Friday, November 21, 2014


Watering a local garden.

Thinking Taiwan is rocking the intertubes as the election approaches with a bouquet of great stuff. On an obscure candidate for mayor in Taipei:
To run for mayor of Taipei, a candidate must pay a NT$2 million (roughly US$66,000) deposit. And if said candidate doesn’t receive more than 10% of the vote, the money will not be returned. Uncle Chao Yan-ching is definitely not getting his NT$2 million back. So the question on everyone’s mind is: “Why is he running?”
The awesome Wen-ti Sung on campaign ads (same post at CPI blog):
After the televised debate between Lien and Ko, this week the campaign finally entered Act 3, the “get-out-the-vote positive reinforcement ads” phase. Lien posted his presumably final campaign ad. Titled “One World,” it is a 2 minute-long music video featuring young breakdancers busting their moves to an upbeat tune. Towards the end a caption appears to defend Lien’s privileged upbringing: “Dancing is about technique and focus — one’s ‘background’ has nothing to do with it!”
J Michael on the KMT's latest absurd campaign tactics -- claiming Ko Wen-je murdered people for their organs:
The Ministry of Health and Welfare has said it would investigate the matter, as if government agencies under the current administration hadn’t launched enough investigations already against Ko and his supporters, a tactic oddly reminiscent of those used against DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during the 2012 elections. Ko’s camp has said it would take legal action against the accusers.
...and its link collection, the Taiwan Insider. There are many good pieces from earlier this month, like Michal Thim's piece on the military.

The China Policy Institute blog is also having a blogfest in honor of the upcoming elections. Tons of great stuff! My man Michal Thim is also on the spot with a piece on the 9 in 1 elections on the 29th:
Thirdly, the 9-in-1 elections are the first ballots following the turbulent events of the Sunflower Movement (and similar student protests in Hong Kong). They give voters their first opportunity to express their opinion other than to responding to pollsters’ questions. Like elsewhere, mid-term elections present an opportunity to express displeasure with the government by giving the ruling party a hard time, even if it is at the local level. Will the immensely unpopular administration of President Ma Ying-jeou sink the KMT’s election prospects?
Ming-yeh T. Rawnsley has a good one on film and public memory:
When Japan surrendered in 1945, Li Xianglan had a dramatic escape from prosecution for treason by the Chinese Nationalists. She was saved in time when the birth document which proves Li’s identity as Japanese, not Chinese, was finally smuggled into the country inside a doll. After being sent back to Japan in 1946, Li reassumed her birth name and continued to pursue an acting career with Akira Kurosawa and Charlie Chaplin, Hollywood and Hong Kong cinema. She later married a diplomat in the US, became a television journalist in the 1960s and was then elected to the Japanese Diet in 1974 where she served for 18 years. In 2005, she publicly requested Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi not to visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Thereafter the media in mainland China described her as someone who ‘transformed herself from an abettor in Japan’s aggression towards China to a messenger of peace’.
On the cross-strait investment situation:
After the KMT returned to the Presidential office in May 2008, Taiwan embarked on numerous economic negotiations with China over the following two years. The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) resumed negotiations in June 2008; three direct links – postal, transportation and trade – officially opened on December 15, 2008. Furthermore, in terms of economic cooperation, in June 2009, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs lifted restrictions on mainland investment in Taiwan. Up to June 2012, there were 408 cases of Chinese investment in Taiwan, of which 204 were in manufacturing; 161 cases in the service sector; 43 cases in public construction. Chinese investment in Taiwan totalled 350 million USD.
On the soft power of local elections:
Democracy is certainly Taiwan’s pride. And Taiwan’s presidential elections indeed make quite an impact on the feelings of many mainland Chinese (netizen). Just read for instance, the 2012 article in the Hong Kong Cheng Ming Monthly (no. 441) entitled “The presidential election in Taiwan evokes the mainland’s yearning for democracy” – a yearning, which sometimes makes use of sarcastic expressions, like in the online comment by one Chinese fellow shortly before Taiwan’s 2012 presidential elections: “For mainland Chinese to see the presidential election in Taiwan and particularly the TV debate between presidential candidates, is just like watching a eunuch looking at an erotic picture: they are excited but helpless to do anything.”
In the Diplomat, Cole on the attack of the KMT dinosaurs:
Besides the fact that ethnic politics have nothing to do with governance of the city, the most striking aspects of the remarks made by the trio (and a few others in the Lien camp who joined them) are their lack of sensitivity, their divisive nature, and the fact that such language is oddly reminiscent of the things we hear across the Taiwan Strait in Beijing — in other words, anti-Japan screeds and the other side of the same coin, Han chauvinism. The acid brimmed over: Ko was a “traitor” to the Han race, someone who couldn’t be allowed to govern “the capital of China” (confronted with this, the speaker claims he misspoke). Even Ko’s ancestors were targeted, with Lien Chan claiming (wrongly) that one of his grandfathers was a willing official in the Japanese colonial government (Taiwan was part of Japan between 1895 until 1945). Hau Pei-tsun also weighed in with an even wider net to include those who’d had a privileged status under the Japanese system. By association, anyone who supports Ko’s run for mayor is a brainwashed Japanese colonial subject, which Hau maintains includes former president Lee Teng-hui, a man who ironically gave senior jobs in government to both Lien and Hau Srs.

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