Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2018 Election Posters: Round Three

A KMT candidate dominates a Taichung intersection.

Another day, another collection of colorful election posters. Rode around in Changhua this week, a key battleground that is currently leaning KMT. You can click on any photo to be taken to its Flickr page if you want to zoom in on it. Click on READ more to see more....

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Latest for ACT: The Power of Culture in the Fight for Taiwan

Where cultures mingle...

American Citizens for Taiwan has published my latest piece for them....
Taiwanese food products have done much to raise awareness of Taiwan, as chefs in North America and Europe are learning how to make “Taiwanese pork belly sliders” (gua bao) while Taiwanese pearl milk tea is a hit in many countries. Government cultural agencies in Taiwan have put great effort into promoting Taiwan as a food destination. But because of disagreements between the pro-Taiwan and the pro-China side in Taiwan’s politics over what “Taiwan” means, and from the lack of domestic markets and infrastructure to support them, cultural products such as film and music remain unexplored realms of soft power.
This was stimulated by a conversation on Twitter that took off from the success of Crazy Rich Asians and asked what could be done for Taiwan...
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Spanish Scholar on How China Suppressed a Taiwan Culture Event

Bullying, threatening letter sent to U of Salamanca by PRC Embassy

Today I decided to go public with the email #China’s embassy in Spain sent to coerce the University of #Salamanca into cancelling “#Taiwan Cultural Days” on October 2017. ENG version on the account of what happened. English version of what happened.
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Friday, August 24, 2018

What did the south Chinese know about Taiwan and when did they know it?

From: Ptak, R. "From Quanzhou to the Sulu Zone and Beyond: Questions Related to the Early Fourteenth Century" Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 29, 2 (September 1998): 269-294, 1998 by National University of Singapore. Ptak is discussing Quanzhou's camphor trade in the early 14th century.
The next commodity, camphor, was produced in the Barus area of western Sumatra and on Borneo. The Far East also produced a substance known by this name but its chemical composition was different and it was never valued as highly as imported camphor. Song sources list foreign camphor as an import from Srivijaya and Champa. There are also references to imports from Butuan and occasional shipments by merchants from Persia, Chola and Cengtan (on the Arabian Peninsula?). It is obvious that Butuan and Champa received their camphor from Borneo while the other imports originally came from the Barus area. Wang Dayuan refers to camphor products in his chapters on Champa, Trengganu, Samudra, Xialaiwu, Danmaling (Ligor?), Brunei, Pulau Rondo (Longxianxu), Dudu'an, Srivijaya and Suluoge. Camphor, it is clear, continued to be available in the Yuan period along both the western and the eastern trunk routes.45
Ptak has written a whole book on the area's camphor trade before 1500, and obviously knows his stuff.

Quanzhou is more or less right across the Strait from Taiwan. Taiwan was absolutely stuffed with camphor trees in those days and early Chinese settlers found it right away (here for overview). Production of camphor was actually illegal until 1725, when the government became the monopoly purchaser of private camphor production. Taiwan did not become part of the global camphor trade until after 1850.

So the people of Quanzhou had rich camphor source right next to them, but went to areas south of the Philippines to get camphor, so little did they know of Taiwan.
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Kaohsiung is underwater

Some vids of the disaster unfolding down there as the storm sits over southern Taiwan. In Taichung it is gray and raining, very depressing, but no serious flooding.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Some Random Charts of Taiwan People be Passin' Around

The carbon footprint chart I put on Flickr. If you mouse over it you can zoom in on it.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The ROC loses another prop: buh-bye El Salvador

These really should be weaponized. No one can resist their power.

Dammit, El Salvador. I had hoped to avoid writing a blogpost today, but then Taipei severed diplomatic relations with that nation this week after its leadership allegedly demanded exorbitant sums to maintain its recognition of the ROC, including massive payments to the ruling party. El Salvador then switched recognition to China. A Taiwan scholar tweeted around:
Recap to what happened today about #China - #ElSalvador - #Taiwan quandary: @MOFA_Taiwan refused to be blackmailed by Salvadorian government asking for exorbitant sums of money to fund 2019 elections + port infrastructure. Salvador’s been pressuring TW during past 2 months
A new thing was signaling of support for Taiwan by Republican Congressmen on Twitter who tweeted indignantly about the switch:
Ted Yoho @RepTedYoho
U.S. + like-minded countries cannot wait much longer to prevent #China ’s reach. China is actively pursuing #Taiwan’s remaining allies through diplomatic + economic coercion. We cannot stand idly by, while China bullies its way into power.

