The writing has been on the wall for KMT’s chances in the election this time around for some time. As I had discussed earlier, the battle between DPP and KMT in the 2016 election is not about independence vs. status quo as it had been 8 years back when Taiwan elected Ma Ying-jeou, or 16 years ago when Taiwan elected Chen Shui-Bian. That battle had been won long ago, with this time everyone agreeing that the status quo is the way to go. The battle this time around is about economics, about what to do with Taiwan’s stagnant wages and rising home prices.
Of course, there are plenty of symbolism that DPP – and hence Tsai – still stands for independence. DPP’s charter, for example, still officially endorses independence. Tsai has also been purposely demure and vague about her stance toward the Mainland, including her public avoidance of acknowledging the 1992 Consensus on the one-China policy.
But I think it’s possible all that is just symbolism. Given that it’s election season, and that the 1992 Consensus include details that allowed both sides to interpret things slightly differently under the broad rubric of a one China policy, I think it’s perhaps understandable Tsai want to do everything to avoid the specter of getting pinned into one specific or another interpretation.
The real reason KMT lost is because it has not properly addressed the following political trends. Read more…
It has been two weeks since “cross-straits” team Peng Shuai (彭帥) (mainland) and Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) (Taipei) won the women’s title at Winbledon. Moments after their win, a Japanese reporter has already created a lasting stir within China. The controversy went as follows, according to Phoenix News Media Ltd (in Chinese):
My translation below:
After the game, a Japanese reporter asked Hieh Su-wei, “Being the first to win a grand-slam as a ‘Taiwanese,’ can you talk about what it means for your ‘country.’ After a short exchange between the two, Peng Shui interrupted. She said, “Excuse me. I am still sitting here. I cannot accept Taiwan is a ‘country’ type of talk. Tennis is sport. We don’t want to bring politics into this. We don’t want to discuss this type of issue. Furthermore, since when we were young, we have always thought of ourselves as a ‘cross-straits’ team.
Like other Asian Americans, I have been following Linsanity over the last 2 weeks or so with great interest and pride. It’s not too often you see a twice-cut bench warmer become a starter and take a professional team in New York by storm like Jeremy Lin (林書豪) has. While the future of Lin as a mega star is not necessarily secure, with some saying that Lin is a phenom only because of his race and others observing that the Knicks has played mostly sissy teams the last couple of weeks, there are plenty of which to be proud even if Linsanity were to end tomorrow.
‘So solidly built into our consciousness is the concept that China is conducting a rapacious and belligerent foreign policy, that whenever a dispute arises in which China is involved, she is instantly assumed to have provoked it.’
— Felix Greene, 1965.
When a superpower is engaging in full hegemonic and supercilious display, another country with slowly increasing economic clout and rising international status can raise apprehension. When countries are used to a bigger country that is settled for some years in a bullying position, someone starting to come close to that bully’s level of power, however remotely, has the potential to raise various concerns.
This rise is often wrongly construed as a zero-sum game – the newcomer challenging the bully’s position. In such a case, the existing bully, in its efforts to manipulate popular conceptions about the comparatively-unknown newcomer, will (hypocritically) spread the myth that the newcomer is, and always has been, overtly aggressive. If this myth-making and spreading is successful, even to a small extent, it can negate the effect that the newcomer might have in compensating for or balancing the bully’s hegemony and its hubris. The newcomer’s assurances about its peaceful rise will then be dismissed as deception. The focal point of the bully’s containment policy will be to encourage and manipulate various types of pawns against the newcomer. If such pawns already exist, then they will be fostered and strengthened, and in case they don’t, new ones will be created (Or as Stephen Walt terms it, “a competition for allies”).
Ma Ying Jieu has won what has been a tough and closely watched election in Taiwan. Emphasizing close relations with the mainland, Ma celebrated the victory as a victory for the people of Taiwan. The DPP, with charismatic (and “native Taiwanese”) Tsai, gave stoic (and “外省人”) Ma a much bigger challenge this time (characterization by my deep-green family-in-laws), losing to Ma by what looks like a 51.6 to 45.63 margin (compared to the 58% to 42% margin in 2008). While the issue of independence has been much toned down this time, relations with the Mainland still dominated the election, with issues of the economy also a major issue.
