Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday, September 30, Taiwan Blog Round Up

Another day, another dollop of wisdom from Taiwan's many great bloggers. Much going on out there in the world, with the ongoing saga of the arms purchase, Li Ao in China.....Some new blogs appeared on my blogroll this week, including Cold Goat Eyes and the leaky pen.


Scott Sommers posts another entry in the ongoing discussion of foreign teachers in Taiwan.

Since so much of the legal apparatus that controls education in the West is controlled by professional educators and their unions, there is no way that foreign teachers, certified or not, are going to get into public schools in the West. On the other hand, in Taiwan, because of the lack of emphasise in public education on workplace skills, the rich can buy the kind of instruction that fee payers everywhere want to buy but can't. And for reasons still not so clear to me, the DPP even more than the KMT, feel pressure to provide some watered-down version of this to masses.

I don't think it is really the lack of emphasis on workplace skills, but the lack of regulation of the cram school system combined with the incessant pressure from the testing system that has resulted in the slow spread of foreigners out of the illegal economy and into the formal one. Once foreigners, demanded for whatever reasons, started showing up in the cram school system, it was only a matter of time before the formal schools would have to incorporate them, or risk looking inferior to cram schools.

This points to a neglected area for investigation: cross-fertilization between the cram school economy and the public school system. They have already overlapped for decades as many high school teachers work in or operate cram schools and cram school classes, though that is strictly illegal (that is also true of many university teachers). This leakage between the two is usually to the detriment of the formal school system -- teachers demand that students in their classes at the high school attend their cram school at night, or they won't receive important test information and will be punished at grade time. The slow migration of uncertified and semi-competent foreign teachers into the formal school system is not some anomaly but simply another realization of the way that the gray market and legal economy intertwine and interact on The Beautiful Island.

Another issue is really whether we are even looking at leakage from the cram school market into the public school system, or whether we are simply seeing another middle-class wannabe movement. Prestigious private schools have had English teachers for years -- I taught at one school in Taipei in about 1990 or 1991 -- and so have expensive private kindergartens. Are those English teachers flowing up from the gray market, or are public schools trying to upmarket themselves by aping the habits of private schools? I submit probably both trends are at work.


David at jujuflop leads a list of entries on the boxing matches in the legislature. This week it was the pan-Green parties on the card as they attempted to lay some smack on the pan-Blues for putting forth unconstitutional bills....

The fact that the DPP & TSU are right to oppose all three of the above proposals shouldn't detract from the fact that they are behaving like idiots in treating the legislature as a wrestling arena. The sooner politicians in Taiwan realise that they have a functional legislative and judicial system, and that civilized nations use these institutions in preference to their fists, the better.

David's piece also offers a good summary of the proposed legislation and why it is harmful to the island's interests. Wandering to Tamshui also comments on the Blue betrayal of the island, and on the scrum in the legislature. I should add that I wish those jellyfish who passed for Dems in our Congress showed half the spirit of the pan-Greens in acting positively on behalf of my own nation's constitution.


The pro-KMT blog Taiwan's Other Side hacks on the DPP and their defense policy.

DPP defense policy right now basically consists of 'don't beat me up because my big brother (the US) will come and beat you up.' Did anyone other than me actually try that strategy in the schoolyard? Let me know if it worked for you, because I got my notebook ripped up and my schoolbag thrown over the fence. When you go around slapping the face of the big bully, you're really asking for it. Chen Shui-Bian's habit of provoking China anytime he needs to win an election may work, but it really hurts Taiwan in the long run. This is the source of the US perception that Taiwan thinks it has a 'blank check' from the US in defense, not an arms bill that charges 3 times the going rate for obsolete diesel submarines. You have to wonder if the US thinks it has a blank check of its own at that price.

I love this post because he managed to write all those paragraphs without once mentioning that DPP policy is to purchase weapons from the US, and KMT policy is to oppose this. Does "Taiwan" think it has a blank check from the US? To the extent that the DPP represents Taiwan as its governing party, then the answer is "no." It is not "Taiwan" but the KMT that is holding up the arms purchases and acting as if it thinks Taiwan has a blank check. Perhaps TOS might want to mention that fact in a similar post. I mean, without that, people might think he is writing slanted anti-DPP propaganda.....


the leaky pen, a blog new to my blogroll, from a college teacher somewhere in the hinterlands of northern Taiwan, contemplates his career against a changing Taiwan in a post entitled Confucius, Drugs, and Women:

As I ponder a continuing my career in things are changing all around; important things that I can't control or understand. Drugs and prostitution, an accelerating violent crime rate, the possibility of war on the horizon...There's probably a connection between all these phenomenon, but I can't say for sure what it is. Very much unlike the Taiwan I used to know, in any case. Today's ROC is a society barreling headlong toward death and depression beneath a precarious veneer of Confucian uprightness. Liu kept both his wife and mistress because to dump one would be dishonorable and to ditch the other would be no "fun" at all. His sole reason for selling drugs, he says, was that his wife and mistress needed the money.

leaky writes with an urgent urban edge, or perhaps an urge to edgy urbanity. Here he comments on his school, a lot more candidly than I ever would on a public forum:

Now is as good a time as any to tell you that, although he's Hakka Chinese, Chairman Lam is one of those howdi-ly-doodle-dee-doo-neighbor type of "Christians" who likes to beat on your door at odd times of the day to talk to you about the Good Book. The kind who is into athletics and likes to brag about his exploits on the court. The kind that likes to give lectures about the evils of women, booze, or greasy foods while trying to get blowjobs from each of the new secretaries he hires each academic year. The kind who tells you "all men are brothers with the Lord" to your face and calls you a "foreign devil" behind your back.

ROFL. Looking forward to some good stuff in the future, tlp!


The Peking Duck, one of Asia's best blogs, pauses for some humorous comments on Romanization on The Isle Beautiful:

For example, the first character I had to learn in China was the one that would help me find an Internet cafe. In China, the character for shang wang (surfing the net) is so distinctive, it jumps out at you - a nifty and stylish box with two big X's in the middle. Here, it's hopelessly different. It looks like a script version of the letter "E" with three squiggly lines underneath it. Maddening. Isn't it time to make things easier for everybody? Isn't it time to leave traditional Chinese to the calligraphers and allow the people to exult in the ease and clarity of simplified characters?

Don't miss the comments either...