@SenTomCotton: “The Chinese Communist Party should know that every time it bullies a country into severing ties with Taiwan it only strengthens the bonds between the U.S. and the Taiwanese people.” Agreed.
Marco Rubio of Florida threatened El Salvador over the switch. Also new was that Taipei dumped El Salvador before it switched, a good move.

Solidarity commented:
Peeling off an ally after every Tsai trip abroad is one way to undermine the narrative of that trip, too
Jessica Drun posted the thoughts of one of El Savador's opposition politicians in this thread, describing them....
He regrets the decision (interestingly calls "Taiwan" "China Taiwan"), notes distance of El Salvador from community of democracies, calls the move "treasonous," and calls the move the end to a disastrous government. Interesting to see the domestic politics angle in all this.

In the media...

Chris Taylor has an excellent piece (read it!) observing that this marks the end of "dollar diplomacy". Taylor obviously knows his stuff:
The so-called 1992 consensus is subject to competing interpretations, and is widely perceived in Taiwan as an ex-post facto fabrication on the outcome of discussions between representative bodies from China and Taiwan in Hong Kong in 1992.

China takes the consensus as an affirmation of its ‘One China Policy,’ and its position that Taiwan is an indivisible part of it. Tsai, with the backing of the DPP, refuses to acknowledge the consensus.
This is probably the first piece in the international media to use the term "fabrication" in conjunction with the 1992C. Taylor also gets the connection to independence and quotes DPPer Yu Shyi-kun and turncoat Hsu Hsin-liang on the topic:
As former Premier Yu Shyi-kun, leader of a Taiwanese delegation to the inauguration of President Donald Trump, reflected, the loss of small diplomatic allies to China amounts to more domestic budget for Taiwan.

Former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, head of Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies, which is a private think tank, has echoed such views, arguing that small diplomatic allies impose an unnecessary economic burden on Taiwan. Losing them “is not really important,” he said.
Kudos to Taylor for this excellent reportage...

The international reporting, alas, was too often the usual mix of tropes and ignorance. The Guardian wrote, for example:
The latest diplomatic switch leaves Taiwan further isolated on the international stage. Beijing claims that Taiwan, which operates under its own government, currency, and military, is an inseparable part of China and says it will not maintain ties with any country that has formal diplomatic ties with Taipei.

Relations between China and Taiwan have reached a low under Tsai, who belongs to the Democratic Progressive party, which advocates independence for the island. Since her election, Beijing has ramped up efforts to poach Taiwan’s allies. Now, just 17 countries recognise Taiwan, after Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic cut ties and recognised Beijing instead earlier this year.
The Guardian did extensively quote Tsai and also Joseph Wu (yay!), but still The Formula there bolded in red tells us only what Beijing thinks, and not what Taiwan thinks. Typical. In the international media, Beijing's claims are almost never interrogated or challenged. The Straits Times ran a very similar quote, with Taiwan also silenced.

Note the bolded sentence in the second paragraph, in which the Guardian tells us that "relations have reached a low", apparently without the intervention of human agency. Relations are low because of Beijing's decisions. Indeed, the Guardian report assigns the blame to Tsai with "under Tsai". The piece is by the Guardian's Beijing reporter, which no doubt accounts for the slant.

Oh, and in coincidental conjunction with this event, a number of people were tweeting around that support for Taiwan independence among Hong Kong's young has risen strongly (survey). Apparently there is something about being ruled by China that just makes people yearn not to be ruled by China.

There's not much to say that hasn't already been said. The Straits Times piece, which is far better than the Guardian piece, has a nice quote from the most excellent Jon Sullivan, who gets it...
"If the ROC is completely unrecognised I believe Beijing's calculation is that it will be easier to delegitimise the government in Taipei and prime demoralised Taiwanese and international society for unification," said Jonathan Sullivan, Director of China Programmes at the University of Nottingham.
Note Sullivan's careful choice of point of view and words. "If the ROC..." -- almost every newspaper article simply says it was "Taiwan" that lost recognition. The problem with that is simple: no nation on earth recognizes Taiwan, they all recognize the Republic of China as the sole and legitimate government of China. The international media either doesn't understand this, is too lazy to explain, or prefers to emphasize Taiwan because that increases the clickbait value of the article. Thus Sullivan's precise use of "ROC" and "government in Taipei" because Sullivan understands that Taiwan has neither lost nor gained anything.