Fudan University Professor and Director of Center for American Studies, Shen Dingli: “A blow to Sino-US ties”
Below is an Op-Ed from Fudan University professor and its Director of Center for American Studies, Shen Dingli, titled, “A blow to Sino-US ties.” It appeared in China Daily today.
Over the last few days, I have noticed Chinese media taking a strong stance against the U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, albeit this round being upgrades for F-16’s. The Chinese see the U.S. once again violating international law and infringing upon China’s sovereignty. Read more…
The last time the U.S. sold weapons to Taiwan ($6.4 billion worth in January 2010) led to China suspending military-to-military contacts with the U.S.. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who also chairs Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, has subsequently said in public the weapons sale was a mistake. In the news again, looks like Obama is approving the sales of upgrades to Taiwan’s fleet of F-16 jet fighters. As expected, China is warning strong reaction if any sort of deal going through. (See “Backlash expected if US seals arms deal.”) Read more…
In Oct 2008, while visiting a Confucius temple in Taiwan, Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing (张铭清) of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait was shoved around and pushed down. However, I would like to point out that he is also the Dean of the school of journalism of the University of Xiamen and is on a scholarly visit with no official function. After he managed to get into the car, an overzealous attacker even climbed on the roof of the car and jumped up and down. If one want to guess what the cultural revolution looked like, this should be pretty close.
Here’s a video of the incident. You be the judge.
Most people probably don’t know him but I believe he is one of the most influential people from Taiwan. Here is a World Policy Institute interview of Justin Yifu Lin, the current Senior Vice President of World Bank. He was appointed on 2008. On another note Zhu Min was appointed deputy managing director at IMF. Read more…
U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein, on the recent $6.4billion arms sale to Taiwan: “I believe that’s a mistake on our part.”
The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating conversation with U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein, who recently came back from a trip to China speaking with Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji. It reported, “A Conversation With Dianne Feinstein,” where the senator (who is also the chairwoman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee) admitting the February 2010 $6.4billion arms sales to Taiwan, “I believe that’s a mistake on our part.”
(Also read our featured post: “Open Letter to President Obama from Chinese netizen, LTML.”)
Here is a snippet of that WSJ conversation:
Following is an open letter posted on the popular Chinese BBS forum, bbs.huanqiu.com, by a member named “LTML.” The English version of it follows the Chinese in this post. It is addressed to U.S. President Obama on his decision to sell weapons to Taiwan.
President Obama has repeatedly stressed that he wants to reach the people of China. Well, based on what we’ve read in some of China’s BBS’s, we believe the sentiment expressed by LTML is widely and deeply held inside China.
We urge President Obama or his administration to take this view seriously, and to respond and change course. Sovereignty is amongst the highest of core interests of China. There is a huge gap between the Chinese and the U.S. perspective regarding the extent of Chinese sovereignty. Closing this dangerous gap will be better for the two countries and will lead to a more peaceful, stable world.
The following letter has circulated in Chinese blog-sphere for a while. A recent submission of a copy by a reader to Fool’s Mountain, our sister blog, and a call in the Chinese blog-sphere for people to help spread the word has compelled us to publishing it here.
About 5 months ago, Jon huntsman was interviewed by Wall Street Journal and seems positive to bring China-US relations to the ‘next level’ as mentioned in my piece here.
