Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Daily Links, December 22, 2009


Meanwhile, what shiny new hardware is out there on the blogs?
AWARDS: David hands out of the Best Taiwan blog awards.

MEDIA: No wonder Chinese don't understand Taiwan: writer describes how his book has been altered by censors in the PRC. Academic paper from a few years back on Foreign Spouses in Taiwan. First map of Taiwan vegetation published. Taiwan sees record number of foreign visitors. This is why we need Chinese tourists, to save our tourism industry....wait a second... Taiwan Cement buys big cement producer in southern China. More deals between China and our construction-industrial state. Saturday's big quake produced over 100 aftershocks. Taiwan says it will abide by climate accord. President Chen was detained for two more months -- thank you, KMT. Not only does each detention expose the conviction of Chen as nothing more than a farcical, vindictive attack on the man, but by keeping him in jail, you help Tsai Ing-wen move the DPP into the post-Chen era more easily and swiftly. China Daily is fairly sane on the Chen Yunlin demonstrators, even admitting that the pro-sellout crowd is mostly elderly and not many. Taiwan investigators dig more deeply into the Pang case, with bank losses here now creeping above $200 million in inflated Yankee dollars. China, Taiwan car firms looking at joint venture. Officer penalized for using pepper spray on Chen Yunlin protesters (not authorized equipment). Nat Bellocchi with another excellent piece in Taipei Times arguing that the US should stop fooling around and back Taiwan. Except for the bog-standard load of Denialist crap from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a catch-all group for fossil fuel funded anti-science "skeptics", the Taipei Times hosts an interesting page on Copenhagen. Way cool: Taiwan to put tax on unhealthy food.

VIDEO: Forum on the trial of Chen Shui-bian moderated by Jerome Cohen. maddog with video of band at rally.

MEDIA WATCH: AP's grip on history and balance falters:

Since taking office in May 2008, Harvard-educated Ma has eased tensions across the 100-mile (160-kilometer) -wide Taiwan Strait to their lowest level in 60 years, turning his back on predecessor Chen Shui-Bian's pro-independence policies.

He has pushed a welter of business-boosting initiatives, including regular air and sea links with the mainland and ending across-the-board restrictions on Chinese investment in Taiwan.

"Harvard educated Ma" again -- a class signal saying "he's one of us!" although nobody despises the US more than ideologically-committed Deep Blues like Ma. Note the description of Tsai Ing-wen, by contrast:
"Our president has turned blind to the possibility that jobs will be lost" after signing the agreement, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen told protesters Sunday.
Tsai? She went to NTU, Cornell, and has a Ph.D in law from the London School of Economics. She's much better educated than Ma is (and smarter too). Let's balance Harvard-educated with LSE-educated as AP has done before. Note that this article is not from a Taipei reporter, but appears to be from the Beijing-based reporter. Huh?

Skipping over the utterly ahistorical "split in 1949" formulation, AP's treatment of the Chen era is deeply wrong as well. The Chen Administration did not put in "across the board restrictions" on investment in China: it was the Chen Administration that legalized investment in China. Under Chen Shui-bian our exports to China passed South Korea's. Total investment may have exceeded US$200 billion. There was an investment cap, only, and restrictions on certain key industries, but the DPP turned a blind eye to the movement of local SMEs to China. The initiatives credited to Ma were all started by the DPP, and largely sought by that party -- China would not cooperate because the DPP would not sell out Taiwan, not because the DPP was averse to dealing with China. But in the AP, it's down the memory hole with you, Chen Shui-bian! "Across the board" restrictions remain in key industries, as the Ma Administration has made clear. It would be great if the automated worship of Ma would cease and some informed, enlightened writing on the Chen/Ma relationships with China would replace it. For example you could cobble together something like this:
The Ma Administration's China policies are built on the initiatives of the previous DPP Administration, which were stymied by the unwillingness of Beijing to negotiate with the pro-independence DPP.

However, Ma has pushed for even broader and closer links, saying Taiwan needs to avoid economic marginalization, moves lauded by the global financial community and local large businesses, but opposed by the pro-independence DPP, along with many workers, small businessmen and farmers.
You might complain that's long, but AP managed to find room to inform its readers of the exciting fact that the Taiwan Strait is 100 miles (160 kilomters) wide. Why not delete that and add more background?

AFP: Ok, I know it isn't fair to go after Xinhua Lite, AFP, but I just can't resist. This week AFP repeated the Taipei Zoo chief's claim that pandas increased Zoo ticket purchases by 500,000, from 3.2 million to 3.7 million. So I did that amazing thing: research. In 2006, the Zoo attracted 3.4 million people; in 2007, 3.37 million. In 2008, 3.2 million. The spike in 2009? Probably just as due to the fact that the wonderful Taipei Zoo remains a great bargain in a recession when people are searching for cheaper, stay-at-home entertainment. After all, the Zoo rang up 3.4 million in 2006 with no pandas. In fact, Google's magic even revealed the hard reality from back in March, when Reuters reported:

Zoo official Eric Tsao said Taipei zoo's panda traffic averages 1,000 people on weekdays and 5,000 to 8,000 on weekends, down from daily maximums of 14,400 to 19,200.

Initial predictions had put traffic at 30,000 to 90,000 visitors a day.