Taiwan cognoscenti understand well that the ROC is a virtual state propped up by thin threads connecting it to reality -- the diplomatic allies, control of Kinmen and Matsu (where the ROC truly resides in the hearts of many of the people), and control of islands in the South China Sea (see J Tkacik's recent excellent piece in TT on Kinmen/Matsu), and its territorial claims in the Senkakus. The SCS islands, the Senkakus claims, and the diplomatic relations are the only places where the ROC truly exercises, in evanescent form, the international powers of a sovereign state.

As Sullivan knows (and is cited on further down in the Straits Times article), many independence supporters view the loss of relations as inevitable and desirable, because each such loss brings the hated colonial ROC government to its own inevitable death, leaving only Taiwan, which will then be independent. That is why Beijing has never taken back Matsu and Kinmen -- because they give Taiwan a tenuous connection to China, and that is why it permits Taiwan to have diplomatic allies. After all, poaching them gives the media the opportunity to write lots of clickbait headlines...

Allies come and go, but Taiwan abides.
Daily Links:
REF: I've placed President Tsai's statement on termination of relations with El Salvador below the READ MORE link...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Taiwan is 98% Han Chinese

Who lives here...

Hokkien immigrants to Taiwan originated from Quanzhou prefecture (44.8%) and Zhangzhou prefecture (35.2%). -- Wiki

A group of South Indian merchants, most probably Tamils, financed and endowed a Hindu temple at the principal Chinese international port, Quanzhou in the twelfth century CE -- source

....Yet it is clear that Quanzhou was host to traders who were themselves devotees of Shiva, and that at various times these traders amassed enough influence within the community to erect monuments to their god.

Their position within the city is further evident from the extensive iconographie material evocative of Shiva and the Shiva cult that was incorporated into the motifs of the Kaiyuan Temple, the dominant Buddhist temple of the city, during later reconstructions. Unfortunately, none of the images can be dated with any precision, but all are considered to belong to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. They include several uses of Ungarn and other motifs that are equally strongly connected with the god, such as the sacred cow.36 Shiva is not the only Indianized image found there; Vishnu, for example, is also featured, though less often.37 -- source

A late thirteenth-century bilingual Tamil and Chinese-language inscription has been found associated with the remains of a Siva temple of Quanzhou. This was one of possibly two south Indian-style Hindu temples that must have been built in the southeastern sector of the old port, where the foreign traders' enclave was formerly located. [It reads]:
[Tamil]: "Obeisance to Hara (Siva)! Let there be prosperity! On the day Citra in the month of Chittira in the Saka year 1203 (1281 A.D.), the Tavachchakkarvarttigal Sambandhap-perumal (a Saiva religious leader) caused, in accordance with the firman (written permission) of Chekachai Khan (the Mongol ruler), to be graciously installed the God Udaiyar Tirukkadalisvaram Udaiya-nayinar (Siva), for the welfare of the illustrious body of the illustrious Chekachai Khan." -- source

...Another historian records, "A large number of Moslem, Nestorian, Catholic, Manichean and Hindu inscriptions are found in the area. ... The inscriptions are in Arabic, Syriac and Tamil." -- source

Cao'an (Chinese: 草庵; pinyin: Cǎoān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chháu-am; literally: "thatched nunnery"[1]) is a temple in Jinjiang, Fujian. Originally constructed by Chinese Manicheans, it was viewed by later worshipers as a Buddhist temple. This "Manichean temple in Buddhist disguise"[2] is seen by modern experts on Manichaeism as "the only extant Manichean temple in China",[3] or "the only Manichean building which has survived intact".[4]

The temple is located on the southern slope of Huabiao Hill near Shedian Village just west of downtown Jinjiang.[5][6] Jinjiang is part of Quanzhou, which was known historically as "Quanzhou Prefecture"; the location is some 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of downtown Quanzhou.[4] -- Wiki

