in social science methodology, they were experienced practicians, and were relatively successful in correctly understanding and predicting events in mainland China.8 In terms of research methods, China studies experts in this period read intelligence reports, notes from interviews with mainland refugees, official documents and other mainland China publications (such as periodicals, news reports, radio broadcasts and pictures), observation notes from those who visited China, and infor-mation from other countries.9

The policy-oriented nature of China studies in this period also led to distribution restrictions on China studies publications. The analyses of these experts were rarely publicly circulated in the 1950s.10 Beginning in the 1960s, some of their analyses became available in periodicals focusing on issues related to mainland China or comparative communism, such as Zhongguo dalu yuekan (中 國大陸月刊, Mainland China Monthly), Feiqing yanjiu (匪情研究, Studies on Chinese Commu-nists), Wenti yu yanjiu (問題與研究, Issues & Studies, Chinese version), Issues & Studies, Feiqing

yuebao (匪情月報, Chinese Communist Affairs Monthly), and Gongdang wenti yanjiu (共黨問

題研究, Studies in Communism). These periodicals were all either directly or indirectly affiliated with the ruling KMT or government intelligence agencies. Moreover, these periodicals did not call for manuscripts until the 1960s, with publication of manuscripts from non-IIR affiliated aca-demia only regularly emerging after the late 1980s.11 Because their existence in this period was based on policy analysis, articles published in these periodicals did not go through the anonymous peer review process until the 1990s.

The IIR is a typical example of the policy-oriented nature of China studies in this period. First of all, the IIR was closely linked to the state and was indebted to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) for its foundation and growth during its first 35 years of life. The

the IIR, http://iir.nccu.edu.tw/chinapolitics/introduction.htm.

7 For instance Warren Kuo, Yao Meng-xuan (姚孟軒), Zeng Yong-xian (曾永賢), and Wang Zhang-ling (王章陵) came

from the Investigation Bureau; Xiang Nai-guang (項迺光), Xuan Mo (玄默) (formal name She Yan-miao (佘延苗)), and Zhang Zhen-bang (張鎮邦) were from the Military Intelligence Bureau. See Yong-xian Zeng (曾永賢), dicta-tion, Cong zuo dao you liushi nian: Zeng Yong-xian xiansheng fangtanlu (從左到右六十年:曾永賢先生訪談錄, 60 years from left to right: recorded interviews with Mr. Zeng Yong-xian) (Taipei: Academia Historica, 2009), pp. 104-107, 131, 190-191; Ming-yi Wang (王銘義), Bu queding de haixia: dang Zhonghua Minguo pengshang Zhonghua

Renmin Gongheguo (不確定的海峽:當中華民國碰上中華人民共和國, Strait of uncertainty: when the Republic

of China encounters the People’s Republic of China) (Taipei: Shibao wenhua gongsi, 1992), p. 58; Oral interview with Zhang-ling Wang (王章陵), the Research and Education Center for China Studies And Cross Taiwan-Strait Rela-tions, Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University, September 2009, http://politics.ntu.edu.tw/RAEC/ comm2/InterviewTWang.doc.

8 Tai-chun Kuo and Ramon Myers, Understanding Communist China, pp. 64-83.

9 Warren Kuo (郭華倫), Zhonggong wenti lunji, (中共問題論集, CCP issues collectanea) enlarged edition (Taipei:

Institute for International Relations, 1982), pp. 391, 394-395; Tai-chun Kuo and Ramon Myers, Understanding

Com-munist China, p. 6

10 The IIR published Wenti yu yanjiu in April 1956 and Feiqing yuebao in January 1958. The former remained closed

circulation journal until October 1961 (vol. 1, no. 1, reassigned serial numbers); the latter began allowing foreign subscriptions in February 1966 (vol. 9, no. 1) and officially announced public distribution in July 1988 (vol. 31, no. 1). See “History,” (歷史沿革) IIR website, ttp://iir.nccu.edu.tw/index.php?include=aboutus&mode=history; Hui-lin Liu, “Lun ‘Zhonggong yanjiu’ de tujing ji zhongxi zai yanjiushang de fenqi,” (論「中共研究」的途徑及中西在研究上 的分歧, On the approaches of ‘CCP studies’ and the divergence in research methods between the West and the East)

Dongya jikan (東亞季刊, East Asia Quarterly), vol. 7, no. 4 (April 1976), pp. 53-54.

11 This is the author’s observational conclusion after examining the various versions of the call-for-manuscripts notices


IIR was under the direct command of Chiang Ching-kuo when it was established in April 1953. It became the Policy Research Office (政策研究室) of the National Security Bureau after the foun-dation of the Bureau in 1955.12 Due to the hierarchical relationship between the two units, the IIR needed to acquire the latter’s approval before carrying out its major decisions and activities.13 The main function of the IIR was to provide the government, particularly the two Chiang presi-dents (Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo), current event analyses and policy suggestions about mainland China and international politics, as well as to promote international information exchanges about the PRC.14 In January 1966 the IIR began to play the role of information supply center, providing American scholars with PRC official documents, sometimes from intelligence sources, after translation into English.15

In 1968, under the authorization of Chiang Kai-shek, the IIR collaborated with National Chengchi University (NCCU) (國立政治大學) to found the Graduate Institute of East Asian Stud-ies (GIEAS) (東亞研究所), the first graduate institute in Taiwan focusing on mainland China af-fairs, in order to nurture a younger generation of scholars on China studies.16 The IIR supported GIEAS by providing course instructors, funds and other logistic support services, resulting in a natural linkage with the National Security Bureau, just as was the case with the IIR.17 The IIR also annually recruited several GIEAS alumni as research fellows until the early 1990s.18

In July 1975, the IIR became nominally under the jurisdiction of NCCU but in reality oper-ated independently of the university. This change in affiliation was probably at the suggestion of 12 Anonymous author (佚名), “Taiwan zhengyao de yangchengsuo: jiekai ‘guoguan zhongxin’ de shenmi miansha (1),”

(台灣政要的養成所──揭開「國關中心」的神秘面紗 (上), A training ground for government dignitaries in Tai-wan: lifting the mysterious veil of the Institute of International Relations), Zhongwai zazhi (中外雜誌), vol. 52, no. 4 (October 1992), p. 112.

13 For example, the IIR’s decision to publicly distribute Wenti yu yanjiu in October 1961 obtained the approval of the

head of the National Security Bureau in September of that year and received budget support from the bureau within the limit of NT$ 25,000.