Sunday, September 25, thousands demonstrated in Taipei in favor of the arms purchase. Mengshin Journal, always home to great pics, took a few. RJ Hudson also blogged a few pics in scattered posts. MeiZhongTai blogs on the latest words from America on this hot topic:

While I certainly understand Chabot's frustration, I don't think that such comments are helpful. It only reinforces the impression, that I discussed in a previous post on Richard Halloran's article, that America's friendship can be bought one arms contractor at a time. Chabot's speech was certainly the "American version" of the argument I discuss in the Halloran post, but it will certainly be interpretted in accordance with the "Taiwanese version."

I've blogged on this a couple of times, most recently on Justin Logan's piece in the Washington Times, which makes the same error that is made by Chabot here: it's not "Taiwan" that is the problem, but the obstructionism of the pan-Blues. Someone from American needs to come here and break a few heads.
Until the US puts pressure directly on the problem, the behavior of the KMT, nothing will change. Lecturing "Taiwan" is pointless, as it merely rewards the pan-Blues for making Taiwan look bad.


Big Ell gets on the soapbox this week with a long post covering politics....

The Gentle Rant's hero Rober Fisk has been barred from entering the States. I guess the right to free speech doesn't apply to English mudrakers. I wouldn't let him in either. A journalist that actually interviews people on the scene and doesn't stay in hotels with his video phone has no place in the world of journalism. It could also be because John Malkovich hates his guts and wants him dead. The Free New Mexican also reports that a rare albino turkey vulture has also been sighted, what a busy news day in New Mexico.

I totally agree -- keeping Fisk out was another in a long list of shameful and disgusting anti-American behaviors from the Bush Administration.


Writing on a topic near and dear to my heart, Michael Fahey writes at POTS on the Pinglin Exit and its importance for the city of Taipei, and for Taiwan's democracy:

The Pinglin area is environmentally sensitive because it is smack in the middle of the water catchment that supplies water the capital's pampered residents through the Feitsui reservoir. The city and environmental groups are concerned with considerable justification that increased traffic in the area will increase emissions and runoff in the area. Taipei's drinking water (gasp!) might end up like the unpotable water that the hoi polloi in Taoyuan or Kaohsiung put up with. At this, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former Environmental Agency chief Hau Long-bin (郝龍斌) suddenly became concerned. Those election-crazy DPP politicos, they virtuously thundered, are undoing decades of work by the KMT to protect the environment (excuse me while I find somewhere to throw up)!

It's obvious that traffic will never be limited to 4,000 vehicles a day through there. It's close enough to Taipei to make a great bedroom community, and where the exit goes, development in the catchment area is sure to follow. Taiwan runs on construction the way the US runs on military spending (see Gavan McCormack's superb The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence for a great description of how this system works in Japan), a perpetual motion of machine of concrete and public debt, crushing nature and humanity both.


Brian David Phillips blogs on the recent changes to the TOEFL, a topic ignored by most blogs:

Big news . . . An English Test Is Changed, and Some Foreign Students Worry. Of course, the headline is wrong . . . a lot of foreign students in Asia as well as their parents, teachers and the administrators of programs specifically geared towards teaching students strategies for passing the TOEFL are worried. The addition of a speaking component to the TOEFL calls for very pervasive changes in how English is taught in Asia. This also means that bushibans (cram schools) that guarantee test scores will have to change how they teach the TOEFL, relying more on actual language skills instead of on test-breaking strategies aimed at the multiple choice test format.

Well....there might be a need for a change, but I doubt we'll actually see much of a change.


Survived SARS, a blog dedicated to banks in China, comments on a recent WaPo article on the currency appreciation issue in China:

Can I please be quoted somewhere for saying something this inane? At issue, of course, is not the actual exchange rate but the mechanism that governs its movement. Currently, the Chinese central bank does not appear to be committed to a particular rate, which is creating problems of credibility in the market, because the market anticipates a larger appreciation than has occurred.

You're quoted here, man! I think what happened is that when the currency started to rise, all those Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers who operate on razor-thin margins saw that as a threat to their existence. After all, if you make 3-4% profit on every dollar of product sold, and the currency rises 2%, your profits have been chopped in half (you have to use those dollars you got for your products in the USA to buy yuan in China, right?). When the Chinese leadership saw all that foreign investment threatening to disappear, the appreciation was checked. As long as a rise threatens FDI, they will keep the currency down, since their growth is driven by FDI, not by accumulation of human and technological capital by local owners, as in Taiwan. And of course, as you point out, the Central Bank's ability to control the situation and prevent sudden instabilities is also a problem. Gone is predictability, an important factor in investment the currency will stay put over the long run, I'll bet.


Rank posts on a website dedicated to backpacking travel in Taiwan.

Next, the text for a section called "Transport - Choice, Convenience and Comfort," reads, in full, as follows: "On any world map Taiwan looks deceptively small, as it is dwarfed by mainland China. Most of the island is mountainous that travel times are not so short. From end to tip it may take up to eight hours, however most destinations are a short trip and there are numerous options for traveling to suit any budget."

Thanks, folks, for all that useful information on the convenient and comfortable transportation choices available to me.

Damn. Worse than my students.


Cold Goat Eyes, a blog that just found me, writes on living on the Beautiful Isle:

I love Chinese food, of course, I am addicted to dumplings and there is rarely a day that passes when I dont have a fix, but sometimes (only sometimes) I get a craving for Spanish tapas, or some French stinking cheese joint, or even a British fish 'n chip shop (maybe not). Even the corkscrews here are crap. If you get to use it five times you should consider yourself lucky.

Assume it as read that I love this country. I am coming up on ten months here and each day I fall in love with her more, but of course there are things I miss from Europe. The cheesewinebread non-proliferation treaty is one thing I dont like about Taiwan, and I miss the cafes that sell such things.

I don't miss much foodwise, except Mexican food. My wife and I used to buy cheap farmed salmon in Texas which we made into sashimi. I miss that a bunch.


Li Ao's trip to China and his three speeches at Beijing University, Tsinghua U, and Fudan in Shanghai were ignored by many Taiwan bloggers, and dismissed by all. The general opinion of Li Ao among us bignoses is a succint four-letter word. The Forgetful had a good analysis of some of his comments in an interview that explains why:

While I was waiting for Lady D to get ready to go to Grandma Nitti's for breakfast -- well brunch, since we didn't get out of bed until 11.30 this morning -- I flipped through the Chinese-language news channels, and saw Li Ao deliver another groundbreaking wonder of intellectual might during his hugely overrated tour of China.

