The free economic zones are looking more and more like a plot to flood Taiwan with cheap China crap and destroy its agriculture. A few days ago, after noting that the government is attempting to focus the discussion on trivia, a piece in the Taipei Times observed that Taiwan's competitiveness lies in its ability to distinguish itself from other places:
The heart of Taiwan’s agricultural competitiveness lies in technology, management and certification, because this is what allows it to produce the high-quality agricultural products that make Made in Taiwan (MIT) products so popular overseas. It took many people many years of hard work to achieve these results, and it is the only thing that allows Taiwan to resist competition from cheaper agricultural products from other countries in face of ever-increasing market liberalization.So what's the current KMT government proposal? To destroy all that has been carefully built up:
Under the proposed project, which is stalled in the legislature, 830 agricultural products from China banned from being imported to Taiwan would be allowed to enter the pilot zones to be processed as food products.Chen even said that "People should not view liberalization as a scheme to destroy the nation’s agricultural sector" which is basically a giant neon sign pointing out what the pilot zone scheme is.
[Council of Agriculture head] Chen rejected the idea that food products made of agricultural materials imported from China should bear labels indicating the origin of the material to distinguish them from those made of Taiwan-grown agricultural ingredients.
I've talked before about how the Ma Administration deploys neoliberal rhetoric to advance the annexation of Taiwan to China politically and economically. Here is a good example. The government terms this policy of letting in Chinese agricultural products into the pilot zones and not labeling their origin "liberalization." But that "liberalization" is a policy that can only benefit China, not Taiwan. Taiwan's agricultural reputation comes from its ability to distinguish itself from its neighboring nations -- but this proposal obliterates that crucial competitive edge of Taiwan. The only reason for not clearly labeling the origin of ingredients is to obscure it and benefit China -- no other reason exists. Thus, in the rhetoric of the Ma Administration, subordination of Taiwan to China's interests = liberalization.
Let's hope the DPP can really run with this in November.
TT has run some good pieces on the pilot zones recently. Here's a comparative discussion of the mixed results from such zones.
- SPECIAL: Taiwan academic creates fake IDs, sets up citation ring, 60 papers retracted from one journal. 60 papers is absurd overkill. Publication pressure means that there will be an endless supply of this here. One function of the terrible pressure to publish in top journals is that Taiwan academics are less likely to be involved in social causes related to their fields. Thus the political function of publish or perish is to suppress academic activism. But get this: the MOE head Chiang Wei-ling is named on some of those papers. Apple Daily has the call. It could be that he was involved, or it could be that he was framed, or it is just a coincidence of names.
- Ben laffs at the KMT's Keelung mess and the blatant hypocrisy of the KMT's election field. Huang Ching-tai's abuse of the KMT is hilarious: saying the only place it can win in the north is Keelung. LOL. Bottom line is he will run as an independent if they can't buy him off somehow, hurting the KMT's chances in Keelung.
- Activists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, get together online
- Aussie paper on connections between White Wolf, PRC leadership. Stunned.
- WSJ blasts Hong Kong firms who scold the democracy movement there.
- German director makes 40 minute propaganda film on why China owns the Senkakus. View purely for comedy, it is both sick and hilarious. I'll do a post on it next week. Link on Youtube here.
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