14 The IIR Third Division self-assessment report of the 2002 academic year (91學年度第三所自我評鑑手冊), Third

Division, IIR, National Chengchi University (2002), p. 1.

15 “History,” (歷史沿革) IIR website, ttp://iir.nccu.edu.tw/index.php?include=aboutus&mode=history; Dongyang

Zheng (鄭東陽), “Kuomintang zhongyang dangxiao jinxi,” (國民黨中央黨校今昔, Past and present of the Kuomint-ang Central Party School), Xinhua ao bao (新華澳報), unkown date, http://www.waou.com.mo/detail.asp?id=41970; Hui-lin Liu, “Lun ‘Zhonggong yanjiu’ de tujing ji zhongxi zai yanjiushang de fenqi,” p. 54; Tai-chun Kuo and Ra-mon Myers, Understanding Communist China, p. 9.

16 Dongyang Zheng, “Kuomintang zhongyang dangxiao jinxi,” GIEAS offered a master’s degree program in 1968 with

a primary focus on training talents in CCP theory, international communist movements, and mainland China issues. It opened a Ph.D. program in 1981.

17 GIEAS therefore had many more resources than the other departments and graduate institutes in NCCU, such as free

transportation for faculty members, and article honorarium for Dongya jikan, GIEAS’s official journal. Anonymous author, “Taiwan zhengyao de yangchengsuo (1),” p. 112; “Zhang Huan-qing jiaoshou koushu lishi shougao,” (張煥 卿教授口述歷史手稿, Manuscript of Huan-qing Zhang’s oral history) the Research and Education Center for China Studies And Cross Taiwan-Strait Relations, Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University, October-December 2008, http://raec.igd.tw/act/tw-9.doc; “Rui He-zheng Zhongguo yanjiu jingyan koushu lishi fangtan jilu,” (芮和蒸中國研究經驗口述歷史訪談紀錄, Minutes from an interview with He-zheng Rui on his China studies ex-periences), the Research and Education Center for China Studies And Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations, Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University, October 2008, http://raec.igd.tw/act/tw-15.doc. A typical example to illustrate the interweaving relationship between the IIR and GIEAS is Wu Jun-cai (吳俊才). He was director of the IIR from 1964 to 1972 while concurrently serving as the founding director of GIEAS from 1968 to 1972.


Chiang Ching-kuo.19 The IIR continued to receive funds from the National Security Bureau and engage in joint research with the other intelligence-related agencies in the government, the mili-tary, and the KMT.20 The IIR maintained close ties with the National Security Bureau until its full amalgamation into NCCU in 1996.

In the second half of this period, dramatic changes in international circumstances shook Taiwan’s international status as the only legal government of China and thereby gradually un-dermined the communist rebel studies research paradigm, which emphasized “anti-communism must prevail, tyranny must die” (反共必勝,暴政必亡). These challenges included Taiwan’s withdrawal from the United Nations in 1971, Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in 1978, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the US and China in 1979, and China’s new policy toward Taiwan in 1979, which called for “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems” (和平統一,一國兩制). In order to extend Taiwan’s international influence and improve civilian understanding of the CCP’s political propaganda, Taiwan’s China studies began to move towards more public transparency. Beginning in the 1970s, the IIR eagerly strengthened academic ex-changes and collaborations with think tanks and research institutes in the US, Japan, South Korea, and Europe, holding bilateral annual conferences with these countries.21 Meanwhile, beginning in the mid-1970s, IIR research fellows supplied instructors for mainland China studies courses at National Taiwan University, NCCU and three other universities in order to strengthen “ideological education” and “knowing the enemy.” 22

The research paradigm of communist rebel studies faced more challenges after the 1970s. Starting in the early 1970s, facing questions from local and foreign scholars, leading experts of communist rebel studies began to illustrate their research methods in order to defend the results of their research on the PRC.23 Many American China studies scholars, who usually had strong social science backgrounds and maintained a value-free attitude in their research, viewed the analyses done by these communist rebel specialists as suspect, partly due to their usage of emo-tive and negaemo-tive anti-communist terms to describe the CCP and its leaders and partly due to their lack of social science research methods.24 In response, Warren Kou (郭華倫), a leading expert on 19 Qi-bo Lin (林奇伯), “Cong muhou xiance dao duoyuan fasheng: Taiwan zhiku baihua qifang,” (從幕後獻策到多元

發聲:台灣智庫百花齊放, From providing policy suggestions behind the scene to plural voices: the pluralization of think tanks in Taiwan) Taiwan guanghua zazhi (台灣光華雜誌), p. 3, http://www.taiwan-panorama.com/show_issue. php?id=200249104006c.txt&cur_page=3&table=1&distype=&h1=&h2=&search=&height=&type=&scope=&order =&keyword=&lstPage=&num=&year=2002&month=04.

20 Anonymous author (佚名), “Taiwan zhengyao de yangchengsuo: jiekai ‘guoguan zhongxin’ de shenmi miansha (2),”

(台灣政要的養成所──揭開「國關中心」的神秘面紗 (下), A training ground for government dignitaries in Tai-wan: lifting the mysterious veil of the Institute of International Relations), Zhongwai zazhi (中外雜誌), vol. 52, no. 5 (November 1992), p. 132.

21 For example, the Sino-American Conference on Mainland China began in 1970. Afterwards the conference was

al-ternately held in the US and Taipei. The Sino-Japanese Conference on Mainland China was initiated in 1971. The first-annual Sino-Korean Conference and Sino-European Conference were respectively held in 1980 and 1984. See “History,” (歷史沿革) IIR website, http://iir.nccu.edu.tw/index.php?include=aboutus&mode=history.

22 Warren Kuo (郭華倫), Zhonggong wenti lunji, p. 398; Hui-lin Liu, “Lun ‘Zhonggong yanjiu’ de tujing ji zhongxi zai

yanjiushang de fenqi,” p. 55; History,” IIR website, http://iir.nccu.edu.tw/index.php?include=aboutus&mode=history.

