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Puns for Punches: Political Satire Striking a Nerve in Taiwan

How best to stand up to the authoritarian bully next door? For many young Taiwanese, the answer seems to be humor. Political satire, including spoof news YouTube channel EyeCTV, is rapidly gaining traction online. Their preferred targets: China and Taiwan’s uncertain international status.

“Reporting from the Free Taiwan Area on the red bandits’ policies affecting our compatriots in the Mainland Area” – what reads like Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang) propaganda from the Cold War is actually the formula for a successful Taiwanese YouTube show. The channel is called EyeCTV, or “Central Eyeball Television” (眼球中央電視台). Its most-viewed format is a mock news broadcast, in which hosts Shi Wang-mo and Yan Rou-ya present international and domestic news through the lens of a fictitious Republic of China still fixated on “retaking the mainland.”

The unlikely premise attracts between 300,000 and several million views…

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