First, he showed his total lack of anything even resembling a grip on reality by saying that "there is no Taiwan independence problem, there is only a US-China problem." I wonder where he spent the last 25-30 years. You may not support de jure Taiwan indpendence (important distinction, since Taiwan has been a de facto independent country since the Japanese left after WWII) for Taiwan, which is fine, but no one with his head screwed on right can deny that there is a Taiwan independence issue. Oh, I forgot, that's exactly what the PRC's foreign ministry spokesman said. Well, that explains it, then.

Li's a coward....he goes to China with a chance to make the students see the world in a richer and more complex way, and instead he feeds their prejudices. Perhaps he is engaging in some kind of subtle parody of their cupidity by playing to their prejudices, but he comes off as too much of a self-absorbed windbag -- "I am smarter than you because I have read more books than you" -- for me to believe something subtle is going on.


J & J's travel blog tells the story of a failed attempt to BS his way out of paying for a ticket:

The vehicle was a loaner from Huiching, and was officially registered to a foreigner named Andre who had left Taiwan several months before. I planned to hand over Andre's registration papers, and then, if asked, explain that I was tade pengyou–his friend. But I really hoped they would assume I was Andre; as any Taiwanese will tell you, all foreigners look alike.

I told Huiching my plan on the phone the next morning. She was skeptical, and offered to come down and help after work. We already felt bad at having gotten Chinger's scooter towed, and I insisted I could take care of it myself.

I cabbed to the tow yard without a hitch. A Confucius era security guard lowered a clothesline to allow me into the parking lot, and I walked past 70 or 80 imprisoned scooters and cars to an office building with a little payment window. The lot was small, the building unimposing, I figured that I would have no problems.

I handed in Andre's papers, a $1000 bill, and smiled primly yet ignorantly. I hoped that the clerk would speak no English, and, when I cunningly pretended not to understand her Chinese, she would just take my money and send me along.

It grows ever more comical, like one of those sitcom tales...


Daniel at Suitcasing muses about big and small in Taipei:

But Taipei has enough fantastic places where the two tendencies mingle, where one can explore and see strange lovely things, people walking their toddlers in the evening, and bicycle lanes near City Hall MRT, and small parks where old men play chess, and cheap day market streets where coffee bars have their frequent customer's loyalty stamps pinned up behind the counter. Long fancy alleys where boutique shops sell trousers I can't fit into.

I can still recall that feeling, sometimes, of what a wonderland Taipei seemed all those years ago in the Ching Dynasty when I first arrived.


ESWN writes on his deserved popularity in and out of China:

How do people in China find me? Googling a specific subject or topic might be a reason. But the most often stated specific answer is Danwei, especially when they go out of their way with a post like Don't mess with ESWN that has this endorsement: "The best English language blog about China, by far, is called ESWN, or East South West North."

Yup. It's true! Kudos to ya, Richard, for building something wonderful. Speaking of which, his translation of Li Ao's disparaging comments about democracy and Taiwan is now online. Revolting, our Li Ao, like Rush Limbaugh, but without the drug addiction and with actual learning.

★⊙⊥⊿⌇↙∮≠◆ ★⊙⊥⊿⌇↙∮≠◆

Speaking of good blogs, Wandering to Tamshui just keeps getting better and better. This week there was a slew of good posts, including a sharp-eyed look at the submarine purchase, whose shape is mutating faster than bacteria in an extinction event:

How much more trimming and pruning of this shaggy mutt of a deal is it going to take for people to realize that the submarines are nothing more than a vanity purchase for the military?

We need sub-hunters, a butt-load of PAC-3 batteries, and more jets, not a ragtag fleet of diesel-powered U-Boats to make the navy feel like they're finally wearing the big-boy pants. Who's running the show here, Buck Turgid?

The sub purchase is what makes even us strong supporters of the deal shake our heads in wonder. Although I don't read it as a vanity purchase, but as the US assigning a role to Taiwan in a general war against China (diesel subs for closing the Straits), much the way the US assigned the Dutch the role of minesweepers in NATO, and so were embarrassed to find that they had few of their own in the first Gulf War.

In addition, Wandering to Tamshui posted on a very important article in FEER: 2005: The Year China Declined? A very insightful post on a very thought-provoking piece. WtT also has an important analysis of Ma's swing through the south in the context of the 2008 election and Ma's rivalry with KMT bigwig Wang Jin-pyng.

Actually, there's a lot more to Ma's southern jaunt than many give him credit for. Yes, the main reason is to support his boys in this December's upcoming elections, but in his unprecedented decision to hold the CSC meetings he manages to simultaneously stick his thumbs in the eyes of the DPP and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, who still represents a threat to him in his drive to consolidate power within the party. By personally rallying the troops in the South, Ma is putting Wang on notice that Wang's grip in the south isn't a lock while raising his profile among southern voters ahead of the 2008 presidential campaign.

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Tea Masters was there for the introduction of old tea to a new generation.

The event lasted 2 and a half hours, with many speakers, Teaparker amongst them, to teach and tell us about Taiwan's old teas. Such teas are not very well known among the oolong and pouchong/baozhong drinkers. Tea drinkers usually only associate old tea with Yunnan's puerh. One speaker even talked about this misconception in political terms: "Taiwanese, be proud of your old teas! Don't turn to the Mainland for old puer, but discover the uniqueness of Taiwan's oolong." He seemed to imply that oolong had been invented in Taiwan. Fortunately, I was sitting next to Teaparker and he told our table that this was wrong as oolong originated from China (Fujian, if I remember well) and not in Taiwan. (Nothing political here, just a plain fact.)

The Wiki entry for oolong is here. Most sites indeed give Fujian as the origin of oolong, so you can relax, Steph -- Alzheimer's is a long way off....

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Wondering what to do? Try TaiwanFun.Com, which lists events throughout the island. For example....