23 For instance, Warren Kuo, “Guanyu yanjiu ‘Zhongguo dalu wenti zhi fangfa’,” (關於研究「中國大陸問題之方法,

On mainland China studies research methods), presented at the Second Sino-American Conference on Mainland China, the Institute for International Relations, National Chengchi University, June 14, 1972. During the conference Kuo responded to former American ambassador to South Korea Richard Walker’s 16 questions about research methods.


communist rebel affairs in the IIR, defined their oft-employed methods as the interactive usage of “analytical, inductive, deductive, comparative, and historical” methods, along with the simultane-ous usage of the dialectical method.25

However, these efforts did not prevent the eventual breakdown of this research paradigm. After the US and China established diplomatic relations in 1979, both sides signed cultural and academic exchanges. American scholars could thereby travel to China to do field work; however, scholars from Taiwan did not have the same opportunity. This change diminished the level of dependency American scholars had on Taiwan’s China studies, leading to greater discrepancies in research methods on both sides.26 With the arrival of the 1980s, some Taiwanese political scien-tists studying abroad in the US, where they received training in social science methodology, called in question the research methods of communist rebel studies. In June 1982 Shibao Zazhi (時報雜 誌) published Warren Kuo’s “Research methods for mainland China issues,”27 and held a forum on China studies research methods in July of the same year.28 In September, Lin Tse-min’s (林 澤民) “Research methods and models in Chinese communist studies” was published in the same magazine, criticizing the research methods adopted by experts on communist rebel affairs.29 This round of dialogues was a concrete example of the wane of the research paradigm of communist rebel studies.30

IIR in Transition during the Era of Democratization:

mid-1980s to Late 1990s

Taiwan’s China studies and the IIR underwent a great transformation during the period from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, entering a new stage – the Chinese communist studies stage. This transition away from the communist rebel studies stage represented the move from policy analy-sis toward academic research. While some scholars continued to conduct policy analyses, some others found increased leeway to pursue their research without political intervention, and their research outcomes also gradually distanced themselves from the predestined conclusion of “anti-communism must prevail, tyranny must die.” This division of labor became increasingly obvious as the stage progressed. In addition to the international changes mentioned in the previous sec-tion, generational replacement of scholars, Taiwan’s democratizasec-tion, innovation in government research and education policy and also contributed to this transition.

25 See Warren Kuo, Zhonggong wenti lunji, pp. 392-393; Warren Kuo, “Zhongguo dalu wenti de yanjiu fangfa” (中國

大陸問題的研究方法, Research methods for mainland China issues), Shibao zazhi, no. 131 (June 6, 1982), pp. 57-58.

26 Kai-huang Yang, “Taiwan ‘Zhongguo dalu yanjiu’ zhi huigu yu qianzhan,” pp. 536, 540. 27 Warren Kuo, “ Research methods for mainland China issues,” pp. 57-58.

28 Fourm participants included Warren Kuo, Tsao Po-i (曹伯一), Yin Ching-yao (尹慶耀), Chao Hsien-yun (趙先運),

Yuan Sung-hsi (袁頌西), and Alexander Ya-li Lu (呂亞力). The first four are typical experts on communist rebel af-fairs, while the latter two are returnee scholars with specialities in methodology. See Zhu-lun Mao, “‘Zhongguo dalu wenti de yanjiu fangfa’ zuotanhui,” (「中國大陸問題的研究方法」座談會) Shibao zazhi (時報雜誌), no. 135 (July 4, 1982), pp. 57-62.

29 Tse-min Lin (林澤民), “Zhonggong yanjiu de fangfa yu moshi,” (中共研究的方法與模式, Research methods and

models in Chinese communist studies) Shibao zazhi, no. 145 (September 12, 1982), pp. 57-60. For instance, Tse-min Lin criticized Warren Kuo’s “analytical, inductive, deductive, comparative, and historical method” to be, in reality, simply the traditional “historical studies method.”


This stage marked the first generational shift in the field. In 1981 GIEAS opened its Ph.D. program. The program’s Ph.D. students began graduating in the mid-1980s, finding employment at various universities and research institutions in Taiwan and other countries, including the IIR.31 With GIEAS the only China studies program that offered Ph.D. training, their graduating Ph.D. holders became the main force behind Taiwan’s China studies field.32 Many of these scholars are still active in academia, media or policy consultation today. A few Ph.D.-holding returnees from abroad also entered this field, some of whom had obtained master’s degrees from GIEAS.33 At the same time, the aging experts of communist rebel studies began to withdraw from their posts, either due to retirement or death.34

This stage also experienced dramatic changes in cross-Taiwan Strait relations and Taiwanese domestic politics. On July 16, 1981, Pai Wan-hsiang (白萬祥), director of the KMT’s Department of Mainland China Affairs (大陸工作會), declared that Taiwanese officials would refer to main-land China as the “Chinese communist regime” (中共政權) and no longer use derogatory terms such as “communist rebels” in the public arena.35 In October 1987 civilian travel to the mainland to visit relatives was opened, officially putting an end to the Three No’s Policy (三不政策) (no contact, no compromise, and no negotiation). Increasingly frequent contact between both sides of the Taiwan Strait brought more information from the mainland, and also toned down the monopo-ly of the IIR and other state agencies over China studies.36

These developments undoubtedly had a profound influence on the research topics, methods, and publications of Taiwan’s China studies. As China’s reform progressed, research topics in the field became more diverse. Besides traditional political and personnel research, topics dealing with socio-economic changes such as state-owned enterprise reform, social stratification, town-ship and village enterprises, and grassroots politics also emerged, expanding the China studies field and moving towards typical area studies research.

Meanwhile, scholars of the younger generation used public information more frequently and extensively than their predecessors. Benefiting from China’s reform, the environment for infor-mation acquisition had relatively fewer restrictions. Inforinfor-mation acquisition channels also gradu-ally became more diverse, resulting in a large decrease in the dependency on intelligence sources. Although the importance of social science methodology progressively increased, experience in mainland China and personal contacts continued to play a definite role. Taking scholars trained 31 A Korean national received the first Ph.D. from GIEAS in 1984. The next Ph.D. graduates were Lee Ying-ming (李

英明) (former GIEAS professor and current vice principal of China University of Science and Technology) and Chi Mao-chi (齊茂吉) (professor in the Graduate Institute of History, National Central University). They obtained their doctoral degrees in 1985.

32 Examples are Shih Tse-hsiung (施哲雄), Zhao Chun-shan (趙春山), Wu An-chia (吳安家), Fu Feng-cheng (傅豐誠),

Yang Kai-huang (楊開煌), Chang Jung-feng (張榮豐), Wei Ai (魏艾), Chi Chi-mao (齊茂吉), Li Ying-ming (李英明), Lo Shiao-nan (羅曉南), Yu Yu-lin (俞雨霖), Sung Kuo-cheng (宋國誠), Liu Sun-chi (劉勝驥), Chen Te-sheng (陳德 昇), Kao Huei (高輝), and Chang Wu-Ueh (張五岳).

