Friday, July 21, 2017

Brian Hioe on "New Bloom" and Taiwan Activism

 To listen to our interview on KUCI Subversity Show Online, click here.

In the 8 months or so since I met New Yorker Brian Hioe in Taipei, Taiwan, the founding editor of an exciting online magazine on Taiwan left activism, New Bloom, has been even more prolific. Several times a week, he writes erudite and thoughtful analyses of events in Taiwan and Asian region, focusing much of his attention on youth activists from Taiwan and surrounding areas.  The subtitle of the online publication says it all: Radical perspectives on Taiwan and the Asia Pacific.

Our interview, in a busy cafe near the Sun Yat-sen MRT station in Taipei, was conducted on November 14, 2016.  We now bring you the audio of that interview, where we discuss the meaning of "left" and "right" in Taiwan and in Hong Kong.  We also talk about the necessity to preserve access to activist material for public use.  While Taiwan has a pro-democracy government (unlike Hong Kong), it is still necessary to collect and preserve such materials, especially from the recent movements, including the Sunflower Movement in Taipei.  I was pleased Mr. Hioe planned in 2017 to create a web archive of such materials.

Brian Hioe (right) with interviewer.  Photo credit: Brian Hioe.
In the interview, he explains his activism started with a more liberal human rights group in high school in the U.S., but he became more radicalized in college, attending Vassar College and then New York University, at around the time Occupy Wall Street began.  He was there the first day.  He subsequently moved to Taipei to learn Mandarin Chinese, and the result was New Bloom, a web-based effort to bridge activism across the region and the world.

Given that Taiwan is often sidelined by a focus on mainland China, it is gratifying to see New Bloom exist and be so successful, holding local music events where print zine versions even are distributed. -- Daniel C. Tsang.

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