全國Scene • National Scene
討論版 | 電影 | 音樂經 | 台灣旅遊 | 幽默 | 台灣資訊 | 分類廣告 | 地點指南 | 關於我們

今日台北首頁 Today in Taipei
首頁 | 專欄 | 餐廳 | 夜生活 | 茶與咖啡 | 購物 | 文化休閒 | 地點指南 | 訂閱雜誌

★⊙⊥⊿⌇↙∮≠◆ ★⊙⊥⊿⌇↙∮≠◆

Karl at Chewin on the Chung posts on two perplexing translation problems in China, number 1 and number 2. Don't miss the great Bush jokes at The Gentle Rant this week. NiHowdy blogs on a machine that dispense live lobstersThe Lost Spaceman finds a photo that speaks for itself. Some Cute Little Sayings at lyh0626. Me from Taiwan blogs on foreigners who became locals. The Taipei Kid warns that Rent-a-Taike is here. Congrats to Pinyin Info for its One Year Anniversary. The China Toilet blog captures modern toilets in Shanghai. As always, great photos at 35togo, a better tomorrow, including awesome pics of a spider capturing and binding up a bee, andres, amateur commune, Leftmind,, Photoblogging Taiwan, Roger in Taiwan, unplugged.....if you live in Taichung, I get together for Axis & Allies Ver. 2 frequently, and we are always looking for new victimsplayers, drop me a line....also, like so many bloggers, I'd like to take a moment to give the government the One Finger Salute for making me work on Teacher's Day.

Happy Teacher's Day!

Japan, China, and Nukes

Establishment media organs and political parties in Japan now seem to argue that Japan must have nukes to counter a nuclear-armed China, as this commentary in the Japan Times argues.

A nuclear Japan that remained a U.S. ally would be vastly preferable to a nuclear Japan that was strategically independent. After all, Britain (after the U.S. tried to stop it but failed) acquired nuclear weapons in the form of a sea-based deterrent. That met Britain's strategic needs because (like Japan) Britain is a small populous island lacking strategic depth. And Britain remained a U.S. ally, its nuclear weapons serving usefully to complicate Soviet strategic planning.

The East Asia regional security equation is now changing rapidly. North Korea's having acquired nuclear capabilities as a means of regime survival is setting off a series of consequences that may soon be irreversible. So it's up to China, the U.S. and Japan to decide how they respond to these changes. But if present trends continue, a nuclear Japan seems more likely than not.

Yum. More nukes, a burgeoning cold war.....East Asia will certainly be an interesting place to be doing poli sci on for the next couple of decades....

WARNING: Visa Scam

I meant to blog on this last week...

My son's ARC came up for renewal, so we applied at the foreign police station in Fengyuan (pic above). The following day we got a phone call. I answered the phone. Immediately the man, who knew my son's name and knew he was a foreigner, started firing off questions. For some bizarre reason he thought my wife was the foreigner, and kept trying to ascertain whether she was or not. My wife, listening to me, grabbed the phone and went through the same conversation. The man claimed he was calling from a "branch" of the foreign police. My wife politely told him that we had already processed the matter, and hung up.

The dude was a scammer out to get $$ from foreign spouses of locals. When you deal with these people, be polite, and then get them off the phone. Remember, they work for an organized crime gang connected to the local authorities (in this probably the county government, my wife surmised) and they have your name and address. If you peeve them, they might get revenge.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Taiwan Ranks High in Competitiveness. In Other News: GIGO

The World Economic Forum survey comes out every year, showing that Taiwan's economic places high in competitiveness. This year The Beautiful Isle rates fifth, behind Finland, USA, Denmark, and Sweden. I'm sure this will be ressuring to all the factory owners investing in China (#49, right behind Botswana) because Taiwan's costs are too high, or driving taxis in Taiwan because their business was wiped out by cut-throat competitors from across the water.

One thing one quickly learns if one is serious about being a scholar is to review, not facts, but methodologies. Facts do not exist by themselves; they are constructs of methods. So I stopped by for a moment to view how the World Economic Forum defines "economic competitiveness" and what factors go into its rankings, since I had intuitive objections to the idea that I am living in one of the top five competitive economies in the world (neither my experience of business practices here nor my living standards reflect this finding).

Want to know why Taiwan is so highly ranked? Consider these two measures from the growth definition they use:

Innovation hard data
3.17 US utility patents granted per million population
4.17 Gross tertiary enrollment rate

There is no way on earth, no matter how many patents it get, that China is ever going to do well on a hard measure of "patents per million population." This measure reflects absolutely nothing about the reality of technology research around the world. It heavily favors Taiwan, which has more US patents than most any nation in Asia except Japan, and a small population.

The importance of the patents per population measure cannot be overstated, because the Competitiveness Index bases its methodology on it. Here's the methodology:

Core innovators are countries with more than 15 US utility patents registered per million
population; non-core innovators are all other countries.

For the core innovators, we place extra emphasis on the role of innovation and technology.The weightings for the core innovators are as follows:

Growth Competitiveness
Index for core innovators = 1/2 technology index + 1/4 public institutions index + 1/4 macroeconomic environment index

For the non-core innovators, we calculate the Growth Competitiveness Index values as a simple average of the three component indexes:

Growth Competitiveness Index for non-core innovators = 1/3 technology index + 1/3 public institutions index + 1/3 macroeconomic environment index

At the same time, speaking as someone who has taught in universities around the island, the "gross tertiary enrollmate" rate again tells us nothing about competitiveness, because it tells us nothing about the quality of the university system. Taiwan has very mediocre universities, attended in great numbers. Thus we get an artificial competitiveness boost.

Taiwan's anomalous position is plain from the top 15:


Three Asian nations in the top 15, a list basically of Western industrial democracies with the exception of Japan. And there, on this list, are two small Asian states, Singapore and Taiwan. Why? As far as I can see, because they get lots of patents relative to their small population size, and then benefit from the way the study is weighted.

The problem of the study is that the externalities of innovation are high, especially technological innovation, and difficult to quantify. Let's imagine that a university in Shanghai makes a single patent for improved plastic bag making technology. It's just a single patent, but anyone in China that the university licenses it to can legally use it, along with all the ones who will steal it. The benefits of that single patent spread throughout the society, and they do not spread through it in a way that is proportional to the number of people in China. Every Chinese person can partake of the benefit of better plastic bags, and everyone who uses a plastic bag obtains the benefit of that technology more or less completely, and that is true whether the population is 1.3 million or 1.3 billion. Yet it is just a single patent. In other words, the effect of innovation is independent of the number of people in a society. Using a population ratio to measure technological innovation is much worse than wrong -- it is irrelevant.

I am also skeptical of how Taiwan could score well on the macro index.