33 Some examples are Chiu Kun-shuan (邱坤玄), Chao Chien-min (趙建民), Shao Zong-hai (邵宗海), Ming

Chu-cheng (明居正), and Shih Chih-yu (石之瑜). Chao is a GIEAS alumnus.

34 Tai-chun Kuo and Ramon Myers, Understanding Communist China, p. 7. For example, Warren Kuo, a former vice

director of the IIR, and acting director of GIEAS, passed away in 1984.

35 Xin Xue (薛昕) and Jia-yu Tang (湯家玉), “Jiang Jing-guo dui Taiwan wenti de sikao yu jueze” (蔣經國對臺灣問

題的思考與抉擇, Chiang Ching-kuo’s deliberations and decisions regarding Taiwan), Dangshi zonglan, reprinted in

Renwu ABC, April 2004, http://www.rwabc.com/diqurenwu/rw_detail.asp?people_id=279&id=454. 36 Kai-huang Yang, “Taiwan ‘Zhongguo dalu yanjiu’ zhi huigu yu qianzhan,” pp. 538-541.


in GIEAS as examples, they learned about CCP party history, dialectics, and ideology, and had a strong grasp of official CCP documents.37 However, because they lacked their predecessors’ ex-perience of personal contact with CCP elites, they were unable to fully carry on the research meth-ods of the previous generation. Accordingly, alternative information sources became important to their research.

The IIR underwent a dramatic transformation during this period in terms of its relationship with the state, the educational backgrounds of research fellows, and the editorial policy of its major journals. First of all, the IIR cut off its institutional ties with the National Security Bureau and fully merged with NCCU in 1996, symbolizing the termination of its role as a government think tank. In the first several years after the death of Chiang Ching-kuo in 1988, the IIR contin-ued to provide President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), a former IIR research fellow and GIEAS faculty member, current situation analysis and policy suggestions.38 Lee also recruited several IIR heads and deputy heads into the government or the KMT as ranking officials, such as Chang King-yuh (張京育), Shao Yu-ming (邵玉銘), Su Chi (蘇起) and Wu An-chia (吳安家).

However, the IIR lost Lee’s political trust after the early 1990s. A series of intensified splits in the KMT and the shift of Lee’s mainland China policy from pro-reunification−the KMT’s or-thodox stance on cross-strait relations−toward pro-independence after the mid-1990s alienated the IIR from the president. Many IIR research fellows at the time−but not all−were against indepen-dence and supported Lee’s political rivals in the KMT.39 Consequently, the IIR did not participate in Lee’s decisions on the “no haste, go slow” (戒急用忍) policy and the “special state-to-state relationship” (特殊國與國關係) statement.40 The foundation of the Institute for National Policy Research (國家政策研究中心) in 1991 and the Taiwan Research Institute (台灣綜合研究院) in 1994 also demonstrated the declining role of the IIR in the eyes of Lee. These two private think tanks played an important role in his political reforms and mainland China policy in the 1990s.41 37 These topics were focal courses during the early days of GIEAS, the instructors of which were communist rebel

specialists. Because of the program’s focus on party history and the privilege of access to classified materials about mainland China in the IIR, GIEAS students read a number of important CCP official documents, affording them an understanding of CCP documents and topics.

38 When Lee became vice president, he required the IIR to provide him with weekly reports on the most current

po-litical and economic trends in mainland China. He was involved in the attempt to reorganize the institute after be-coming president. Ming-yi Wang, Bu queding de haixia, pp. 105-106; Zhu-guo Tang (唐柱國), “Duo shi guojiang menglong—manji zhengda dongyasuo de zaoqi shiyou” (多是過江猛龍──漫記政大東亞所的早期師友, From nonentities to luminaries—notes on professors and friends of National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies of early years), Wu Chun-tsai xiansheng jinian wenji bianji weiyuanhui (吳俊才先生紀念文集 編輯委員會, Commemorating the collected works of Mr. Wu Chun-tsai), Aiguo yu aicai: huainian Wu Juncai

xian-sheng wenji (愛國與愛才:懷念吳俊才先生文集, For the love of our country and talent: the collected works for

remembering Mr. Wu Chun-tsai), (not formally published, 1997), pp. 133-135. Tse-hsiung Shih (施哲雄), “Wuxian huainian Wu shi shuxin” (無限懷念吳師叔心, Infinitely cherishing the memory of Wu Chun-tsai), Wu Jun-cai xian-sheng jinian wenji bianji weiyuanhui, Aiguo yu aicai, p. 147.

39 For example, Chou Yu-shan (周玉山), an associate research fellow of the IIR Third Division, was a member of the

KMT minority faction (非主流派) and a longtime secretary to Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), Lee’s political rival within the KMT in the 1990s. He was expelled from the party.

40 Jin-yao Zheng, (鄭進耀), “Gaichao huandai fenghua buzai, shichong de guoguan zhongxin yao suobian,” (改朝換

代風華不再 失寵的國關中心要縮編, The IIR will be downsized after losing its luster in the face of government change) Xin xinwen (新新聞), no. 900 (June 3-9, 2004), p. 59.

41 Qi-bo Lin, “Cong muhou xiance dao duoyuan fasheng,” Taiwan guanghua zazhi, p. 5, http://www.taiwan-panorama.

com/show_issue.php?id=200249104006c.txt&cur_page=5&table=1&distype=&h1=&h2=&search=&height=&type= &scope=&order=&keyword=&lstPage=&num=&year=2002&month=04.


After the merger with NCCU in 1996, the IIR became a college-level scholarly research insti-tute, with a hierarchical status on par with that of university colleges such as the College of Social Sciences. The IIR director was chosen by the NCCU president. The recruitment and promotion of IIR research fellows follow the same evaluation process as other university faculty members while depriving the IIR director of the power of personnel recruitment formerly held by his office. In addition, all IIR research fellows and staff were openly listed in the NCCU faculty member and staff directory of the 1996 academic year for the first time since the institute’s nominal affiliation with NCCU in 1975.

