“Dispatch from Taiwan,” a podcast by USIP and Taiwan-based Ghost Island Media, delves into the policy debates within Taiwan that could have implications for the region and beyond. Each episode features Taiwanese local experts and voices weighing in on social, economic and defense issues and discusses how Taiwanese society is responding to these challenges.

Emily Y. Wu, founder and executive producer of Ghost Island Media, hosts the podcast. She also is the producer and presenter of the TV series “Game Changers with Emily Y. Wu” and the podcasts “Metalhead Politics” and “The Taiwan Take.”



  • Episode 1: Defense — Rising Awareness and Preparation
    Taiwan elects a new president on January 13, 2024. Peace across the Taiwan Strait is on people’s minds, but where the candidates and their political parties differ is how to maintain it. All three presidential candidates have indicated they would continue Taiwan’s current foreign policies, though they have different views of what shape relations with China and with the United States should take, as well as different priorities for Taiwan’s defense preparedness.

    As China continues its military aggression in the region, many in Taiwan are thinking of how best to defend their home. In 2024, Taiwan will see a record-high national defense budget of 19.4 billion USD. Military conscription also was extended to one year.

    In his New Year’s speech, Chinese leader Xi Jinping renewed the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to take over Taiwan, which China considers its own but has never ruled.

    This episode includes expert views from Ying-Yu Lin from Tamkang University and Chieh Chung from the National Policy Foundation, as well as the civilian voices of Robin Hsu from the Taiwan ADIZ club and Tsung-lin Tsai.
  • Episode 2: Disinformation — Building Digital Resilience
    In October, the director of the National Security Bureau — Taiwan’s intelligence agency — warned the public against China’s possible interference in Taiwan’s elections set to be held on January 13, 2024. China might conduct and release opinion polls using local companies in Taiwan, the director said. In mid-December, a Taiwanese man was arrested for allegedly fabricating eight public opinion polls at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party in Fujian.

    When it comes to election interference from China and disinformation in general, Taiwan faces serious challenges. In a 2023 survey by Taiwan FactCheck Center, 83 percent of respondents said they had received misinformation in the previous year. Taiwan FactCheck Center is a civic society group whose chatbot on social media service LINE allows users to check for disinformation or misinformation against a database that is updated by its team of fact checkers. Similar digital tools include CoFacts and MyGoPen.

    This episode tackles the spread of disinformation in Taiwan, the role of China and how civic society has stepped in to shore up digital resilience. The conversation includes expert views from Ming-shuan Wu from DoubleThink Lab, Eve Chiu from Taiwan FactCheck Center, and Alberto Fittarelli and Citizen Lab.
  • Episode 3: ‘Silicon Shield’  Looking Beyond Semiconductors
    Taiwan makes 65 percent of the world’s semiconductors and roughly 90 percent of the world’s most advanced computer chips — employing 2.5 percent of the local workforce and accounting for a staggering 15 percent of the island nation’s GDP in the process.

    Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is so dominant that some think it might help deter a Chinese invasion. The thinking is that any attack on Taiwan would disrupt the global tech supply chain, so the world has a stake in peace across the Taiwan Strait.

    In this episode of "Dispatch from Taiwan," we look at what’s known as the “silicon shield,” its history, its substance, and how Taiwanese citizens view this critical industry. Most importantly, what’s the next big thing?

    This episode includes views from Jeremy Huai-Che Chiang from Foundation for Future Generations, Paul Huang from LoFTechnology, Daniel Lin from Creative Ventures, Tina Cheng from Cherubic Ventures, and Taipei-based accountant Julia Pan and software engineer Lance Chang.
  • Episode 4: Economic Coercion: Diversifying and Derisking from China
    China has a track record of banning products from Taiwan, including fish, alcohol, fruits and other agricultural goods. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, 35.2 percent of Taiwan's total exports went to China and Hong Kong in 2023 — down from 38.8 percent in 2022.

    In this episode, we examine how China uses trade to try to influence Taiwan and how Taiwan pushes back. We also look at how Taiwan's trade partners help alleviate pressure, and how negotiators see the role of trade pacts with international partners.

    This episode includes interviews with Benjamin Hsu from the Office of Trade Negotiations at Executive Yuan, Huai-Shing Yen from the Taiwan WTO and RTA Center at Chung-Hua Institution For Economic Research, and the family at Su’s Giant Grouper Farm, including Man-Chu Chao, Mia Su and Mack Chen.
  • Episode 5: People’s Relations: Moving Between Taiwan and China
    From 1945 to 1949, an estimated million-plus people from China arrived in Taiwan. The newcomers joined an existing population of 6 million, significantly changing the demographic makeup of modern Taiwan. In this episode, we look at the stories of some of those who arrived, and how perspectives of China differ among generations and those who travel back and forth.

    People we spoke to agreed that regular and meaningful interactions between citizens across the Taiwan Strait are necessary. Otherwise, as military and political tensions continue to rise across the Strait, the chances of misunderstanding escalate and could lead to conflict.

    This episode includes interviews with Shiang-Chu Tang, a filmmaker and Peabody Awardee, Jin Liao from New Frontier Foundation, Ian Rowen from National Taiwan Normal University, journalist Yu-Ping Chang, and master’s student Olivia Lin.
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Dispatch from Taiwan Credits

The Ghost Island Media team includes Emily Y. Wu, Ting Yeh, Hope Ngo, Anderson Wang, Roxana Wan, Gerald Williams, Hugo Peng, Min Chao, Teresa Yen and Jerry Chiu.

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