Macroeconomic stability hard data
2.13 Government surplus/deficit
2.14 National savings rate
2.16 Inflation
2.15 Real effective exchange rate
2.17 Lending–borrowing interest rate spread
2.20 Government debt

Sure enough, for high innovators the effect of the macro index is reduced, another benefit to Taiwan -- for core innovators, the macro index counts 1/4, for non-core innovators, it weighs in at 1/3. Taiwan's debt can balloon all it wants, says the World Economic Forum, so long as it keeps churning out patents.

Note that this index does not consider such things as foreign direct investment, one very practical measure of competitivess -- are people willing to invest in your country? If that were the case, Europe would be severely punished, since FDI into the EU from outside of it fell by half last year. If Finland is so competitive, how come it attracts less FDI from outside the EU than Cyprus? I am not claiming that FDI is some definitive measure -- any measure of competitiveness is inherently arbritrary and value-laden. But it seems to me that investors make very different assessments of competitiveness than the World Economic Forum.

Consider also the way the government spending defines "waste."

6.06 Is the composition of public spending in your country wasteful, or does it provide necessary goods and services not provided by the market?

How did Taiwan score well on this question with its vast array of government-owned business, which, as Robert Wade noted 15 years ago, made it the number one country for government ownership of business outside the old Soviet bloc? Additionally, I have simply ignored the questions about the judiciary and about government corruption.

I don't think we are looking at a document that says anything very meaningful about Taiwan's economic competitiveness. Instead, what we are seeing is an artifact of the methodology. I think that the hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese businessman who choose to set up shop in China instead of Taiwan are saying something very different, and much more pessimistic, about Taiwan's competitiveness. I hope the government does not use such "studies" to re-assure itself that Taiwan is moving in the right direction economically, socially, and institutionally.

UPDATE: 10/4 ESWN looks at the same survey here.

Confucius Out, China's Military Build Up In

Teachers of Chinese took to the streets in Taiwan today to protest the decline of Confucian teachings in the curriculum.

Dozens of teachers of Chinese took to the streets in Taipei yesterday to protest against the neglect of Confucian teachings, while the nation paid tribute to the sage on the occasion of his 2,555th birthday.

The birthday of Confucius is also marked as Teachers' Day. It is no longer a national holiday, however.

Each with a copy of The Analects of Confucius in hand, the teachers marched in front of the Confucian temple in Talungtung, calling for reinstitution of the teachings of the sage to senior high school curricula.

The teachers were met by Mayor Ma who assured them that China is Confucius....and refuted by the Ministry:

The Education Ministry cut one Chinese class a week and ended the teachings of Confucius, including The Analects and Mencius, as required courses in high schools.

The league, which organized the protest march, wants the Ministry of Education to retract its decision. High school students have to be given five Chinese classes a week and the courses made mandatory again.


The Ministry of Education denied it neglects the teaching of Chinese and pays no attention to the teachings of Confucius.

"We reduced the Chinese teaching hours," a spokesman said. "But otherwise there is no neglect whatsoever," he added.

Students can elect to study the teachings of Confucius for exactly the same hours a week as before. "The only change is from 'required' to 'elective' courses," the official said.

Whoops! Seems like students don't want to elect Confucius. Naturally, in the best traditions of Confucius, they should be forced!* Could that be part of the dastardly de-Sinification process so feared by the students in China? Or maybe the students feel that Confucius is dull, especially the way he is presented in high school classes. I'm inclined toward door number 2 on that one. The view of an idealized Chinese culture as cultural-hegemony paradigm was expressed by students and teachers attending Li Ao's speeches in China this week. Here's one at Fudan U in Shanghai, courtesy of ESWN:

Q: I am a teacher in the History Department at Fudan University. I want to ask you a question about Taiwan history textbooks. When Bai Yansong interviewed you and also when you delivered the speech at Tsinghua University a few days ago, this problem was brought up. Do you think that the controversies brought by the Taiwan history textbook prepared by Du Zhengsheng and Zhou Liangkai can be ignored? You said that when a child grows up, he will get his national and cultural identity. But when we think about this, Taiwan independent elements like Du Zhengsheng and Zhou Liangkai grew up as children. At that time, there wasn't even the systematic de-Sinofication process in the textbooks and they became Taiwan independent elements all the same. Your expectation for the children is like a laissez-faire approach. Do you think that will be effective against this systematic de-Sinofication process?

Taiwan's "de-Sinofication process" dates back to the Japanese period. Maybe someone ought to teach that history teacher some history.....more interesting is the way Chinese participants in this debate all stake out an either/or position on the definition of "Chinese" culture. What they can't accept is that Taiwan could be Chinese yet define its own rivulet of the great stream of Chinese cultural tradition. Further, it is almost too easy to point out that the students are there listening to a speech at a university in China, an institution organized in ways brought in from the West, engaged in western-style speech and Q&A session, all dressed in western clothing, wearing glasses and wristwatches, underweat and bras, sanitary napkins and handkerchiefs, typing on computers and sneaking a listen on their MPG players to rock and pop, and then going to home to watch the news on the TV and internet, and complain about the lack of free speech and respect for human rights....I for one am reassured to see that the resolute students of Fudan are out there resisting the tide of de-Sinification.

Speaking of sinicization, there seem to be quite a lot of fascinated-fantasy articles on China's military build-up lately....Reuters offers this one:

If the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet one day sails to Taiwan's defense, China's large fleet of submarines could be lurking with a lethal surprise.

The submarines, waiting along Taiwan's Pacific coast, could fire a barrage of "Sizzlers," devastating anti-ship weapons that pop out of the water, spot aircraft carriers or escort ships, then drop near the water's surface, accelerating to supersonic speeds for the kill. Little can be done to defend against a "Sizzler" attack.

"You're pretty much a sitting duck," said Larry M. Wortzel, a former U.S. military attache in Beijing who's now an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.

The article also tries to balance the good with the bad....

Restraint may be advisable, given the lack of combat experience of PLA officers and rank-and-file alike since a short war with Vietnam in 1979. Moreover, training of conscripts and soldiers, while improving, still trails that of the U.S. military.

"Everybody who comes into the U.S. military knows how to drive a car. They can drive a Humvee away. But I don't think that's true for the PLA," said Dennis J. Blasko, a former military attache in Beijing who is an author on Chinese military matters.

Another article today discussed China's purchases of weapons from Russia and our ally Israel.

