Saturday, January 08, 2011

Polly Sigh

Caught these advocates of Taiwan independence in Dongshih while out biking today.

"Men no longer fear Heaven so much as they used to. They are more willing to defend themselves; and now that they are better equipped, the gods are less willing to face them."
"Then Sam is winning. Across the years, he is beating them."

The Asahi Shimbun remarks on the "spending spree" of China in Taiwan. Despite its thoroughly pro-Beijing slant (Chen caused tension -- not China, of course -- and China is interested in "reunification" not annexation/unification), it manages to get the story right....
Amid the more relaxed atmosphere between Taipei and Beijing, local Chinese officials have engaged in a spending spree in Taiwan in an apparent effort to soften resistance against reunification on the island.

And although those delegations signed contracts worth a staggering $20 billion (about 1.7 trillion yen) with various Taiwanese entities last year, the consensus in Taiwan seems to be that China's reunification ploy will prove futile.

Since Ma Ying-jeou became Taiwan's president in May 2008, Taipei has been trying to reduce tensions with Beijing brought about by the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
$20 billion! Do we have that much betel nut about? The article notes:
Chinese officials have also taken into account Taiwan's political calendar. In October and November, governors, mayors and their deputies of Chinese provinces and special municipalities refrained from visiting Taiwan. The visits only resumed in mid-December, when Ji Lin, a Beijing vice mayor, led a delegation.

A Taiwan source said Chinese officials stayed away because of the mayoral elections in five major Taiwan cities in late November. There were concerns that even a minor comment during that period might have given momentum to the opposition parties.

Although trade ties are growing tighter, reunification is an entirely different issue. Even the ruling Nationalist Party is showing concerns about Beijing's motives.

In October in the Legislative Yuan, Tsai De-sheng, the director-general of the National Security Bureau, was asked about the visits by local government officials.

He acknowledged: "It is an effort by China for reunification."
The Asahi piece correctly notes that the spending spree will likely have no effect on the hearts and minds of the locals, who are quite cognizant of the purpose of all this "goodwill." The reporter noted the island's polls and collected this judgment from both DPP and KMT sources.

This reluctance to be annexed to China is also apparent in recent polls. Liberty Times reported this week on the recent Mainland Affairs Council poll, saying that the 'status quo now, independence later' crowd had risen to 17.6%, the highest ever. An additional 6.4% want independence now, while 34% want 'status quo, decide later', and 28% want permanent status quo. Even if you assume none of the 34% want independence, essentially 52% of the population wants a permanent status that is not being part of China. And of course a sizable portion of the 34% uncommitted are pro-independence. That's in a government poll, too.

The Election Studies Center at NCCU also has a similar poll out with similar numbers. They also put out a poll on how people in Taiwan identify themselves. The long slide of "Chinese" is quite dramatic, now less than 4% of the population. The Ma effect is quite clear -- since 2008 the number of people identifying themselves as "Chinese and Taiwanese" has fallen from 44% to 39% while the number identifying themselves as "Taiwanese" has risen from 43% to 52%. And this poll, recall, is from what used to be the KMT political warfare university.

The identity poll provides another window on the DPP vote gains during the Ma Administration. The growth in the Taiwan identity doesn't translate into large DPP gains at election time for many reasons - though the two can't be completely unrelated -- but it does show that over time, the pro-Taiwan side is winning the argument about who the locals are.

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Anonymous said...

The Chinese Mother bit is pretty scary, the pictures as well as the text. I hope its supposed to be irony... but I guess it isn't. Keep the Aspidistra flying.

blobOfNeurons said...

One of the pitfalls that the "Chinese Mothers" don't realize about their style of parenting is that when successful, the child may become overly reliant on external validation as motivation. This can lead to lackluster results when the child grows up and has to live a life of his own.

Taiwan Echo said...

"The Chinese Mother bit is pretty scary"

It is. The pain of being a kid in Chinese(Eastern) society is that you are part of elements in an assembly line --- yes, Chinese education is an assembly line. No matter what shape you are, you are forced to fit into the only one frame, in which you are expected to behave just like everyone else and free thinking is not welcome.

What if you can't fit? You will be treated by adults as a bad kid. Many kids might actually go bad because their parents think they are.

Anonymous said...

"The Chinese Mother bit is pretty scary"

The article's also pretty scary in that it's thinly veiled fetishism of East Asian women. To prove that it's the women, the family they focus on is mixed.

I don't see how you get an article out of a couple of examples without even an attempt at statistics.

Although the substantive reporting of the WSJ is so much better than the NYTimes, I highly doubt a piece like this would get past the editors of the Times.

Anonymous said...

In another note, an article about Pentagon giving a rats ass about China's US-targeted military programs:

Hope it's not just lip-service...

Okami said...

Dog whistle: Rupurt Murdoch owns WSJ and his current wife is Chinese. He is also trying to get a better foothold in China for his commercial endeavors. The mainlanders would feel this piece gives them big face and would be a nice piece of propaganda in their quest to get Chinese women to bear children.

