Cindy Sui of the BBC sent around a piece today on the effect of the Hong Kong protests on Taiwan's desire to annex itself to China. It's mostly good, and its the first major media piece I've seen that refers to the ghostly deadlines of 2021 and 2049 for annexation of Taiwan that some in the Chinese media have talked about.
As several of us have been remarking recently, one ironic effect of the Hong Kong protests is that everyone is now noticing Taiwan. Yay! Normally the international media hedges when it talks about Taiwan's rejection of annexation speaking of "some people" dislike that, or referring to "skepticism" or "wariness". But perhaps we're going to see more forthright acknowledgement in the major media that Taiwan doesn't want to become part of China. One can only hope.
Ben Goren has a long discussion of the BBC piece here, with many criticisms, which I won't repeat. Ben observes:
Then there’s this beauty:The problem is an interesting one because there are many ways to think about how to measure the economic effect of Chinese tourists and it would not be easy for anyone to produce a definitive account. This paper argues for a net US dollar gain of nearly $50 million a month from Chinese tourism after allowing for the "crowding out" effect of reducing US and Japanese tourist arrivals, partly because it appears to increase tourism from Hong Kong, but the data are too old and limited to be useful (2009 data). I'd be curious to see a more recent in-depth model. I suppose nearly $600 million annually is technically "boosting" the economy. This 2014 paper views Chinese tourism from another POV -- its economic effect on the environment:
Thousands of Chinese tourists flood into Taiwan daily, boosting the island’s economy.I don’t have a problem with the object of this sentence, only the entire predicate. Perhaps Cindy Sui can point to some hard statistical evidence that Chinese tourists are actually boosting Taiwan’s economy and if so, which sectors / areas in particular. If she can’t then really all she’s doing here is repeating Government propaganda.
When forecasting the estimated growth of Chinese visitors in Taiwan to 2016, an additional 0.8% increase in economic output is expected at the expense of a 2.7% increase in CO2 emissions and a 3.0% increase in water use.Another paper from 2013...
It is concluded that by 2011, the economic spillover effects for the retail sector and accommodations services sector were US$773.49 million and US$438.43 million, respectively. The total spillover effects of US$7617 million accounted for 0.183% of Taiwan's GDPI don't think there is any question we're getting a "boost" from Chinese tourism, if only because the word "boost" has no real meaning, though none of the models attempt to measure the costs, except the one that looks at the environment. I also don't think there's any question that it is not a boost we want: Chinese tourism produces nothing that raises long-term living standards in Taiwan. This pointless flow of revenues (profits go largely to a few Hong Kong tourism firms) might even be tolerable, if it were not part of a strategy to annex Taiwan to China.
Sui writes, referring to the Sunflower Protesters (her reporting on them was excellent, example) and their demand for a bill to provide oversight of cross-strait agreements:
They might just succeed. The activists enjoyed nearly 50% public support for their demands for greater scrutiny of government deals with China, according to a government survey, partly because - unlike Hong Kong - they did not disrupt traffic.Actually, "nearly 50% support" seems wrong. Rather, it was strong majority support. For example, Ben writes on a pro-KMT TVBS poll that has 65% supporting passage of a bill to oversee agreements with China, including a plurality against the trade pact. Another TVBS poll showed over 60% wanted the services pact withdrawn, numbers similar to those in this Businessweek poll. That the government has not attempted to ram the bill through again clearly indicates its deep unpopularity, both with the public at large and within the KMT. The students had broad public support because the service pact was a crapshit agreement that was bad for Taiwan and rejected by the public. If only someone in the media would clearly say that....
PS: if you're interested in the meaty contents of the oversight bill, the always-excellent Frozen Garlic has a great post on it.
PPS: In fairness, a government poll found the public supported the services pact, by 1%, 41-40. Those results surely required real artistry to achieve.
PPPS: What's the boost from the services pact? I looked at it here. You'll need a microscope to see it.
- New ROC stamps honor endangered species. Test your ROC understanding: which stamp has higher value, Formosan Black Bear or Giant Black and White Annexation Lardbombs? Go here, select MINT STAMP and 2014 in the drop down menus.
- Taiwan Review on the new national park in the Penghu
- Ma tells K-town residents they should take the MRT and other tales from Ben at Letters from Taiwan. There have been lifelong authoritarian rulers who were less tone-deaf than Ma Ying-jeou.
- Huffington Post notes Sunflower influence on Hong Kong protests. This is amazing.... even though they get a UDN guy.
- Chinese espionage now rampant in Taiwan
- Ma vows to clean up food industry in Taiwan. Yawn. Let's revisit the past. Government vows to improve tracking after plasticizer scare (2011). I'm not going to bother searching for more.
- WHOA: I was wondering when something suggestive like this would appear. The oil scandal for Ting Hsin/WeiChuan has caused the Ministry of Finance to put the brakes on Ting Hsin conglomerate's takeover of the management of Taipei 101. And there is the purchase of the cable news station. One wonders what toes Ting Hsin was going to step on. Lucky for those being stepped on the oil scandal broke, eh?
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