My friend Walter passed me this link to an Economist diary about democracy in Taiwan and Hong Kong:

IT IS always good to find old acquaintances doing well. When I used to visit him in Taipei in the late 1980s and early 1990s Chiou I-jen seemed the epitome of Taiwanese radicalism. A long-haired, scruffy and rather intense young man, he would work out of the cramped, chaotic offices of the then newly-legal opposition Democratic Progressive Party, and he would shock me with the fervour of his pro-independence views—still, at that time, tantamount to sedition.

Today I call on him in the eerily empty caverns inside Taipei’s massive red-brick presidential palace. He is the president’s secretary-general, having served previously as national security adviser, and he is a big behind-the-scenes figure in Taiwan’s politics. People are gratifyingly impressed that he has spared time to talk to me.

He has spruced himself up these days, favouring elegant black suits with Chinese collars. He is more positive about China’s role in Hong Kong than anyone else I have spoken to in Taipei, crediting China with making a big effort to show that “one country, two systems” works, partly as a means of putting pressure on Taiwan. The effort, however, is doomed. Taiwan’s people, as he says, have only one question: “why do I need it?” Indeed, who wants a promise of autonomy if you are enjoying de facto independence? The Hong Kong model, he says, has failed to persuade Taiwan.

Long, well written, and full of interesting observations.