The relationship has proved thorny, straining Israel's relationship with Washington. U.S. officials first grew angry when Israel helped China develop its F-10 fighter jet, almost identical to the Israeli Lavi fighter, which was designed with more than $1 billion in U.S. aid.

In 2000, an angry White House thwarted Israel's plans to go through with a potential $1 billion deal to equip China with the Phalcon radar system.

A new crisis erupted this year in April. Washington grew angry that Israel appeared to be responding to a Chinese request to upgrade Israeli-made Harpy attack drones. The Harpy drones, first sold in 1997, can destroy enemy radar transmitters. The Pentagon subsequently announced restrictions on sharing information with Israel.

A story I read earlier today also claimed that the new Chinese fighter was developed with technology from the F-16 transferred from Pakistan. It's good to know our allies support us, and support small nations threatened by great powers.

*Sarcasm alert.

Axis Allies: Midweek Fest

Karl, my son, and Malv study the Big Board

Two rounds of A & A last night as good friends came over for some awesome A & A. In the first game Karl rolled over Russia and I conceded on the second turn. We started another one about 8, with my son playing the UK, me as Germany, Malv as Japan, and Karl as US and USSR.....

...about 11:15 Karl left and my son finally went to bed. He had acquitted himself brilliantly. Karl and I were covinced that it was a winning position for the Allies, but Malv insisted that he could win as the Axis. So I switched to the Allies to play it out against Malv as the Axis.

As it turned out, he was right and Karl and I were 3 am the situation was hopeless. The UK Navy and Army were wiped out, the US Navy was far from home in the Baltic, and the Japanese and Germans were about to eat Russia. Incredibly, I staged a sneak invasion of Japan, and emerged victorious. Malv staggered out the door at 3 AM into a cool September night. Hope he got home safe.

The final turn: as Russia is about to die in the Japanese/German pincer, the US pulls the game out its ass by taking Japan.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Foreign Affairs publishes senior Asian expert Lucian Pye's capsule review of

Dangerous Strait: The U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis. Edited by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker. : Columbia University Press, 2005, 288 pp. $39.50

This collection takes seriously the notion that for the United States, the Taiwan Strait is one of the world's most dangerous spots, because policy misjudgments or a mere accident could result in war with China. The danger is all the greater because relations among the three powers -- the United States, China, and Taiwan -- rest on a body of murky verbal formulations. To illustrate this point, in her last chapter, Tucker goes over the complicated and convoluted history of Washington's policy of "strategic ambiguity," which requires convincing Beijing that the United States will defend Taiwan if China attacks while simultaneously convincing Taipei that the United States will not defend it if the Taiwanese provoke a Chinese attack. (The only thing worse than this policy of murkiness, Tucker concludes, would be a policy of clarity.) Together, the contributors successfully explain the historical evolution of the cross-strait situation and provide solid analysis of the complex relations among the three powers, allowing readers to appreciate the nuances in more recent events. Although they generally admire Taiwan's successful development of a democracy, they warn of the danger of a growing sense of Taiwanese identity that, when combined with popular politics, could lead to calls for Taiwanese independence -- a move that Beijing has said it will not tolerate.

Broken record time: You know, it's all those mad Taiwanese and their quest for democracy. The Taiwan Straits are the only place in the world where one guy can point 750 missiles at the other, and the foreign policy establishment can aver as one man that it is the victim who is crazy. Just imagine if this principle was applied to their daily lives:

ASIAN EXPERT: Officer, my neighbor owns 750 assault weapons and look! They are all pointed at my house. Last year he fired shots across my lawn. He keeps saying he is going to kill me, too. Can you do something?
POLICEMAN: What's wrong with that? Why are you complaining? You're the crazy one here! Shut up and quit asking for rule of law! What's wrong with you!


Yingge Ceramics Festival

Those of you in Taipei might want to visit the Yingge Ceramics Festival....

The Tourism Bureau announced the upcoming 2005 Yingge International Ceramics Festival at a press conference at its Taipei visitor center on Monday. This has been designated as one of Taiwan's large-scale tourism festivals to take place over 17 days from October 7 to 23 in Yingge, Taipei County.

Yingge has more than a 200-year ceramics-making history. Originally, it produced daily-use items such as cups and dishes. However, due to competition from other countries, the ceramics industry experienced a decline over the past several decades. It has since been undergoing something of a revival due to a shift in focus on ceramic art and the opening of the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum about five years ago.

For more information, call the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum at (02) 8677-2727 or go online to

Interview on Taiwan Cinema

Those of you interested in the local cinema may enjoy this interview with a local documentary director on her new film and on Taiwan history: The new new Taiwan cinema: An Interview with Chien Wei-Ssu

Along with Kuo Chen-ti, director Chien Wei-ssu made Viva Tonal -- the Dance Age in 2003, a two-part TV movie airing on PTS. Its surprising popularity led the producers to edit a theatrical version which debuted commercially in May of that year. Former president Lee Teng-hui publicly hailed the film for preserving the world of '20s and '30s Taiwan from the point of view of its pop music. The theatrical release became a small sensation, and earned best documentary honors at the Golden Horse Awards, Taiwan's answer to the Oscars.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Washington Times: Taiwan Must Defend Itself

The Washington Times published a Commentary by Justin Logan today on Taiwan's need to defend itself:
The reason it has the luxury to do so, according to Taiwan expert James Mulvenon, is Taiwan's belief in a "blank check of military support from the United States."

Unfortunately, the Bush administration has not convinced Taiwan it does not have a blank check from the United States. By refusing to put adequate force behind the negotiations over the special budget, the administration has conveyed it is prepared to endure indefinite Taiwanese procrastination. Without more serious U.S. pressure, Taiwan's government may continue to de-emphasizing defense spending, even as it greatly increases its social spending.

Unfortunately Logan's expert fundamentally misreads the situation. The Pan-Blues oppose the weapons purchase not because they have faith in the US to defend Taiwan, but because they support Beijing and not Taiwan -- they oppose it because because it helps Taiwan defend itself. If Washington implies that it won't defend Taiwan, then the KMT will be delighted. More pressure on Taiwan will only backfire -- after all, Washington will be pressuring the government to pass a weapons budget, which it would love to do but can't because it doesn't control the legislature (does Washington ever notice basic facts of this nature?). If Washington really believes that the problem is a communication problem, then "communicating" with "Taiwan" won't solve the problem. Washington needs to focus on the cause of the problem: the intrasigence of the Blues, and the fact that the weapons packaged does not contain weapons that are an easy sell.