The changes in Taiwan’s higher education environment–the increasing importance of a doc-toral degree for university faculty members and the establishment of the anonymous review sys-tem in academic journals–also produced a great impact on the IIR. The IIR began to regularly re-cruit overseas Ph.D. holders after the mid-1980s. The initiator of this change in rere-cruitment policy was Shao Yu-ming, who was appointed IIR director in September 1984. As Table 1 shows, in the 1996 academic year, 21 overseas-trained Ph.D. holders and 2 locally-trained Ph.D. holders were recruited into the institute from 1985 to 1995. In the same period, among the other 12 research fellows who did not have a doctoral degree at the time of recruitment, 3 obtained their degrees from foreign universities and 1 from a local university later in their career by means of retaining their position without pay (留職停薪) (see Table 1).

This pattern differs significantly from that which was observed before 1984. During the period between 1962 and 1984, as Table 1 shows, only 2 research fellows held a doctoral degree at the time of recruitment, while another 12 non-Ph.D. holders obtained a doctoral degree later in their career from local universities, particularly from GIEAS, after the mid-1980s through retain-ing their position without pay. The other 36 research fellows received no doctoral degree before retirement. The adaptation of the revised University Law (大學法) in 1994, which required a doctoral degree as a primary condition for appointment to assistant professor, reinforced this trend of personnel recruitment. In fact, a doctoral degree has been a prerequisite for IIR research fellow recruitment since 1995. This dramatic demographic change in the educational backgrounds of re-search fellows contributed to the full merger of the IIR with NCCU in 1996.

The editorial policy of major IIR periodicals was also under transformation in the Chinese communist studies stage. Owing to new developments in cross-strait relations and

democrati-Table 1. The educational backgrounds of IIR research fellows in 1996 Recruitment


Doctoral degree holders before

recruitment No doctoral degree before recruitment Overseas-trained Locally-trained

Obtaining a doctoral degree

after working at the IIR No doctoral degree Overseas-trained Locally-trained

1962-1984 1 1 2 10 36

1985-1990 9 1 2 1 5

1991-1995 12 1 1 0 3

Primary information sources: Research fellows’ names were obtained from the NCCU faculty member and staff direc-tory of the 1996 academic year. Background information was mainly obtained from the IIR website and other on-line information sources. The numbers in each cell were calculated by the author.


zation in Taiwan, early China studies periodicals changed names in response to changes in the political climate. For instance, in July 1985 (vol. 28 no. 1) The IIR changed the name of

Feiq-ing yuebao (匪情月報) to Zhongguo dalu yanjiu (中國大陸研究, Mainland China Studies). A

much more important adjustment was the adoption of double-blind anonymous review systems for academic journals. Before the mid-1990s, the absence of a sound peer review mechanism was commonplace among academic periodicals in Taiwan. For example, the review mechanism for IIR periodicals was to a certain extent a formality. IIR division heads and senior research fellows reviewed manuscripts and then decided their rejection or acceptance for publication.42 Scholars outside the IIR played a minor role or even no role in the old review process. Due to the National Science Council’s (NSC) attempt to improve the quality of academic journals in Taiwan, the IIR decided to establish a real anonymous review process for its academic journals in the mid-1990s at the request of Yun-han Chu (朱雲漢), coordinator of the political science section of the NSC from 1994 to 1997.43 The time-consuming process of anonymous peer review was disadvantageous for current situation analyses, which required quick publication. In other words, this review mecha-nism resulted in the further separation of academic research from policy analysis.

IIR as a Competitor For Academic and Policy Influence:

Late 1990s to Present

After experiencing dramatic changes in the period from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, Tai-wan’s China studies entered the contemporary China studies stage. In this stage, TaiTai-wan’s China studies completed its transformation from a state-dominated field to a society-guided one in which the state no longer politically dominated the research agenda, information sources and research outputs.44

China studies in this stage have several attributes. First, there is a marked rift between schol-arly research and policy analysis. Though academics might provide policy consultation, publish current issues reports in policy-oriented periodicals, and execute government policy projects, their promotions were usually based on academic publications. Policy analysts, usually affiliated with state agencies, often found publishing their works in scholarly journals to be an uphill battle due to the rigorous anonymous review process. A typical example is that Zhongguo dalu yanjiu did not publish any articles authored by persons working in the government or political parties after 1999 (see Figure 1). Moreover, scholars did not necessarily only interact with government institutions, and research topics were not only limited to the realm of policy. This shows that China studies scholars did not exist solely at the service of the government.

The second attribute is the encounter between area studies and disciplinary studies in the China studies field. China’s rise attracted political scientists, economists and sociologists to enter the field. Scholarly journals in these disciplines began publishing articles with relevance to main-land China. More students from diverse universities wrote their theses on different issues relevant 42 IIR senior research fellow Wu Tung-yeh (吳東野) told the author this information on March 18, 2013.

43 Former IIR director Ho Szu-Yin (何思因) told the author this information on March 20, 2013.

44 For similar views, see Jieh-min Wu, Chih-jou Chen and Ming-chi Chen, “Kua haixia xin shehui yanjiu,” Dangdai Zhongguo yanjiu tongxun, no. 9, (January 2008), p. 13; Hong-yuan Chang and Tsung-yi Lee, “ ‘Zhongguo yanjiu’ zai


to mainland China.45 At the same time, China studies journals received manuscripts from schol-ars affiliated with various social sciences-related departments or graduate institutes. This change demonstrates that Taiwan’s China studies was no longer simply an area study, but was comprised of a variety of academic disciplines and the classical area studies tradition, which emphasized the extensive and overall understanding of a country or region. Scholars could utilize the research paradigms studied in their own disciplines to do research, engaging in theoretical dialogue and publishing their work. This added diversity and specialization to the China studies field. During this time many universities began offering mainland China studies courses. Furthermore, frequent academic conferences provided ample opportunities for contact between scholars on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The third attribute of the contemporary China studies stage is that research topics and meth-ods became more diverse, and the development of the field subject to higher education policy, rather than political restrictions. In terms of research topics, China studies expanded from the study of high politics to include the study of low politics. However, politics and elite research 45 Jieh-min Wu, Chih-jou Chen and Ming-chi Chen, “Kua haixia xin shehui yanjiu,” Dangdai Zhongguo yanjiu tongxun,

no. 9, (January 2008), pp. 22-24. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 201 1 2012 number of articles year IIR NCCU

other universities and research institutes government agencies or political parties unknown

* For coauthored articles, only the institutional affiliation of the first authors is coded.


