Lung Yingtai’s Insightful Discourse

Lung Yingtai Fields Questions

On September 18, 2023, Pardee School of Global Studies’ Center for the Study of Asia at Boston University hosted a captivating and exciting signature event, A Look Inside: Taiwanese in a Time of Cross-Strait Crisis with Lung Yingtai, Taiwan’s former Minister of Culture, that provided valuable insights into the intricate challenges facing Taiwan today. This event marked the beginning of an exciting lecture series, promising a rich exploration of Asia’s diverse aspects in the upcoming year.

The evening commenced with Robert Hefner, Professor of Anthropology and of International Relations at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and Director of the School’s Center for the Study of Asia, welcoming attendees, setting the stage for an engaging series of discussions. He emphasized the Center’s long-standing commitment to multidisciplinary Asian studies, which has been a cornerstone of Boston University’s academic legacy for over three decades.

The spotlight then shifted to Boston University Professor Catherine Yeh, a driving force behind this inaugural gathering. She introduced the evening’s main speaker, Lung Yingtai, the former Minister of Culture of Taiwan, highlighting her remarkable journey from an influential writer in Taiwan to a distinguished political figure. The audience, including eager students and distinguished guests, was buzzing with anticipation, excited to hear from this distinguished Taiwanese luminary.

Lung Yingtai’s address was both enlightening and deeply personal. She shared her observations and experiences from various corners of Taiwan, providing unique insights into the distinct perspectives of urban and rural communities. Her engaging storytelling had the audience enthralled. Amidst the backdrop of Boston’s rainy weather that night, Lung Yingtai playfully compared it to Taiwan’s notorious typhoons and earthquakes, adding a touch of humor to the event.

The conversation then transitioned seamlessly into the geopolitical tensions surrounding Taiwan. Lung Yingtai discussed the heightened military activity in the Taiwan Strait, and her firsthand experiences living near an airbase added a poignant dimension to her insights.  This discussion served as a stark reminder of Taiwan’s precarious position amidst powerful geopolitical forces.

Accidents and incidents involving Taiwan, China, and the United States were also on the agenda. Lung Yingtai highlighted the potential for minor events to escalate into major conflicts, sparking a spirited debate about the necessity of arms acquisition from the United States, given Taiwan’s unique geography.

Overall, the Center for the Study of Asia’s event was a remarkable and eye-opening exploration of Taiwan’s current challenges and the complex dynamics that define the region. Lung Yingtai’s engaging and personal insights made this event a memorable kick-off for the lecture series, promising further exploration of Asia’s diverse facets in the coming year. The audience, brimming with excitement, left the event with a deeper understanding of the issues at hand, and the evening was a testament to the power of engaging conversations on the global stage.

Attendees can look forward to the roundtable discussion with Lung Yingtai, Debates on War and Peace in Tawain, on Tues Sept. 19, 2023.

Lung Yingtai is a writer, literary critic and public intellectual. Lung not only has a large number of devoted readers in her native Taiwan, but her works also have great influence in the Chinese-language world in Singapore, Malaysia, China, and North America. Lung entered public service as Taipei City Government’s first Minister of Culture in 1999 and served as Taiwan’s inaugural Minister of Culture from 2012-2014. She is author of more than two dozen books, including essays, fiction, reportage, and literary criticism. Her 1985 book, The Wild Fire, created a major cultural stir for its honest and introspective look at the social and political problems facing contemporary Taiwan society. Big River, Big Sea: Untold Stories of 1949, published in 2009, became a must-read in greater China despite that it has been banned in China. She was Hung Leung Hao Ling Distinguished Fellow in Humanities at the University of Hong Kong from 2015-2020. For an interesting conversation with Lung Yingtai about her recent work, see