I wonder what would happen if we changed the good terms to bad ones and inserted another minority group. How one of the few(only?) newspapers that I would actually buy runs a piece of racialist crap that would be better suited for La Raza, KKK, Aryan Brotherhood or Black Panther newsletter I just can't fathom. Did the editors get ordered to release it? This would be a perfect time to skewer them. Why not just talk about the Jews? What do you expect when the elite of country flee their own country and come to one where they are allowed to excel without a reasonable fear of govt diktat taking everything away.

One of the things she fails to mention is that while Chinese do tend to excel they also have a higher(by +2-3%) drop rate than national average in the US.

Michael Turton said...

That's interesting, Okami, on the drop rate. Someone instanced a Lancet piece that noted that nearly 1 in 5 Chinese suffer from some mental problem as DSM defined.

Michael Turton said...

Also CHua doesn't mention that parental control is enforced by violence.

Anonymous said...

In his essay Pop in Hell: Representations of Purgatory in Taiwan, a fantastic essay that looks at why Han representations of Hell include images of demonic torture and violence against the souls of the dead, David K. Jordan writes:

... I submit there is another psychological mechanism at work. Filial piety, in its Chinese form of subordinating the desires of the individual or the desires of his or her parent (or parent-in-law), not only involves the acknowledgement of the parent's dependency, a point I missed in my earlier discussions of the subject...

... The need for filial subordination to a parent may easily create resentment, but the resentment cannot be directly expressed in the context of a moral system that celebrates the cosmic desirability of filial piety and filial emotion. We can therefore imagine the appearance of Pop in Hell to be psychologically satisfying as a kind of vengeance against the suppressed resentment of years of subordination.

But there's more to it than that. Pop in Hell continues to be Pop in trouble, Pop in need, Pop dependent...

Pop in hell, then, may be getting his just desserts: deserved punishment for a lifetime of slights, great and small, against others -- human and divine. But Pop has also moved from the demanding dependency of the living senior to the utter helplessness of the suffering and imprisoned deceased... Filial subordination, a core value celebrated in popular culture, is transformed into filial superiority without losing any of its moral credibility.
Jordan. David K. Pop in Hell: Chinese representations of Purgatory in Taiwan. in Eds. David K. Jordan, Andrew D. Morris, and Marc L. Moscowitz, The Minor Arts of Everyday Life: Popular Culture in Taiwan. Univesity of Hawaii Press. p.62-63.

Anonymous said...

Chua's so called article would work perfectly as an ethno-comedy stand-up script. It's hard to believe a supposedly intelligent person could write this in earnest and not even see the pitch-black humor in it, guess they don't teach that in law-school.

Anonymous said...

It's really a shame no one at the Liberty Times can actually read. If they could, they would've looked at the table and seen that 17.6% is *not* the highest support ever for "maintain status quo - independence later".

Back in 2004, that category polled at 18.7%. And when you look at the margin of error, it's been in the same general range since around 2003.

See for yourself:

Anonymous said...

hold it: Amy Chua is not Chinese and her kids are half-Jewish! Her folks both come from Manila Philippines, and didn't emigrate to USa until 1959 when both were adults in their 20s, so they grew up not in Chinese culture but in Filipino culture. Big difference. Yes, her blood DNA is Chinese ethnic but she is not a Chinese person. She is a Filipina-American. Her kids are half Jewish. The entire WSJ piece was set up by her publisher PEguinb six months ago to sell books, that's all.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, her blood DNA is Chinese ethnic but she is not a Chinese person"

There is NO Chinese DNA. That is a myth. False! Show me the science (and not the political science).

Taiwan Echo said...

Anon:"her blood DNA is Chinese ethnic but she is not a Chinese person. She is a Filipina-American."

Chinese immigrants to other countries maintain Chinese tradition closely. In fact, after the cultural revolution, quite a large piece of traditional Chinese culture was destroyed. One might be shocked to find that Chinese ethic living in other countries are "more Chinese" than those living in China.

Certainly this might not prove anything about the educational style. I just want to make a point that in real life "Chinese ethic" does matter.

Anonymous said...

"One might be shocked to find that Chinese ethic living in other countries are "more Chinese" than those living in China"

Taiwan Echo,

Shame on you... you often write good things, but this is an oxymoron.

It is impossible and ridiculous.

What you think is :Chinese culture" is more the invention of Chinese nationalism and spread through "Hua Qiao" communities by political actors.

Whatever is going on in China IS Chinese culture.

Taiwan Echo said...

Anon:"What you think is :Chinese culture" is more the invention of Chinese nationalism and spread through "Hua Qiao" communities by political actors."

Obviously you knew nothing about what I said.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying people born in China who then express their "Chineseness" through imagined symbols of Chinese culture? Chinese expats?