Realistically the subs are useless to Taiwan; what we need here are at least another 400 high powered fighters plus copious quantities of spare parts and ammunition. It is difficult for even supporters of the weapons purchase to make a reasonable case for the purpose of the subs when they are three times more expensive than the usual world price, and will arrive spread out over many years, rendering their deterrent impact impotent. If the US was really serious to the defense of Taiwan (as opposed to envisioning Taiwan as an allied corps under US command with responsibilities in an overall strategic situation determined by US, not Taiwanese, needs) it would sell us weapons we could use now. Like fighter-bombers.

The second problem Washington must face is that the problem is not President Chen and the pro-democracy cohorts. Washington is so used to thinking of Taiwan's independence movement as problem to be solved that it cannot actually perceive it as an opportunity to be grasped. This is not entirely Washington's fault; as its information sources are colored by Blues, and it perceives Taiwan through Blue lenses. Many analysts now in the mid and upper echelons were trained on texts written by pro-KMT writers during the 1970s and 1980s. For many years the KMT's grip on Washington was as good as anybody's. Hence one of the most frustrating aspects of this situation for those of us in Taiwan and watching it outside, who are free from this instituational bias, is getting the US to see what is right in front of its eyes: namely, that the DPP is eager for cooperation with it and opposed to China. Whereas the KMT supports China and has already attempted to call down Chinese intervention once, in the staged demonstrations last year after the KMT suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Presidential elections. Which of the two parties is more likely to provoke a war?

What Washington needs to do is not "communicate" with "Taiwan," but send a credible emissary to the KMT and the PFP, the two pro-China parties, that they need to mend their ways. They need to be sat on, hard, or they are going to provoke a war with China, a war that the DPP has studiously avoided, and that the US can ill afford now, with its broken army, broken budget, and divided population.

Further, the pan-Blue obstructionism is not simply a fact of weapons procurement. It is taking place up and down the government -- one of the pan-Blue's goals is to prevent the DPP from governing Taiwan to the extent it possibly can. The weapons purchase is hardly the only legislation desperately needed and ruthlessly held up -- one thinks also of the Control Yuan and water policy, to name only two. The Blues are out to destroy a free and independent Taiwan. Washington needs to understand that the weapons deadlock cannot be broken until the Blues make a general decision to terminate other legislative blockades. Washington needs a functional and growing Taiwan, if its containment strategy against China is going to be pursued. For the sake of that alone, the Bush Administration needs to get someone over here with the credibility and clout to convince the KMT (not "Taiwan") that they are going down the wrong path.

Hence, Logan's statement....

The administration seems to be turning up the heat. Edward Ross, a senior Pentagon official, gave Taiwan a stern warning last week. Mr. Ross told Taiwanese defense officials at a meeting in San Diego that, "We cannot help defend you if you cannot defend yourself." While that was a helpful measure, there are a number of additional tactics the administration could use if Taiwan continues to refuse the special budget.

...focuses on the wrong target. It is not "Taiwan" that is refusing the special budget. It is the pro-China parties. Warnings like this one cited by Logan...

But if Taiwan cannot reach a consensus on the nature of the Chinese threat, the Bush administration may want to point out -- as Rep. Rob Simmons, Connecticut Republican, did recently -- that blocking the special budget "tells the United States... that Taiwan's leadership is not serious about the security of its people or its freedom."

....simply show that the speaker has no understanding of the situation. If Rep. Simmons wants to pass along the warning, he needs to show up here and break some KMT heads.


UPDATE: Logan's blog; scroll down for the article.

UPDATE: Richard Halloran has a Commentary in the Japan Times today that profiles the US Pacific Command's view.

After studying Taiwan's defenses, the U.S. officers said, the admiral has urged Taiwanese forces to acquire more strictly defensive weapons. Those include missiles for aerial interceptors, ground-based antiaircraft missiles, attack helicopters and mines to defend the beaches against amphibious invaders, and transport helicopters to move troops against invading paratroopers.

Officers in the Pacific Command headquarters have suggested that the arms package featuring offensive weapons, including the diesel-electric submarines and destroyers that Bush officials offered to sell Taiwan in 2001, be allowed to fade away. It has languished in Taipei's legislature due to opposition by the majority Nationalist Party.

Maybe US officials ought to get on the same page, eh? Quit lecturing Taiwan when they themselves have no idea what they want....and re the discussion that MeiZhongTai and I had a while back on Taiwan's less-than-competent military:

The U.S. officers said Fallon would like to see better coordination among ground, sea and air forces in Taiwan, long a source of criticism by American military offices. Similarly, he has instructed his staff to find ways to coordinate U.S. and Taiwanese operational planning. Several uniformed U.S. officers have been assigned to the quasi-official embassy in Taipei to work on that project.

Fukuyama and the Neocons

Forgive the intrusion of American politics, but the American Prospect has published an interesting article on former neo-con and social scientist and public intellectual Francis Fukuyama on the failure of the Iraq war. Fukuyama is just three years behind the rest of the world in recognizing stupidity, defeat and failure.

Protests, Weapons, Armaments, Lies...

Incredible weekend! Big protest for the arms purchases in Taipei. (Taipei Times, Taiwan News). Decent turnout, too. Sadly I was too busy to go. I hope some of you Taiwan bloggers out there captured the event. The Taipei Times said:

A 53-year-old clothing factory owner, who only gave his family name, Lin (), attended the march with his wife. He said he hasn't missed a pro-independence activity in 20 years, and that he was happy to see more people than ever having a clear national identification as well as the courage to speak out.

Lin said that although the turnout yesterday seemed rather light, "I think most Taiwanese agreed that we need adequate arms to resist China and protect ourselves."

A 25-year-old man surnamed Chang () and his girlfriend, surnamed Kang (), were among a few younger marchers. Chang, who makes music for TV programs, said they attended the march because they don't want the nation to be unified with China, a country that has persistently been hostile to Taiwan.

"I support Taiwan's independence and I think Taiwan will be independent in the long run. But first and foremost, Taiwan has to have the power to protect itself," said Chang, who has taken part in pro-independence activities since college.

Was KMT legislative leader Wang Jin-pyng' remark that the legislature should debate the bill in a free and rational way ...