...From the beginning of the Yuan, foreign troops loyal to the Mongols, from Yangzhou and Huzhou, were stationed in Quanzhou. They were allied with the Persian community in Quanzhou. During the decline of the Yuan Dynasty, the foreign troops turned against the Mongolian elites in an attempt to set up their own state. When the foreigners discovered the weakness of the Yuan troops in their attempts to suppress rebels in Xinghua, they initiated rebellion. The leaders of the rebellion were the descendants of the powerful trading families of Pu Shougeng and Nawuna, the Trade Superintendent at the time. This rebellion of foreign ethnic groups, called the Ipsah Rebellion by historians (Chen, 1992, p. 8; Zhuang, 1980b), lasted 10 years and involved a large area including Fuzhou, Quanzhou, and Xinghua. According to Maejima (1973,1974) and Zhuang (1980b), the first 5 years of the rebellion were characterized by a struggle between Persian forces in Quanzhou and Xinghua, while the latter 5 years were dominated by a rebellion started by Nawuna and Pu Shougeng descendants who wanted to expand trade but were restricted by the Mongols. Zhuang states that the immediate cause of the outbreak was the Muslim disapproval of the building of a Hindu temple on the site of the former governor’s residence (Zhuang, 1980b, pp. 23–24). -- source

In the early fourteenth century, the most prosperous merchants in Quanzhou were Muslims of both Chinese and non-Chinese origin. Epigraphic and other evidence points to the strong position of this group in Quanzhou's society.

-- source

The Ding or Ting family of Chendai in Quanzhou claims descent from the Muslim leader Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar through his son Nasr al-Din or Nasruddin (Chinese: Nasulading).[62] The Dings have branches in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia among the Chinese communities there, no longer practicing Islam but still maintaining a Hui identity. The deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Muslim Association on Taiwan, Ishag Ma (馬孝棋) has claimed "Sayyid is an honorable title given to descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, hence Sayyid Shamsuddin must be connected to Prophet Mohammed". The Ding family in Taisi Township in Yunlin County of Taiwan, traces descent from him through the Ding of Quanzhou in Fujian.[63] Nasruddin was appointed governor in Karadjang and retained his position in Yunnan till his death, which Rashid, writing about 1300, says occurred five or six years before. (According to the Yüan shi, "Nasulading" died in 1292.) Nasruddin's son Abubeker, who had the surname Bayan Fenchan (evidently the Boyen ch'a-r of the Yüan shi), was governor in Zaitun at the time Rashid wrote. He bore also his grandfather's title of Sayid Edjell and was Minister of Finance under Kublai's successor.[64] Nasruddin is mentioned by Marco Polo, who styles him "Nescradin".[65][66][67] -- Wiki

Quanzhou initially continued to thrive under the Southern Song produced by the Jin–Song Wars. A 1206 report listed merchants from Arabia, Sumatra, Cambodia, Brunei, Java, Champa, Burma, Korea, and the city-states of the Philippines. One of its customs inspectors, Zhao Rugua, completed his compendious Description of Barbarian Nations c. 1225, recording the people, places, and items involved in China's foreign trade in his age. Other imperial records from the time use it as the zero mile for distances between China and foreign countries. Tamil merchants carved idols of Vishnu and Shiva[38] and constructed Hindu temples in Quanzhou. Over the course of the 13th century, however, Quanzhou's prosperity declined due to instability among its trading partners[30] and increasing restrictions introduced by the Song in an attempt to restrict the outflow of copper and bronze currency from areas forced to use hyperinflating paper money. The increasing importance of Japan to China's foreign trade also benefited Ningbonese merchants at Quanzhou's expense, given their extensive contacts with Japan's major ports on Hakata Bay on Kyushu. -- Wiki

Serving kung fu tea and speaking a south Fujian dialect, Guo Jingzhuan, 52, a ship owner from Shiyu village in east China's Fujian Province, is proud of his seafaring ancestry.

Almost all the residents in his village are descended from Arabian merchants, who travelled to Quanzhou hundreds of years ago, when the city was one of the world's most vibrant ports. Guo is planning to buy another 10,000-tonne freighter later this year to join what he calls the "100,000 tonnes shipping club." -- source

The Fujian city of Quanzhou, today a prefecture level city of approximately 8 million inhabitants, grew to be one of the world’s largest ports during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. A main stopover in maritime silk route, Marco Polo talked about the city in his travel memoirs.

During the Yuan Dynasty it was home to an estimated 100,000 Arab traders and was also an important center of shipbuilding. Later, during the Ming Dynasty, Quanzhou helped supply and stage China’s largest period of naval exploration. Between 1405 and 1433, China launched seven expeditions under the command of Admiral Zheng He whose explorations took his fleet to Southeast Asia, Arabia and Africa. -- source

....The earliest Chinese ethnic group came from the Quanzhou area of southern Fujian. They often came as shop keepers, factory owners or workers and they settled along the coasts or in ports. The immigrants from Zhangzhou, also in southern Fujian, came later and tended to settle on the inland plains and engage in agriculture. The Hakka, mainly from eastern Guangdong, came later and settled in upland areas. After the Hakka, much smaller groups came from other areas of Fujian such as Fuzhou and Xinghua. These groups tended to live in cities and engage in the three trades concerned with the three knives: tailors who used scissors, cooks who used kitchen knives, and barbers who used razors. Even in the 1970s, Quanzhou people tended to be in commerce and industry, while Zhangzhou people engaged in agriculture (C.-L. Chen 1972: 130).

