FT got itself spanked over a loony comment in an otherwise good article on the US and Taiwan. It said:
"In recent weeks US officials, including Barack Obama, the president, have publicly repeated a long-held US policy stating that Taiwan and Tibet are part of China."The comments appeared in a piece from April 7, and were written, said FT in replies to people who wrote them, by a reporter based in Beijing. I have often observed that Beijing reporters write awful stuff on Taiwan. Just another bit of evidence....
WSJ had a really excellent and wide ranging piece on the foreign bride/children issue in Taiwan...
Articles on the foreign bride issue often argue that locals select foreigners because those women still want to have kids, but it is not female preferences but economics that shapes family size. Until the government lowers the cost of having children, gives women more rights over their children, and makes the island more kid-friendly, Taiwanese will continue to shun child-rearing. Note that Montlake's position, which is a commonly heard one, blames the changes in females -- those irresponsible, freedom-embracing femmes who won't stay properly barefoot, preggers, and in the chufang, not the economic costs of having children, for Taiwan's low fertility rate. The fact that females in Taiwan largely make the same choices irrespective of national origin or economic status simply indicates that the problem is not any particular group of females, per se, but some structural factor in Taiwan. Montlake's article thus contains the evidence that refutes its own gender biases.
Fear among some conservative Taiwanese of an overwhelming wave of mixed-nationality children has faded; studies show that most mixed-nationality couples have one or two children, in line with their all-Taiwanese counterparts.
"It's actually kind of disappointing for demographers," says Dr. Lan.
Today, conservatives are more likely to fret about the lack of newborns than the nationality of the mothers. Taiwan's birth rate is among the world's lowest. With prosperity and education, more Taiwanese women have embraced the freedom of single life, leaving more men casting around overseas for wives. In the 1990s marriage brokers began organizing trips for single men, mostly to Vietnam, Indonesia and mainland China.
It's interesting that the mail-order bride phenomenon is invariably regarded as a phenomenon worthy of reportage, but the incredibly large number of foreign males married to local females is taken for granted by everyone and is never explored in the media as a phenomenon worthy of reportage. It seems to be a kind of Orientalization of Taiwanese females in which when the Other marries into Us, this is deemed so normal and understandable that it need not be contemplated, but when Others marry each Other, it is a thing well worth discussing. I suspect gender bias as well; Taiwanese males marrying foreigners is inherently interesting; Taiwanese females marrying foreigners is inherently dull. Females marrying "up" is normal, after all....
Harvard's awesome Michael Porter, boy wonder of business strategy, appeared at a forum in Taipei the other day and pushed Taiwan to adopt ECFA. It was Porter's Competitive Advantages of Nations that first got me interested in Taiwan's economy. Porter clearly knows little about cross-strait politics or about ECFA (if no one knows the contents of ECFA, how can Porter?) or about the effect of China on the nations around it or on China's habit of not honoring its agreements. He was simply voicing theological commitments to the "free trade" position in a forum where they would not be challenged. In B-schools in Taiwan strategy study has the highest status, which means that Porter's voice carries special weight.
Also on tap: Shadows in the Cloud: the investigation into cyber attacks on India and Tibetan activists. Read that and the recent accounts of Chinese cyber attacks on Indian targets, and of course, the Google experience in China, in which attacks on Google originated from Chinese government sources, against Porter's purblind enthusiasm for an ECFA with that nation.
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