Go, Cargo Cult pandas: if only we have ECFA pandas, we will all be showered with riches avoid marginalization get 30-90,000 visitors a day! So according to the current claim, those pandas increased overall attendance by about 1,500 a day, for a failure from initial prediction of about 28,000 to 88,000 a day. That's like a metaphor for our relationship with China.... Boy that was hard work, searching the internet for ten minutes. I think I need to lie down now.

ECFA WATCH: The CCP-KMT negotiations over double taxation were given up; three items for talks remain. I'm very curious to see whether this will be a meaningful deal (which China probably wants) or a very typical Taipei agreement in which it enthusiastically agrees to do something it has no intention of carrying out in practice. When the economy improves next year, look for the KMT to claim its China policies were responsible for the turnaround.

FARCICAL LOCAL POLITICIAN WATCH: Some of you may recall the saga of the Taitung county by-election a few years ago, in which the indicted county magistrate had to step down, and then divorced his wife so she could run in his place (won in a landslide too). History repeats itself, as Fu Kun-chi, whom the KMT would not run due to corruption, won the magistracy in Hualien county, while facing sentencing for conviction of nefarious activities. He promptly divorced his wife, and appointed her deputy magistrate so she can succeed him when he goes to jail. Marx was wrong; when history repeats itself, it is farce both times.
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Feiren said...

Take it easy on all that tough research. You might pull something and not be able to ride your shiny new bike.

jerome said...

With my heartfelt happy yuletide greeting to you and all those you care for, allow me space to, please, break this gem on you and your readership.

Yesterday, in President of Taiwanese Studies Forum Hideki Nagayama (永山英樹(台湾研究フォーラム会長) )’s blog 台湾は日本の生命線!, under the headline 福岡で横暴な中国総領事をやっつけた台湾女性議員に学べ , I leant of a tussle that occurred last May at an international forum held in Fukuoka. The baddy is Consul of China in Fukuoka Prefecture His Abhorrence Wu Shumin (武樹民). Our heroin is none other than the bright Hsiao Bi-khim.

To make it short, Wu challenged Hsiao to a Mandarin only duel. He hectored at Hsiao across the table in Chinese, besmirching first Takao Mayor Chen Chu, before turning on Chen Shui-bian’s two terms in office and in stride wielding China’s missiles in balance with the TI leaning Formosans.

Fortunately for Hsiao, Wu and Hsiao shared table with an array of diplomats and scholars, including the US consul in Fukuoka and two former Japanese heads of cabinet.

Once she had parried with the vitriolic Wu in Chinese for a while, Hsiao changed her tack and switched over to English for the benefit of the bemused guests. And she lunged for the coup de grâce. A Chinese scholar had the good taste to apologize in public on behalf of the oaf.

(Mamore (護れ) or mamore(守れ) = defend, protect, guard ; keep, stick to a promise, stand by somebody or something, stand up for somebody, something)

For those interested in this little gem of Chinese two-faced lack of diplomatic etiquette but can’t get the Japanese, get the gist of that China vs. Formosa less than convivial confab on “diplomatic truce” at Ms. Hsiao’s blog in Chinese:
参考 蕭美琴部落格(ブログ)http://www.wretch.cc/blog/bikhim/12733383

Enjoy Bi-khim’s pluck.

While I am at it and in the event that Jerome Keating did not come to this comment, please forward it to him. I know for certain that this man Hideki will be key in answering one of Jerome’s present concerns. He’ll make sure to have Mr. Nagayama at a future Meet-up when and if he is available in Taihoku. An insight into how Taiwan Matters are dealt with in Japan is long overdue.

Jerome of Vals, Fr.

Marc said...

MDRR, Jerome--

The only thing it seems that Wu didn't do was take off his shoe and strike the table with it!

riceagain said...

the oh so important double taxation deal that was an integral part of the crux of Ma's arguments for the talks.. that they now admit that never was going to happen due to the of the sheer complexity of the issues involved (it would take the next few years to iron out) But the KMT don't need to trouble the "Luddite" Taiwanese with such complexities, all THEY need to know is ECFA or DIE.

jerome said...

To Marc, who said... ”MDRR, Jerome--The only thing it seems that Wu didn't do was take off his shoe and strike the table with it!”

Wu did take his shoes off. But he could not have used them Nikita’s style. Here’s why.

In initiating the row, Wu had reverted to self, kicking off his squeaky new Oxford brogues – i.e. hectoring Hsiao in Mandarin, blissfully unencumbered by concern for diplomatic or mere table etiquette.

She tried walking the brogues on – i.e. rose up to his Mandarin only challenge. The unfitting coarse shoes hurt. He was fast catching up. The no nonsense girl she is, Bi-khim kicked them off and ran – i.e. safely reverted to more convivial English.

That's how Hsiao caught Wu flat-footed as she ran her victory lap. How could that apoplectic fat dunce catch up with the lithe Bi-khim?

Still, and as you can confirm from watching the face she makes in the last picture in Nagayama's post, the action had made her... sore.

les said...

It seems that the MOI has ruled the divorce of Fu Kun-chi a fake after he and his 'ex-wife' were revealed to be living in adjoining houses. Faking a divorce is a criminal offense with penalties between 1 and 5 million NT$, and up to 6 months in jail.
I wonder how long it will be before her election is annulled...