(Gina Song Lopez)
As a PhD candidate at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies my project focuses on the development and expansion of the Plant-based/Vegan movement in Taiwan and China. My interest in this topic draws from the emergence of climate and animal advocacy discourses in the region. Not eating meat in East Asia has traditionally been associated with vegetarian Buddhism and is generally accepted as a religious practice. However, in recent years there has been a noticeable expansion of motivations to adopt veganism and vegetarianism marked by the growth of the plant-based food market. The new generation of vegans and vegetarians are concerned about issues of animal rights, environmental protection, and health. This project studies the emergence of this new movement with the cases of food advocacy in Taiwan and China. It is particularly interested in examining how ‘new’ veganism is understood and promoted locally. Therefore, it is also concerned with how concepts about animal ethics and sustainable lifestyle are translated into the Chinese language.