took a back seat to social, economic, and diplomatic security topics.46 Personnel issues, in par-ticular, were no longer in strong academic demand, reflected by that the fact few scholars invested resources and efforts in this topic. With regard to research methods, many Taiwanese scholars traveled to China to conduct field research in light of reduced restrictions. Scholars also began to set up databases or utilize those already accumulated by others in order to facilitate large-scale, longitudinal analysis. Thus, the research achievements of this stage placed emphasis on qualita-tive and quantitaqualita-tive characteristics, although most publications still use qualitaqualita-tive methods.47

Meanwhile, higher education policy such as journal anonymous review systems, university program evaluation (大學系所評鑑), and the Aim for the Top University Project (邁向頂尖大學 計畫), produced a strong impact on the research output of China studies. For example, starting in June 1999, the National Science Council’s Research Institute for the Social Sciences began to set up the Taiwan Social Sciences Citation Index (TSSCI) and announced its first TSSCI list of in-cluded journals in October 2000.48 Afterward, TSSCI journals, as well as Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) journals, gradually became important promotion and award indicators for university professors, particularly those affiliated with the universities in the Aim for the Top University Project (though not the only indicators).

The emergence of the TSSCI directly resulted in a reshuffling of the ranking of Taiwan’s journals covering mainland China issues. Old-line journals that were able to adapt to changes in the scholarly climate, such as Wenti yu yanjiu, Zhongguo dalu yanjiu, and Issues & Studies, suc-cessfully transitioned from policy analysis journals to scholarly journals. Those that continued (or retained in part) their policy analysis orientation faced difficult challenges in attracting manu-scripts from scholars at research-oriented universities, such as Zhonggong yanjiu (中共研究, Studies on Chinese Communism) and Gongdang wenti yanjiu (共黨問題研究, Studies in Com-munism), which was later renamed Zhanwang yu tansuo (展望與探索, Prospect & Exploration) in January 2003. The journals that were unable to be immediately included in the TSSCI list also faced challenges in attracting a sufficient number of high-quality manuscripts, such as Tungya

chi-kan (東亞季刊), which adopted Dongya yanjiu (東亞研究, East Asian Studies) as its current name

and changed its publication frequency from a quarterly to a biannual publication in 2004. The introduction of university program evaluation and the Aim for Top University Project fortified the developments discussed above. SSCI/TSSCI-listed publications are often used as an important factor in evaluating academic achievement.

The last attribute of this stage is the occurrence of a new round of generational replacement of scholars. After the late 1990s Ph.D. returnees specializing in China studies returned to Taiwan, where they gained positions in major public research institutions and universities.49 These returnees formed the new wave of China studies scholars in Taiwan, but their influx also led to fewer 46 Hsin-hsien Wang, “Taiwan Zhongguo zhengzhi yanjiu de xipu,” pp. 9-13.

47 Hsin-hsien Wang, “Taiwan Zhongguo zhengzhi yanjiu de xipu,” pp. 7-8.

48 Chung-min Kuan (管中閔) and Ruoh-rong Yu (于若蓉), “ ‘Taiwan shehui kexue yinwen suoyin’ ziliaoku de jianzhi

gaikuang” (「臺灣社會科學引文索引」資料庫的建置概況, A profile of the establishment of the TSSCI databank), National Science Council’s Social Sciences Research Center website, http://ssrc.sinica.edu.tw/ssrc-home/5-21.htm.

49 Examples are Su Szu-chien (徐斯儉), Phillip Szue-chin Hsu (徐斯勤), Kou Chien-wen (寇健文), Keng Shu (耿曙),

Tao Yi-feng (陶儀芬), Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), Chen Chih-jou (陳志柔), Wu Jieh-min (吳介民), Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), Wu Der-yuan (吳得源), and Simon T. Chang (張登及), as well as younger returnees Titus Chih-Chieh Chen (陳至潔), Tsai Chung-min (蔡中民), Liou Chih-shien (劉致賢), Hans Han-pu Tung (童涵浦), and Chelsea Chia-chen Chou (周嘉辰).


opportunities for locally trained Ph.D. holders. Of course, GIEAS continued to train many Ph.D. students to enter the China studies field.50 Thus, we can say that this generational shift in Taiwan’s China studies was primarily driven by returnees from abroad, with Ph.D. graduates from GIEAS serving as a secondary impetus.

After addressing the general characteristics of Taiwan’s China studies in the current stage –the contemporary China studies stage, this paper turns its focus to the development of the IIR. After the IIR fully merged with NCCU in 1996, the institute was no longer affiliated with the state. In 2001, the IIR further made an official decision to prohibit the issue of politically sensi-tive policy reports in the name of the IIR by individual research fellows.51 After this event, IIR research fellows could only provide personal policy consultation. The separation of the IIR from the state thus reached a point of no return. Therefore, the IIR has to compete for research outputs and policy influence with others in a democratized and pluralistic society. So far, the IIR’s efforts have achieved only partial success, due to NCCU’s hesitation about the role of the IIR in the uni-versity and the lack of strong support for the rejuvenation of IIR research fellows.

In this period, the IIR continued to recruit Ph.D. holders, particularly those with foreign doc-toral degrees. This led to the increase of the percentage of Ph.D. holders among IIR research fel-lows (see Table 2). However, the IIR’s efforts to rejuvenate its research felfel-lows suffered a serious setback primarily due to NCCU’s decision to downsize the institute in 2004 (see Figure 2). From 2003 to 2005, the IIR lost almost 80% of its young assistant research fellows who were recruited between 1996 and 2002. Seven with foreign doctoral degrees transferred to other universities/ research institutes or other departments of NCCU while only one foreign-trained and one locally-trained Ph.D. holder stayed. Since many of these young scholars were China studies specialists, their departure weakened the IIR’s competitive advantage over resources and research outputs in the field today. Even worse, NCCU did not provide the IIR enough position quotas in order to re-cover from the loss of research talents. As a result, from 2003 to 2007 the IIR recruited only two new research fellows.

In this stage, Issues & Studies, Wenti yu yanjiu, and Zhongguo dalu yanjiu–three major IIR journals focusing on issues related to China studies–reduced their publication frequencies from monthly to bi-monthly and then to quarterly. While the adoption of increasingly rigorous and lon-ger double-blind anonymous review systems after the mid-1990s indeed improved the quality of articles published in academic journals, the high rejection rate of manuscripts led to the decline of articles available for publication. In response to this tendency, scholarly journals reduced publica-tion frequency. The publicapublica-tion frequency of Issues & Studies changed to bi-monthly in January 1999 (vol. 35, no. 1) and to quarterly in January 2002 (vol. 38, no. 1). Zhongguo dalu yanjiu be-50 Examples are Dong Li-wen (董立文), Hsu Chih-chia (許志嘉) (deceased), Wang Hsin-hsien (王信賢), Liu Chin-tsai

(柳金財), Chang Hong-yuan (張弘遠), Wang Chia-chou (王嘉洲), and Wang Chi-nian (王綺年), as well as younger scholars Tsai Wen-shuen (蔡文軒), Chung Yen-lin (鍾延麟), Shao Hsuan-lei (邵軒磊), and Emmy Rui-hua Lin (林 瑞華).

