Civil Constitutionalism (and the lack thereof) in Taiwan

The emergence of populism around the globe mirrors the general distrust and dissatisfaction with the political branches. Notwithstanding the widespread of populism in both old and young democracies, Taiwan seems to be resilient to the pathology of populism, and democracy in Taiwan remains stable. Nevertheless, Taiwan’s democracy is actually built on shaky grounds, an issue that has not received enough attention. This paper suggests that civil constitutionalism, broadly defined, may be a proper response to undergird and further strengthen constitutional democracy in Taiwan. Specifically, this paper will analyze the implementation of civil constitutionalism and the lack thereof in Taiwan from three perspectives: the rigidity of the written Constitution and constitutional amendments, the participation of civil society in political governance, and constitutional review in Taiwan. In all three areas, Taiwan’s constitutional democracy has demonstrated both some strengths as well as weaknesses.