The three big ethnic groups – the Quanzhou, Zhangzhou and Hakka – engaged in substantial armed struggle. Of these, only the largest group, the Quanzhou, who accounted for about 45 percent of Taiwan’s population at the end of the Manchu period (calculated from C.-L. Chen 1972: 129–130), fought among themselves on the basis of origins from different counties (Lamley 1981: 283). The Zhangzhou Hokkien, who accounted for about 35 percent of Taiwan’s population,and the Hakka, who accounted for about 13 percent at the end of the Manchu period (calculated from C.-L. Chen 1972: 129–130) remained much more united as groups (Lamley 1981: 283). Yet, even the two Hokkien groups could unite when faced with a large Hakka opponent, as in the Hsia-tan shui river basin (now the Kaoping River [453 ]) on the border of modern Kaohsiung and Pingtung in southern Taiwan (Lamley 1981: 294). -- source

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ACT #12: US is Salami Slicing?

An overgrown monument to a more romantic past...

My 12th for American Citizens for Taiwan on the possibility of the US adopting China's salami slicing tactics
Are quiet port visits by US navy ships in the offing? Quite possibly. Consider that the US navy does not have to send a warship — it possesses many different kinds of vessels that are utterly unwarlike, from research vessels to hospital ships to repair vessels to ordinary cargo vessels. A smart salami slicing style move would be to send one of those, then gasp in mock astonishment when China goes into paroxysms of rage: “it’s not even a warship.” Or the US could send the USS Blue Ridge, a command ship which visited Shanghai in 2016, which would enable Washington to piously claim it is engaged in displays of evenhandedness.
Go thou and read!
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Sunday, August 19, 2018

The 85C mess and BBC *sigh*.

Morning at Fengyuan train station

BBC's report on the 85C mess... is a mess itself.
The LA branch of Taiwanese-owned 85C Bakery Cafe gave the coffee, along with an enthusiastic welcome, to Tsai Ing-wen when she dropped in last Sunday.

But many Chinese customers - who visit the chain's branches in mainland China - were furious, calling for a boycott.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, and the Chinese public are often quick to jump on anything that is seen as endorsing Taiwanese independence.
Warmly welcoming Ms Tsai, the leader of a pro-independence party, was seen as unacceptable.

Yet, when the bakery chain tried some damage control, quickly putting out a statement distancing itself from pro-independence sentiments, it only sparked more anger - this time in Taiwan, where people accused the company of bowing to Chinese pressure.
That summary is pretty much correct. We will come back to the bolded parts in a second. J Michael Cole pointed out in a piece at Taiwan Sentinel that this "bottom up" nationalism in which netizens attack foreign firms who don't conform.
After photos of the encounter were made public, Chinese ultranationalists kicked into action and accused the chain, which operates 859 stores in China and made 64% of its Q1 revenue there, of supporting Taiwan independence. Threats of a boycott (described by the South China Morning Post as a “zealous online campaign”) were sent to the company’s Weibo account, and its Taiwan website was was knocked offline by what is believe to have been a cyber attack. The next day, Long Mingbiao, deputy director of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), said China would “never allow” a company that (purportedly) supports Taiwanese independence to operate in China.

Thus threatened, the company — which was founded in 2004 and is now registered in the Cayman Islands — issued a three-point apology on its China website. The company thanked the Chinese for “educating” it, reaffirmed its “firm support” for the so-called “1992 consensus,” and stated its hopes for the “peaceful unification” of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait while “opposing any behavior and remarks that separate the brotherhood of the two sides.”
Actually, it's all nonsense, as lots of companies that support independence operate in China. Cole rightfully worries about the threat of ultranationalism, but I wonder if these incidents can be taken at face value -- how much of the "ultranationalism" comes down to internet minders as orders from Beijing, so that Beijing can arrange incidents like this. But it probably doesn't need to...

