"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.$20 billion! Do we have that much betel nut about? The article notes:
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.
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.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.
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."
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.
- DPP Candidate wins town mayor in Caotun, Nantou county, by 19 votes in by election (no link, just news).
- Why Chinese mothers are superior in the WSJ. "For their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who seem perfectly content to let their children turn out badly." Clearly all the gangsters in Taiwan society must have been raised by western parents....
- Record low number of births in Taiwan.
- 97 countries waive visas for Taiwan.
- The struggle over local government debt continues as central government refuses to assume debts of new municipalities.
- Informative piece on China and rare earths.
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