January was a bad month between China-US relations. First there was the google incident. Then the US announced the $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan. Now China wants the beloved panda Tai-Shan back (I’m kidding about the Tai-Shan part.) Though the arms sales seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you go to Chinadaily’s website, there is no less than 10 articles and opinions about this spat. Read more…
In the continuing saga that is Chen Shui Bian’s colorful life, a trial court in Taipei sentenced Chen to life in prison yesterday as the first phase of his dramatic corruption and embezzlement trial came to an end. Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-chen, received a life sentence on corruption charges. Their son and daughter-in-law, convicted of money laundering, received relatively lenient 2 1/2 – and one-year terms. Read more…
The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan twice, once in 1997 and 2001. However, soon after Ma took office on a platform promising to amend ties with the Mainland, a request for the Dalai Lama to visit was turned down by Ma, citing the timing as not proper. A Dalai Lama visit then could have derailed Ma’s plan for closer ties with the Mainland – and still has the potential to do so the same. Read more…
President Hu recently met with a delegation of ethnic minorities from Taiwan, and pledged further support from the mainland for whatever help Taiwan may need. Ethnic minorities in southern Taiwan, living often in remote villages, were the hardest hit group in Taiwan by the recent typhoon. Here is a translation of a story on the People’s Web by China News Wrap:
I have been critical of a previous post by Steve, which (from my perspective) seemed sympathetic to those who may be jockeying for political gain on the back of people’s misery in the wake of the recent Morakot tragedy in Taiwan. I don’t have time to translate all the reports I read or see on T.V., but here is an article by Cindy Cui that offers a more balanced perspective regarding both situation on the ground and current political fallout (Cindy has written many DPP leaning articles in the past, by the way). I am quoting her article published today in Asia Times in full: Read more…
From August 6-9, southern Taiwan was hit with the worst typhoon in 50 years. Per the Associated Press story:
“Morakot dumped more than 80 inches (two meters) of rain on the island last weekend and stranded thousands in villages in the mountainous south. A total of 15,400 villagers have been ferried to safety, and rescuers are working to save another 1,900 people. The storm destroyed the homes of 7,000 people and caused agricultural and property damage in excess of 50 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.5 billion), Ma told the security conference.”
Now that many non-Chinese have moved to China and many native Chinese live throughout the world, cross cultural dating has become far more common. For someone leaving mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and moving to a western country, what are some of the cultural pitfalls and traps you need to avoid and adjustments you need to make? For someone moving to any of those four areas, the same questions apply. Are the “rules” different for Chinese women dating outside their culture as compared to Chinese men doing the same?
My direct experience isn’t too pertinent since I met my wife in Phoenix and she had already been living in the States for nine years, but there were still many adjustments we (mostly I) had to make. She was the first Asian woman I had ever dated so I didn’t fall into the “yellow fever” category. However, when I was living in mainland China and Taiwan, I had a chance to observe, ask questions and learn more from others involved in cross cultural relationships.
This is the full session between Niall Ferguson and James Fallows at the recently held Aspen Ideas Festival. Allen had posted excepts and we promised you the complete discussion as soon as it became available. Niall Ferguson had coined the term “Chimerica” to describe the symbiotic relationship between the economies of China and the United States. He currently sees this relationship as being in jeopardy, while James Fallows feels the relationship is far stronger the most realize. This video is slightly over 75 minutes.
The last time Taiwan tried to apply for observer status in the WHO, China slammed it down. When the SARS crisis arose and China offered Taiwan help, Taiwan denied and declined.
That was 2003, when President Chen of the DPP still governed Taiwan.
Fast forward now six years – how things have changed! Read more…
When Chiang Kai-Shek retreated with the Nationalists to Taiwan, he brought with him over 600,000 pieces of artefacts removed from Chinese imperial palaces during wartime. These artefacts are now stored at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both China and Taiwan have claimed title to these Chinese imperial treasures.
The money laundering saga of self-proclaimed son-of-Taiwan Chen Shuibian continues.
On Wednesday, Chen Shuibian’s son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching both pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in exchange for leniency.
Yesterday, the pair of Giant Pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan finally arrived in Taiwan. More than just normal “diplomatic pandas,” Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan’s represents the culmination of much political wranglings between the Mainland and Taiwan that included formal rejections of the pandas in 2005 by ex-President Chen Shui Bian (now formally indicted for graver crimes, including embezzlement). Read more…
In keeping with the theme of amusing news, let’s take a look at the translation provided in ESWN of a poem written by Chen Shuibian‘s to his wife from prison, after he was detained for allegedly (with his entire family) laundering bribes and embezzled money worth well north of millions in US dollars. Its literary quality is perhaps best summarized by this response from a well known cultural writer: “What kind of shit is this! Please don’t waste my time. Go waste someone else’s time!” Since then, an interesting conjecture surfaced, that Chen could be trying to sneak hidden instructions out of his prison cell through this poem. Read more…
Recently, DPP protesters attacked a Chinese envoy visiting a Confucius temple in Southern Taiwan, causing not only great embarrassment for President Ma, but also the entire Taiwanese people.
Fist fights, shouting matches, physical threats … and now this. Are these signs of a vigorous democracy or an immature – perhaps violent society? Read more…
McCain seems to be getting a little desperate. He seems to be pulling all stops (including going negative and aggressive against Obama) and most recently also trying to inject some foreign politiking into his campaign. Read more…