But, back to the BBC. Take a look at the text bolded there. BBC in the first five paragraphs twice tells us how "the Chinese" feel. It mentions that Taiwanese accused the company of bowing to Chinese pressure, though why "bowing to Chinese pressure" is a problem is not mentioned aloud (it is assumed as subtext). A curious silence, that grows...

After telling us that Taiwan's status is a sensitive issue -- but what is its status under international law, BBC? We are never told, though that is quite clear -- its status remains undetermined. BBC never mentions that. BBC never mentions what the people of Taiwan want in the text.

Well, there's a picture caption that says "Many Taiwanese don't want to be part of China." How many, BBC? There's extensive poll data on that. Oh, there is another caption that says (in wonky English) "Taiwan remains defiant of Beijing's sovereignty claims". But why are they defiant? How is democracy mentioned in the text related to this defiance?

Those are the only things we hear about how (some?) ordinary Taiwanese feel, and they are picture captions, not main text.

The next paragraphs, one after another, offer China boilerplate...
  • China considers the island to be a renegade province...
  • China insists that other countries can only have diplomatic ties with China...
  • ...Beijing has become increasingly assertive over its claims...
What does Taiwan feel? It's a mystery. What is this independence that is sometimes spoken of in the article, yet never explained? BBC has endless space to explain to us how poor put-upon China feels, but nary a sentence in the main text on how Taiwanese feel about China... nor is any Chinese claim interrogated or deconstructed. Nor are any ordinary Taiwanese quoted about how they feel. As is so often the case in the international media, Chinese claims are repeated without challenge (consider this BBC report on the Baltics and Putin, by contrast, with its extensive man-on-the-street reportage).

BBC then gives some details of what happened in the visit to the 85C outlet. Then, back to the "analysis":
Although Ms Tsai has been a moderate voice on the independence issue since her election, she is viewed by the mainland as a dangerous separatist.
Whew! BBC almost said something about Taiwan without telling us what China felt! At least they stated that Tsai is a moderate as if that were a fact in the world. Kudos to them for that tiny advance toward truthfulness.

We then get a post from social media in China...
"85C is a 'Taiwan independence' two-faced company," said one post on social media..."
...but nada from social media in Taiwan.

BBC then describes the damage control, saying of 85C's moves...
It reiterated its "firm support" for the 1992 Consensus - a loose agreement between Taiwan and China that there is only one China, without defining what that means.
This is just plain Beijing-slanted fictionalizing. There is no "agreement" between Taiwan and China called the 1992 Consensus -- no consensus was reached at the 1992 meeting in Singapore between the unelected representatives of two authoritarian parties. Rather, after 2000, KMT and CCP politicians working to suppress democracy and independence in Taiwan agreed to pretend to each other that there was a 1992 Consensus (which they differ on!). The "agreement" is between the KMT and the CCP, not Taiwan and China. Sad.

Finally, after the company's damage control moment, we get some Taiwan point of view:
In Taiwan, it sparked accusations that the bakery was bowing to pressure from Beijing.

A spokesman for the presidential office in Taipei called accused China of carrying out an "uncivilised act" which would "hinder the world market order and freedom of speech".
An actual quote from the Presidential office. Apparently Taiwanese netizens are not worth quoting, and BBC gives us no information on independence though it gives extensive information on China's belligerent expansionism (and goes into some depth further in the article). Instead, BBC assumes "independence" without mentioning so much as a poll or the word "identity". Without that, "bowing to pressure" is meaningless.

You suck, BBC.

REF: FocusTW report, Taiwan news on the fall in stock value
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Taipei election hilarity plus LINKZ

All roads lead to home

Hardly had I posted last week on how the Taipei election was giving me the sadz when that selfsame day the venerable Ting Shou-chung, now in his 2,461st run for Taipei mayor, decided to exceed even Pasuya Yao and restore my faith in the mainlander Old Guard's ability to lose China. Er, Taipei.

Speaking at a press conference on women and children's safety last week, Ting, the KMT mayoral candidate in Taipei, Storm Media,(my translation) reported on TingFAIL. Wanting to appear the law-and-order candidate...
Ting stressed that through past big data analysis, people with traits such as being male, not being married, living alone, unemployed, lacking in sex, and with poor interpersonal relationships may have a tendency to abuse children or randomly kill people. These people are time bombs. If you can make good use of data in the future, and cooperate with medical units, police agencies or social welfare organizations to strengthen pre-visits, monitoring, and control of these people to "reduce their harm", you can achieve crime prevention. 
In Taiwanese society, especially to the mainlander mind, the solution to all social problems is always "more control". Ting was pilloried on the net for his lack of imagination and strong need for control. Recall in the 2016 election run up when also-ran Soong said that only those who were faithful to their wives and children can be faithful to their country. In this view violators of traditional morality like single, unemployed men are violators of the Confucian order, weakening the nation...