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday that the long-stalled arms procurement package deserves free and rational discussion in the legislature.

.....a signal that the Pan-Blues can come around on this? I think "free" debate is possible, but "rational" might be asking a bit much of the hockey players who inhabit our legislature.

Ma Ying-jyeou, the first invertebrate ever elected to public office in Taiwan, was down south campaigning for local KMT candidates. Never one to miss a moment to serve his masters in Beijing, our hero from Hong Kong claimed that the DPP paid no heed to the arms deal.

Ma, on the campaign trail in the southernmost county of Pingtung with a KMT group, rebutted Chen's accusations in Central America and the Caribbean over the past several days that Taiwan's opposition parties have been opposing the arms procurement project because they want to curry favor with Beijing.

Discounting Chen's remarks, Ma said that the U.S. agreed in 2001 to sell the three weaponry items to Taiwan, but the DPP government did not submit a bill in this regard until three years later. This, Ma claimed, indicates that Chen and the DPP did not pay major heed to the matter (emphasis mine).

This kind of statement is what is commonly known in English as a "lie." Lien Chan tried this one already this summer in a letter to the US Congress. The Taipei Times published the comprehensive refutation:

However, given the lengthy bureaucratic process for submitting weapons purchase requests -- an average of 22 months -- it is unlikely that the MND could have submitted a budget request any earlier than mid-2003. In order to expedite the procurement of systems that were deemed vital to national defense, the president ordered the MND in July 2003 to submit a special request for the three weapons systems included in the budget.

As it was not until 2003 that a special budget was first proposed, it is not clear what Lien is referring to when he cites "a figure of NT$280 billion" offered in 2002.

Finally, a former senior Pentagon official said that Taiwan "did not decide to pursue the PAC-3 until spring of 2003, after discussions with senior US officials," while it was impossible for the Taiwanese navy to submit a budget request for submarines until 2003, as the US navy did not even release its independent cost estimate for the subs until December 2002.

Lien then claims in his letter that "the `explanations' of the [MND] have been no more than a few sporadic brief pages and slides."

Yet according to media reports and the MND, Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) has personally met with every legislator in the Legislative Yuan, and has also briefed each legislative caucus on the issue at least once.

The MND was also responsible for printing brochures and charts regarding the special arms budget, which were distributed to the public, and has even erected billboards outside of military facilities explaining its position on the special arms budget.

Despite this high-profile offensive by the MND, the KMT legislative caucus has successfully blocked the special budget 26 times since it was first submitted. Each time, the obstruction occurred in the Procedure Committee, not the Defense Committee, which would normally be responsible for carrying out a debate about the bill's pros and cons.

Ma's willingness to repeat this bilge goes a long way to expose just what kind person he is. My wife and I learned this back in the 1990s when we were living in Neihu. During the Chen Shui-bian administration, the brothels in our neighborhood were closed. After Ma became mayor, they all quietly reopened. We knew how hollow the heart under that facade of integrity really was.

In a bit of related news, Janes reports that two of Taiwan's subs are to be armed with Harpoon missiles that can be used against land facilities.

Taiwan plans to equip its two Dutch-built submarines with Harpoon anti-ship missiles that could be used to attack key Chinese naval bases, Jane's Defense Weekly said.

If all goes smoothly, the two Sea Dragon diesel electric submarines would be armed with UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, the defense weekly said in an article to be published Wednesday.

It said the U.S. navy had awarded McDonnell Douglas Corp, a Boeing subsidiary, a contract to coordinate and execute an on-site survey of the submarines for this purpose.

Submarine-launched Harpoons are pre-loaded into a capsule and launched from a torpedo tube. The capsule rises to the surface and launches the missile.

"If Taiwan procures the Block 2 Harpoons with coastal target suppression, Taiwan's submarines will have the capability of attacking coastal, in-harbor and land targets," Jane's said.

"This will place China's key naval bases of Shantou, Xiamen, Sandu, Xiazhen, Shanghai and Zhoushan in Taiwan's crosshairs," it said

The Harpoon missile deal, following Russia's sale of Kh-41 anti-ship missiles to China, was part of a 2001 U.S. arms package.

The construction of this is interesting, noting that the missiles can attack China itself. Subs are inherently offensive weapons, which is why for years Washington routinely denied Taipei's requests for them. It appears that the US may well be resurrecting the old view of Taiwan as a proxy army it can use against China. "Be nice! Or I'll unleash Chen Shui-bian!" Washington does not have Taiwan's interests at heart and those of us here would do well to keep that in mind. People often complain that the mad DPP is going to embroil us in war with China, but neither Washington nor Beijing has revealed any especially gift for rationality. As the alleged old Chinese saying goes, when two elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.....


Sunday, September 25, 2005

More on those giant spiders....

Pagebao, an Italian blog that blogs on Taiwan, also shares an interest in the local spiders. In Ragni di Taiwan, which I assume is Italian for "Badass Critters that are likely to scare the shit out of you in Taiwan" amongst the Italian descriptions of these awesome arachnids I found this gem in English:

"Mostly harmless, but they have inadvertently killed some 20 people over the years. The people died either from fright or tripping over as they tried to avoid or escape from their rather strong webs."

You didn't know it, but you were near death, Jason....

Pagebao also provided some good links, including this one on the Golden Orb Spider and also a link to another page that calls it a Giant Wood Spider. He also links to an Aussie forum discussion.

Taiwan News Forum on Redistricting in Taiwan

The Taiwan New website regularly offers forums that take an in-depth look at important Taiwan issues. This week's forum is on redistricting and government in Taiwan. Although most people dismissed Annette Lu's remarks that the capital of the island should perhaps be moved, she put her finger on a problem that plagues many nations: administrative districts that do not reflect economic and social realities:

After Taiwan revised its Constitution in 1997 and eliminated its provincial status, the status of the Fujian Provincial Government set up by the Republic of China in Taiwan became vague. In point of fact, the status of the Fujian Provincial Government and the Taiwan Provincial Government were always a bit different. The Fujian Provincial Government in Taiwan had its offices in Sindian, Taipei County before, but after a farm rental reduction land reform movement, the provincial offices were moved back to Jincheng in Kinmen. The Fujian Provincial Government and the Taiwan Provincial Government had corresponding organizational structures, but there was never a Fujian Provincial Legislative Assembly, which made its status very peculiar.
Read on. This is a two-part forum, so you'll have to wait for the back end.