51 On July 18, 2002, Jau-shieh Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), then deputy director of the IIR, led several IIR research fellows

to make a report to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) about the internal situation of mainland China. The dispatch from the Office of the President stated that, according to the report, the CCP faced several severe challenges and was in danger of “wangdang wangguo” (亡黨亡國, the ruin of the party and the country). The Office of the President, “Zongtong tingqu “Zhongguo neibu qingshi pinggu baogao’ jianbao,” (總統聽取「中國內部情勢評估報告」簡報, The president listened to the briefing on “the assessment report on the internal situation of mainland China”) July 18, 2001, http://www.president.gov.tw/Default.aspx?tabid=131&itemid=2654. This report sparked criticisms from other IIR research fellows and led to the decision to prohibit the publication of politically-sensitive policy reports.


came a bi-monthly journal in January 2002 (vol. 45, no. 1), and to quarterly in January 2004 (vol. 47, no. 1). Wenti yu yanjiu followed the same trend–the adjustments of publication frequency occurred in January 2001 (vol. 40, no. 1) and in January 2007 (vol. 46, no. 1). Meanwhile, major IIR journals have become more open in the 2000s than before, which is reflected by the fact that these journals have published much fewer articles authored by IIR research fellows in the 2000s. For example, from 1985 to 2012, the share of articles authored by IIR research fellows in

Zhong-guo dalu yanjiu significantly declined. As Figure 2 shows, in comparison with the annual

percent-Table 2. The educational backgrounds of IIR research fellows in selected years


Doctoral degree holders before

recruitment No doctoral degree before recruitment

Total Foreign trained Local trained

Obtaining a doctoral degree after

working at the IIR No doctoral degree Foreign trained Local trained

1996 22 3 5 11 41 82 2003 23 3 4 9 20 59 2012 18 5 3 4 4 34 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 numbers of persons year

4th division 3rd division 2nd division 1st division Administrative staff

* Some research fellows who were temporarily transferred to administrative posts are still counted as research fel-lows. Research assistants are treated as staff.

Data source: The NCCU faculty member and staff directories of the academic years from 1996 to 2012.


ages of Zhongguo dalu yanjiu articles authored by IIR research fellows between 1985 and 2002, which were always higher than 50%, the annual share reduced to 20% or less after 2006. Mean-while, the share of authors from other universities and academic institutes has stayed at over 50% after the same year.


In the past 60 years, Taiwan’s China studies have undergone a great transformation, from a state-dominated field to a society-guided one. The direction of this evolution can be summarized by three terms: depoliticization, proliferation and pluralization. Depoliticization refers to the change in the research mission of China studies from serving politics to being independent of the state’s policy demands – scholarly research can exist on its own. This change has affected the long-term changes in the educational backgrounds of scholars, the evaluation standard of research performance, and the editorial direction of academic journals in this field. Proliferation represents the transformation of Taiwan’s China studies from official knowledge with limited circulation to free access without political constraints. For example, China’s rise attracted discipline-focused scholars to enter the China studies field, which was formerly occupied by scholars with area stud-ies training. Pluralization refers to the situation in which research topics (high politics or low pol-itics issues) and research methods (qualitative or quantitative) also became more diversified over time. The coexistence of discipline-oriented scholars and area studies specialists in China studies also contributes to pluralization.

The driving forces pushing the trajectory of the field differed in each stage. In the commu-nist rebel studies stage, the dynamics of evolution came completely from politics, both interna-tionally and domestically. In the Chinese communist studies stage, the driving forces included political and educational development with a primary emphasis on the former. The former in-cluded factors such as cross-strait relations and democratization while the latter were generational changes of scholars and the increasing importance of doctoral degrees. In the contemporary China studies stage, educational policy outweighed political development. For example, anonymous journal review systems, the TSSCI journal list, university program evaluation, and the Aim for the Top University Project played key roles in affecting the development of China studies in the cur-rent stage.

Under these circumstances, the role of the IIR has moved from a government think tank to a competitor for academic achievement and policy influence. In the past six decades, the institute has cut off its ties with the state, recruited many Ph.D. holders in order rejuvenate its research fel-lows, and adjusted the editorial policy of its major scholarly journals. The success of the IIR in these dimensions is very impressive. Nevertheless, the decision of NCCU to downsize the IIR in 2004 not only reduced the manpower of the institute but also produced a negative effect on its research output. The institute has not yet recovered from the loss of research talents in the mid-2000s. The primary task of the IIR, as well as NCCU, in the near future is to accelerate genera-tional shift of research fellows by recruiting more excellent young scholars and to provide these recruits with competitive, stable and comfortable research environments. Their maturation will bring a new golden era to the institute.


1 Simon Shen (Associate Professor / Director of Global Studies Programme,

The Chinese University of Hong Kong) In sharp contrast to Hong Kong’s renowned role as an international financial hub, the development of international relations research in the social science stream received little attention in the former British colony. The general public and government officials’ relevant knowledge and understanding of this subject has been limited, especially after the handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty back to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997. While there are structural reasons leading to the under-development of international relations in Hong Kong, this paper strives to examine and assess some of key aspects with due regard to the political, social and economic issues that subsequently lead to its weak development. This article will be divided into two parts. Part one examines the current development of international relations research in Hong Kong and the constraints upon its well establishment, while part two would critically assess the future possibilities and directions for international relations research development in Hong Kong.

Part One: The Current Development of International Relations Research in Hong Kong – What Went Wrong?

Dated back to the colonial times, the strategic importance of Hong Kong has always lied in its geopolitical advantage rather than a strict identity construct. The colonial government has granted Hong Kong some unique roles to play in the international arena, yet did not encourage developing international studies in Hong Kong at the same time, as the status was primarily serving British interests rather than aiming at promoting a distinctive identity for Hong Kong. Still, the rooms that Hong Kong could play in the international arena are far from negligible, and to some extents, are even larger than that of Taiwan as Hong Kong can join quite many international organizations that Taiwan, for various reasons, cannot easily participate.