But wait! There's more...!

Apple Daily ran this photo of Ting with his logo. JUST TAIPEI is another one of those almost-a-slogan-sounding English phrases that Taiwanese politicians love. The Chinese says "Taipei Future In [my] Hands. A typical play on words, Ting's Chinese name sounds like the phrase "in ___ hand". The screw, though, is priceless. Netizens in Taiwan are well acquainted with the many meanings of the word in several languages. This promises endless amusement.

You thought Sean Lien's hilariously incompetent campaign was an anomaly? One reason that mainlanders, especially elites, are having increasing trouble winning offices as Taiwan's democracy deepens is because part of being a colonial ruling class gives one a strong sense of entitlement. Even Ting, a longtime party stalwart in Taipei, with decades of political experience, can't overcome that handicap.

Meanwhile Pasuya Yao, the DPP's Taipei mayor candidate, upon hearing that Ting had taken out an AK-47 and peppered his own foot, decided to try and stay in the race to the bottom. Seizing upon Ting's mention of housing, Yao once again mentioned his policy of housing rent subsidies, 3K a month for singles and 5K a month for married couples. This attempt to buy votes with tax dollars met with a torrent of abuse on the intertubes, not merely for the stupidity of the policy itself, but because instead of letting Ting stew in his own remarks, Yao brought the spotlight back to himself, demonstrating both policy and political ineptitude.

It's no wonder that independent Ko Wen-je is enjoying a comfortable lead in the polling for Taipei. Keep on trucking, Ting and Yao!
Daily Links:
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Quake Alert

Had a little quake of 4.0 in nearby Nantou, but it felt big. During the quake, which went on for a few seconds, I got this "presidential alert" on my phone.
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Latest for ACT: A Thesaurus....

A map of a budding tourist area north of Dongshih, which has recently become targeted for development by the government as the "pear area".

Compiling a thesaurus of Beijing-talk on Taiwan...
Breaking Away = Formalizing current de facto independence. In many writings Taiwan is described as “breaking away” or a “breakaway” province. Such language implies that Taiwan is part of China, though under international law it is not. It is always better to write that Taiwan is formalizing its independence and is not “breaking away” from China.
Thanks for Andrew Kerslake and Tim Maddog for inspiration. This one will keep growing.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Miramar Developers withdraw

Local news reports that the developers of the destructive eyesore Miramar hotel have withdrawn from the project (Video above in English) and are suing Taitung County government for zillions in compensation. This post has background and links. As an observant person remarked on Facebook, the government will let the corpse sit for a while, then sell it to another developer who will begin the cycle anew.
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DPP's Taipei Campaign is making me cry

Bird of prey

Solidarity is back with a great post on the DPP's hideously silly campaign in Taipei...
On a television program a couple days ago, Yao’s campaign spokesman Hung Li-chi (洪立齊) called for DPP members whose loyalty to Yao over independent incumbent Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is unclear–including popular DPP city councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜)–to either leave the party or be expelled from it. Yao has given the impression this statement was unplanned but has stood by it nevertheless, saying his spokesman represents the campaign. Meanwhile, the DPP has withdrawn its endorsement of a neighborhood warden who has endorsed Ko, leading the warden to tearfully ask if it is wrong to support someone who gets things done.
After hearing Hung’s remarks, Kao said she was confident Yao would “be a hero and save the beauty”; when Yao instead affirmed Hung, Kao wrote that she would reflect on how to support Yao, but also challenged him to resign from the legislature for the sake of his campaign. Apple Daily (which has a good relationship with Kao) launched a Facebook Poll asking, should Kao Chia-yu leave the DPP, or should Pasuya Yao resign from the legislature? As of 7 pm Taiwan time on August 9, the readership overwhelmingly stood with Kao:
Kao should leave the party: 8%
Yao should resign: 92%
Yao was never meant to win, and as Solidarity notes, complains the party isn't supporting him. That's as it should be. Yao was run because DPP city councilors who feared for their seats wanted a DPP candidate to get out the vote. But it was obvious as many of us noted that a strong DPP candidate would split the non-KMT vote and likely put the KMT's Ting Shou-chung into the mayor's seat.

