Happy news. Just so you know, the students who protested against the WantWant media monster are still marching, this time in front of the Legislative Yuan telling it to adopt media reforms to prevent this kind of attempt to dominate the media.
Manny Ramirez, now playing for a Taiwan team, hit a home run this week. Apparently the earth's orbit was affected or something, judging by the attention in the media.
The Economist reviews the attempt by WantWant to dominate Taiwan's media. After a solid basic review, Hilarity Ensues....
Surprisingly few are satisfied by this apparent triumph for press freedom. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party says the proposed laws are still not strict enough. Mr Tsai denies he is Beijing’s stooge but Want Want’s future coverage of Mr Ma is likely to be critical. And with 14% approval ratings and a lonely position as a centrist in a fierce debate about the nation’s identity, Mr Ma may be wondering where, if anywhere, he can find friends in the press.You'd have to be almost completely clueless about Taiwan politics to call a man who consistently argues that Taiwan is part of China, identifies Taiwanese as Chinese, and talks about how the ROC owns the Senkakus, a centrist in relation to the identity debate. Ma is a right-wing ideologue on that issue. The "centrist" position in Taiwan politics is independence, a position embraced in some form by the vast majority of the population. Ma's China embrace is one reason he is so unpopular, after all...
Jens Kastner on the proposed Free Trade Zones:
According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development 2012 World Investment Report, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Taiwan amounted to US$1.96 billion in 2011, putting Taiwan in the second-lowest place worldwide, ranking above only Angola.The reason that Taiwan hasn't attracted investment from Chinese is because it is not a good place to invest at the moment, not because of the domestic political environment. You can tell it is not a good place to invest at the moment because the amount of foreign direct investment it gets is quite low (the first paragraph explains the second paragraph). If Taiwan was booming foreign investment would be flooding in and there'd be Chinese investing here easily through Caribbean holding companies, Hong Kong, and similar. We also don't have Chinese investment here because China doesn't invest much in neighboring countries, as I noted in this post last year and this one.
In 2010, Taipei and Beijing signed the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), on which high hopes were placed, but as Taiwan's domestic political climate forbade meaningful opening to Chinese capital, it did not bring in much of an increase in FDI nor did it help Taiwanese exporters as anticipated.
What makes matters worse is that Korea's FTAs with US and EU have been implemented, the Korean won has depreciated faster than the New Taiwan dollar, and Taiwan's China-imposed isolation hinders the island from signing its own FTAs. Meanwhile, powerful domestic lobbies become extremely agitated whenever the Kuomintang (KMT) government of President Ma Ying-jeou merely hints at allowing in competing foreign goods or services, as seen last year when Ma allowed the import of US beef containing the food additive ractopamine.
Of course, the idea of a Free Trade Zones is right out of the 1960s. As Kastner's article points out, they won't have much effect. The time for this kind of policy has passed.
I'm tired of reading articles that blame Taiwan for its lack of military spending, like this one from World Politics Review. Taiwan of course has a heaping share of the blame, but if outsiders want Taiwan to spend more, perhaps they should make weapons available, stop supporting leaders who want to put the island into China's orbit, start purchasing weapons from us to support our industries, and start enhancing mil-mil contacts. Taiwan's defense issues are a collective problem. He doesn't understand the opinion polls either. *sigh*.
Taiwan in Cycles points out how silly an article in the Vancouver Sun on cycling here is. Many of its claims are flat out wrong:
You can ride to the market, school, library, between towns, to the beach, all on smooth paved recreational paths than don't allow motorized vehicles or pedestrians.All bike paths allow pedestrians, in fact they are a normal sight on bike paths throughout the nation and not only pedestrians, but also pets and of course, foreign maids out pushing older people in wheelchairs, joggers, etc. Motorized vehicles are ostensibly not allowed but in fact they are quite common on some paths, like the Tanzi to Shengang path on which everything from gigantic farm equipment to blue trucks appear, and motorcycles are regular users (ever see police nail someone on a bike path?). Finally, if a bike path goes past a library, school, or market, it is mere serendipity, and not planning. You know the drill... Once again, with so many knowledgeable people in the media and with blogs who bike, why do we have an article in a foreign publication from someone who....
...and another problem with articles like this is that foreign articles validate in Taiwan, and in this case, they validate the government's bike policies. Which are not good.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!