Visceral politics across the Strait: Food and risk in China–Taiwan relations

Karita Kan, Samson YUEN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The globalization of food systems has led to the increased circulation of food risks across national boundaries. While there is a rich literature on the domestic risk politics of food safety in China, much less attention has been given to the external dimension of China’s food safety issues and how these interplay with relations in the international arena. This article examines the visceral politics of food and risk in China–Taiwan relations. Drawing on the scandal of the export of tainted milk products from China to Taiwan in 2008 and the ongoing food safety debates surrounding the implementation of the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, we argue that perceptions of and responses to food risks cannot be considered in isolation from the political, economic and social context of cross-strait relations where different state, societal and media actors interact in the construction of risks. Rather than being a purely technical matter of safety assessment, the identification, representation and management of food risks are shown to be a social process that is contested at all times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-462
Number of pages20
JournalChina Information
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

User-Defined Keywords

  • food safety
  • risk
  • cross-strait relations
  • food trade
  • food activism


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