Following the handover, the official terminology used by the PRC to describe the status of both Hong Kong and Macau is a “special administrative region”, one which practices “one country, two systems”, governed under the Basic Law. Hong Kong’s Basic Law replaced the Letters Patent and the Royal Instruction of the British colonial era as Hong Kong’s “mini-constitution” from 1997. As the HKSAR was established by authorization of the Chinese National People’s Congress, it is understood that there shall be no nullifying power held by Hong Kong under this arrangement. Speaking of the role of Hong Kong in the international arena, Article 13 of the Basic Law clearly states that “the Central People’s Government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [and] the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China shall establish an office in Hong Kong to deal with foreign affairs” (The Basic Law, 2012). This prevents Hong Kong from conducting diplomatic affairs with other states because its


2 external affairs on its own in accordance with this Law” (The Basic Law, 2012). Thus in Article 151 of the Basic Law, the areas where Hong Kong may participate in the name of external relations are specifically indicated: “the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may on its own, using the name ‘Hong Kong, China’, maintain and develop relations and conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions and relevant international organizations in the appropriate fields, including the economic, trade, financial and monetary, shipping, communications, tourism, cultural and sports fields” (The Basic Law, 2012). As a result, Hong Kong is an independent “member economy” of the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and enters as an independent entity as “Hong Kong, China” when participating in the World Cup and Olympic Games.

Political Sensitivity of International Relations under “One-country, Two-system”

However, within the aforementioned framework, an obvious grey area exists that can only be resolved politically at Beijing’s pleasure, i.e. what Hong Kong can do and what it cannot do independently in the international arena. While there are no international laws which clearly distinguish between “foreign” or “diplomatic” relations and “external” relations, the former terms, referring to the parts that Hong Kong cannot do alone, are conventionally interpreted as activities which can only be conducted by sovereign states, such as joining the United Nations or declaring war. Meanwhile, the latter, referring to the parts that Hong Kong can do alone, are understood to mean activities which don’t necessarily involve the concept of sovereignty. However, the difficulties involved in drawing boundaries between the two are not easily solvable, leading most practitioners preferring to apply a stricter measure to define the terms for the sake of maintaining political correctness after the handover. Some see a possible danger for international relations research to cross the vague boundary and to, intentionally or unintentionally, promote a distinctive identity for Hong Kong in the world that exceeds Beijing’s scope of tolerance.

Among all, the most sensitive element is the Hong Kong-US bilateral relations. Seeing the US’s intention to stay in Hong Kong as part of its conspiracy to subvert the Chinese regime via promoting “colour revolution” in Hong Kong, the most conservative pro-Beijing critics always have the tendency to use the US presence in Hong Kong as a strawman to discourage establishing close linkage between Hong Kong and the external community. For instance, pro-Beijing commentators have criticized the Washington-based NGO, the National Democratic Institute, for its involvement with pan-democratic political parties in Hong Kong on the grounds that this could affect China’s national security (China Review, 2007). Applying the same logic of such critics, by allowing the US to investigate cargo in Hong Kong, in the name of anti-terrorism, could also affect China’s national security when the two nations are on bad terms. Clearly, Beijing has the right to disallow any US ship or navy from coming to Hong Kong as shown by the USS Kitty Hawk incident in 2007. We cannot discuss


3 relations researchers in Hong Kong could face severe criticisms one day if a witch hunt campaign is suddenly launched.

The same phenomenon can be observed in Hong Kong-Taiwan relations as well. Immediately after 1997, Taiwan relation was handled by the SARG’s special advisor Paul Yip, whose special advisory position was not part of the HKSARG hierarchy as designed by the Basic Law. His function within the official mechanism, relying on his think tank Hong Kong Policy Research Institute, was seen as arbitrary and unclear by other administrative officers. Yet he still enjoyed some degrees of flexibilities to promote Hong Kong-Taiwan relations from the bottom-up manner, such as organizing a city-to-city forum in Hong Kong by inviting Ma Ying-jeou, then Taipei mayor, to visit Hong Kong. When CH Tung was re-elected as the chief executive in 2002 and did not renew Yip’s contract, Yip suspected that his removal from the government was because his institute had been more vocal and aggressive than the HKSARG itself – and probably Beijing’s representatives in Hong Kong were comfortable with – even though Yip strongly believed that his policies were in line with the “spirit of Beijing’s policy towards Taiwan” (Shen, 2010). As a result of this, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau has formalized handling Taiwan as part of its official duties. The Bureau heads have been extremely prudent in handling Taiwan since then by closely following Beijing’s line, in the hope of not repeating Yip’s mistake. The message is, any researcher on Taiwan would have to take their political risk seriously.

There are many other examples that alarmed international relations researchers in Hong Kong after 1997. For instance, the activists defending China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, supposed to be a politically safe, patriotic behaviors, could risk violating Beijing’s policy and being accused of escalating conflicts; whether echoing their behaviors or not would require researchers on Sino-Japanese relations second thoughts. As another example, when eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in the Manila Hostage Crisis in 2010, those supporting the Chief Executive’s direct phone call to the president of the Philippines were subjecting to criticisms from the pro-Beijing critics for supporting creating an independent identity for Hong Kong that was comparable to sovereign states. And when the court in Hong Kong ruled that absolute immunity for foreign countries should not be practiced in Hong Kong in the “Congo Case” in 2011, Beijing stepped in by reinterpreting the Basic Law to state that absolute immunity should be applicable to Hong Kong, leaving the law scholars endorsing the relative immunity principle vulnerable for attack. Reporting on Taiwan issues, Xinjiang riots or Tibet relations with the world may also have a chance to violate Article 23 of the Basic Law that “to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region” (The Basic Law, 2012). As some scholars worry, the unclearness of this article somewhat leads to the self-censorship of Hong Kong media in practice (Chan, 2003: 20-21).


Table 1.  The educational backgrounds of IIR research fellows in 1996

Table 1.

The educational backgrounds of IIR research fellows in 1996 p.12
Figure 1.  The institutional affilitation of authors in Zhongguo dalu yanjiu

Figure 1.

The institutional affilitation of authors in Zhongguo dalu yanjiu p.14
Table 2.  The educational backgrounds of IIR research fellows in selected years

Table 2.

The educational backgrounds of IIR research fellows in selected years p.17