SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Fragments of an Unfinished War: Taiwanese Entrepreneurs and the Partition of China

Françoise Mengin's book cover: Fragments of an unfinished war
Dr Fran├žoise Mengin

Date: 26 January 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 26 January 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.


The Republic of China that retreated to Taiwan in 1949 maintains its de facto, if not de jure, independence yet Beijing has consistently refused formally to abandon the idea of reunifying Taiwan with China. As well as growing military pressure, the PRC’s irredentist policy is premised on encouraging cross-Straits economic integration. Responding to preferential measures, Taiwanese industrialists have invested massively in the PRC, often relocating their businesses there. Fragments of a nation torn apart by contradictory claims, these entrepreneurs are vectors of a new form of unification imposed by the mainland, promoted but postponed on the island by the Nationalist Party, and rejected by Taiwanese pro-independence parties.

Within what can be described as an unfinished civil war, socio-economic dynamics remain embedded in conflicts over sovereignty. Transnational actors have freed themselves from security constraints, thereby benefiting economically from a reformist China, and ultimately restructuring politics in Taiwan itself, and, in so doing, relations between Beijing and Taipei. A fictitious de-politisation has governed the opening of the Sino-Taiwanese border in order to postpone any resolution of the sovereignty issue. Françoise Mengin highlights the competing, and fragmented, elements within one of the world’s most intractable territorial disputes.


Dr. Françoise Mengin is a political scientist and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies and Research (CERI) at Sciences Po in Paris, where she teaches Chinese politics in the doctoral program. Her most recent work focuses on the re-mapping of a Greater China space in the context of globalisation, and on the means whereby States devoid of international recognition seek to circumvent their ostensible isolation.

She is the author of Trajectoires chinoises, Taiwan, Hong Kong et Pékin (Karthala, 1998), and Fragments d’une guerre inachevée: Les entreprAeneurs taiwanais et la partition de la Chine (Karthala, 2013); she has co-edited with Jean-Louis Rocca Politics in China:  Moving Frontiers (Palgrave, 2002), and edited Cyber China: Reshaping National Identities in the Age of Information (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). An English version of her 2013 book will be published by Hurst in 2015 under the title Fragments of an Unfinished War: Taiwanese Entrepreneurs and the Partition of China.

Dr. Mengin is a member of the editorial boards of The China Quarterly and China Information.

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4823