Taipei Times Columnist Michael Turton Talks About the Taiwan Pineapple Ban by China Ep 119

8 March 2021

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:


Michael Turton is a political commentator, writer and Taipei Times columnist based in Taichung, Taiwan. I first learned about him through his long running blog, The View From Taiwan when I lived in Taiwan myself and started blogging about living there. I’ve invited him on to the podcast to talk about China’s recent ban of pineapples from Taiwan. We talked about what’s really behind the ban and how trade issues between China and Taiwan led to the 2014 Sunflower Movement and occupation of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan building.


CORRECTION: At 1:28 when Michael says “over in Xiamen” he meant to refer to Fujian. There several towns in Fujian- Yongfu and Qingliu but not Xiamen, that are now using agricultural techniques learned from Taiwan. See link to the CommonWealth Magazine article, “Is Taiwan’s Farm Sector Selling Out to China” for reference.


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • Why China banned pineapples imported from Taiwan
  • What has happened since the ban
  • How the ban will impact Taiwan
  • What are the larger issues behind what happened and why China banned Taiwan’s pineapples
  • What can people overseas can do to support Taiwan, aside from buying Taiwan pineapples
  • How consumption is related to Taiwanese identity
  • What trade issues with China have to do with the Sunflower Movement
  • What precipitated the occupation of the Legislative Yuan building by the Sunflower Movement activists in March 2014
  • How the caucus system in Taiwan is set up to slow down the legislature
  • The problems with Taiwan’s constitution
  • How the spat between then President Ma Ying-jeou and Speaker Wang Jin-pyng contributed to the occupation of the Legislative Yuan by the Sunflower Movement activists in March of 2014
  • How the Sunflower Movement strengthened the Taiwanese identity of a generation that grew up in a democratic Taiwan vs. those who previously grew up under Kuomintang rule in the 1970s and 80s



Related Links:


Taipei Times article, “PRC bans import of Taiwan pineapples”:


Taipei Times article, “China pineapple ban offset in four days”:


Guardian article, “Taiwanese urged to eat ‘freedom pineapples’ after China import ban”:


Taiwan News article, “Japanese with ‘Taiwan pineapple fever’ empty store shelves”:


CommonWealth Magazine article, “Is Taiwan’s Farm Sector Selling Out to China”:


Michael Turton’s podcast, Taiwan Context–Human-Rights-Defender-epmtsm


Michael Turton’s blog, The View From Taiwan


Ian Rowen’s research on Chinese tour groups in Taiwan:


Sunflower Movement:


An article about Taiwan’s pineapple industry in 1960:


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