Past Event

Fragments of an Unfinished War

March 30, 2016
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
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Taiwanese Entrepreneurs and the Partition of China


Lecture by Francoise Mengin (Sciences Po CERI) with Andrew Nathan. Francoise Mengin is a senior research fellow at Scicnes Po and supervisor of the China Doctoral Seminar at Sciences Po CERI.

The Republic of China that retreated to Taiwan in 1949 maintains its de facto, if not de jure, independence yet Beijing has consistently refused formally to abandon the idea of reunifying Taiwan with China. As well as growing military pressure, the PRC’s irredentist policy is premised on encouraging cross-Strait economic integration. Responding to preferential measures, Taiwanese industrialists have invested massively in the PRC, often relocating their businesses there. Fragments of a nation torn apart by contradictory claims, these entrepreneurs are vectors of a new form of unification imposed by the Chinese Communist Party, promoted but postponed on the island by the Nationalist Party, and rejected by Taiwanese pro-independence parties.

Within what can be described as an unfinished civil war, socio-economic dynamics remain embedded in conflicts over sovereignty. Transnational actors have freed themselves from security constraints, thereby benefiting economically from reforms in China and ultimately restructuring politics in Taiwan itself, and, in so doing, relations between Beijing and Taipei. A fictitious depoliticization has governed the opening of the Sino-Taiwanese border in order to postpone any resolution of the sovereignty issue. Mengin’s startlingly original book highlights the competing, and fragmented, elements within one of the world’s most intractable territorial disputes.

Mengin has spent most of her research career examining the relationship of Taiwan within ‘Greater China’, especially from the perspective of state formation. Her research particularly focuses on the formation of the state in the Chinese world from a historical sociology perspective.

Mengin is Lecturer at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO) between 2002 and 2006 and at Sciences Po since 1994 where she supervises PhD thesis and a member of the editorial boards of The China Quarterly and China Information (University of Leiden, The Netherlands). She is also the winner of the 2005 award of the Franco-Taiwanese Cultural Foundation (Academy of Moral and Political Sciences). Mengin holds degrees in economics (Université Paris 1), political science (Sciences Po), Chinese (Taiwan National Normal University) and a Ph.D. in political science.