This volume is a study of the governance of biodiversity conservation, meaning that it extends beyond the operations of political institutions to include non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as grassroots groups, national environmental NGOs (or ENGOs), and international environmental NGOs, as well as scientists who have specialized expertise and strong interests in the development and implementation of policy. As we compare mainland China with Taiwan, the concept of governance is most appropriate, as it equalizes the reference frame in the two quite different jurisdictions. Both have distinct, albeit different, governance processes. In this chapter we broaden our inquiry to consider the ‘politics’ of biodiversity conservation. Politics refers to all those actors and processes which influence the allocation of scarce values in a polity, and in democratic nations the sphere of action is far more vast, inclusive, and transparent than in authoritarian systems. Democratic states grant decisional influence not only to NGOs and specialized groups with expertise, but also to public opinion of the mass public, demonstrations and protests, political party competition, electoral campaigns, and even to individual and group contacting of decisionmakers. In this chapter, we turn to the politics of biodiversity conservation, by first examining the shared political milieu – bureaucratic politics – from which modern China and Taiwan emerged. Then we briefly reiterate the evolution of Taiwan’s democratization movement and its linkage to environmental policy formation and implementation. The core of the chapter presents two contrasting case studies. The first narrates the organization and mobilization of democratic protest against plans to...
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