Education About Asia: Online Archives

Tug of War: The Story of Taiwan

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PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY JUDITH VECCHIONE
DISTRIBUTED BY WGBH EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION AND WGBH
BOSTON VIDEO
VHS, 87 MINUTES, COLOR, 1998
IN ENGLISH AND CHINESE

Reviewed by Vincent Kelly Pollard

The geographic separation imposed by the Taiwan Strait is also political. Judith Vecchione’s Tug of War: The Story of Taiwan helps students understand that the question “Who should rule Taiwan?” is not settled. Sequences from this video have enhanced student learning in three of my introductory political science courses and two upper-division Asian studies classes. Short excerpts or even the entirety of this movie will enhance high school classes in geography, world history, and Asian studies. Since teachers at any level want their students to view with appreciation, discuss with intelligence, and write with focus, I recommend they enhance screenings of Tug of War with a viewing guide for students. Themes from the video illustrate imperialism, colonialism, authoritarianism, militarization, national identity, legitimacy, and society-foreign policy linkages. While well-read undergraduate students may have heard of Mao Zedong, Richard Nixon, Beijing, and Washington, DC, this video will give them a few surprises.