One country, two protest movements: The Cross-Strait ties that bind Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Why and how are Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement connected? This proposed thesis seeks to understand the relationship between two of Asia’s most active and prominent popular protest movements – the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan and the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. The thesis will pinpoint how and why these two movements are associated and to outline areas where the movements have collaborated and learnt from one another. It will look at how these linkages – direct, indirect, online and offline – have influenced the protest movements themselves, their objectives and their (perceived) outcomes. It will examine how and to what extent their behaviour may have evolved and been influenced because of this interchange. It will assess how this interconnectedness has benefited and disadvantaged the movements, including interactions with key stakeholders such as media, foreign governments and the public.

Thesis chapters will examine the diffusion of protest tactics and strategies between the movements, new technologies and digital trends and how the movements have coordinated to counter (perceived or actual) surveillance. The thesis will also investigate the underlying causes of why these ties exist. Both movements have established themselves, at least in part, as a response to the influence of the Chinese Government in their respective regions. However, from preliminary research, the author also believes the story about this relationship is more complicated than a connection formed purely as a response to China. The author plans to also assess a range of other factors that may have facilitated this relationship (and pursue any that arise during planned fieldwork). For example did connections – online or offline – already exist between some protesters? Have factors such as geographical proximity, shared beliefs and values, cultural and demographic similarities and shared online technology platform preferences (many of which are banned in China) played a role in cementing this relationship?

Given the breadth of studies that intersect with this research topic the thesis will rely most heavily on social movement and contentious politics literature, as well as works from the emerging field of digital politics and media. The author is very keen to receive feedback and suggestions from ANU academics and scholars on additional fields and studies she could explore.

About the Speaker
Danielle Cave is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political and Social Change, in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU. Prior to commencing her PhD in early 2015 Danielle worked in a variety of international policy organisations in government and non-government sectors. She has published and led projects on a range of topics including politics and security issues in North Asia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, the use of information and communication technologies in the Asia-Pacific, China’s role in the Pacific Islands region, digital diplomacy, protest movements and foreign aid. A former Analyst and team leader in the Open Source Centre at the Office of National Assessments, she also worked as a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute for International Policy from 2009-12. In 2011-12 she undertook a secondment to AusAID, working in the Asia strategy, research and communication sections. Prior to joining the Lowy Institute, Danielle worked for two years as Editorial Coordinator for the Sydney bureau of the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest newspaper. She has a Masters degree in International Security from Sydney University and a Bachelor degree in Business from the University of Technology, Sydney.