So instead of telling the DPP councilors to shut up and support Ko, and get support in return, the DPP decided to give them a suicide candidate who represented a middle finger to them and the voters. The only two who presented themselves were Yao and the equally hopeless Annette Lu. As a blogger Yao's self-absorbed, gaffe-ridden pronouncements are comedy gold, but as someone who loves Taiwan, they are incredibly destructive. The DPP is going to have to carry this cross for another three months and as it becomes clear even to Yao that he is not just going to lose but to be buried and the location of his grave forgotten, he is going to say even more destructive things.

Pasuya Yao is what happens to parties whose leadership won't discipline members to do the smart thing. Fortunately voters have short memories, and fortunately Ko is looking like he will win. Hopefully Yao will then be put in cold sleep and sent to colonize the Andromeda Galaxy.

Ko himself is hardly less gaffe-prone than Yao, but he is also far more practical a politician. His use of a loose form of the term "family" to describe the peoples of China and Taiwan is still causing him trouble. This week he denied that he had failed to inform the NSC of those key phrases in his speech, and once again averred his deep greenness...
“Being ‘deep green’ is my background, but the most beneficial thing for me as Taipei Mayor to do for Taiwan at present is to continue exchanges between the two cities,” Ko said. “So saying that the ‘two sides of the Strait are one family’ does not contradict my being ‘deep green.’”
The purists in the DPP who pouted when Ko used that language are why we can't have nice things. For all his alleged naivete Ko is very aware of what he has to be doing as mayor of the nation's capital and as mayor of city that is half-Blue. That is why he is getting re-elected, with the strong support of the young -- who are deep green but want alternatives to the corporate-owned, neoliberal, business-as-usual DPP. Ko was quoted in another article this week on his Shanghai Forum remarks...
“I worked at intensive care units and emergency rooms as a doctor, and doctors have a trait: We never get to choose our patients,” Ko said. “We cannot ask patients to come in only if they are affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] or Democratic Progressive Party.”

He has no difficulty speaking with politicians from the pan-blue or the pan-green camps, Ko said, adding that having “practical dialogues” is his specialty, because his experience as a surgeon has made him practical and willing to listen to different opinions.

“The statement that ‘the two sides of the [Taiwan] Strait are one family’ is still a fundamental element [of my cross-strait discourse] for the time being. It does not pertain to politics, but rather to cultural and economic exchanges, as well as exchanges between private actors and between cities,” he said.
Note how his language highlights a common "neither Blue nor Green" approach taken by independent politicians, and also emphasizes the practical reality of being mayor of the national capital. Ko knows well he has strong support and can afford to point out that his opponents are being purist idiots.

Don't look for him to be presidential in 2020. He's 59 this month and will be in his mid-sixties when the 2024 election run-up begins. The 2024 election, with William Lai (currently premier), Chen Wen-tsan (the 51 year old highly popular and competent mayor of Taoyuan) and whoever else vaults to prominence, is going to be an interesting election.
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Friday, August 10, 2018


Dried fruit chips are especially good if you mix them with dust, automobile exhaust, and tire particulates.

It's a mark of the general improvement in things since I opened this blog over 13 years ago (OMG) that there is less and less garbage out there that unthinkingly replicates China's discourses on annexation of Taiwan. But today Stratfor treated us to its wisdom on China's urgent need to "reunify" Taiwan -- yep, Beijing's description of the Taiwan-China relationship is faithfully forwarded. It's a hilarious compendium of pro-China perspectives, geostrategic impoverishment, and plain error. In other words, this writer has a great future ahead of himself as a leading media commentator...

Let's have a look...
One of the biggest obstacles to China's campaign for "national rejuvenation," President Xi Jinping's plan to guide the country to world prominence, lies across 180 kilometers (112 miles) of water on the island of Taiwan. The mainland's drive to return China to a position of global strength — which it hopes to complete by 2049 — includes reunification with Taiwan.
Taiwan is not an "obstacle" to Chinese power (note that China has grown quite powerful and enjoyed excellent economic growth without Taiwan) nor is what is going on "reunification". It's annexation. At least have the grace to put "reunification" in quotes. Taiwan is a target. It's time to stop using language that treats Taiwan as a "problem". Onward....
While successive governments in Beijing have tried without success to reclaim or to reintegrate the island, they did prevent it from pulling away.  
The whole piece has this casual, hazy approach to history. It was not Beijing but the KMT in Taiwan that squelched Taiwan independence via authoritarian power. Beijing has never had the power to prevent Taiwan independence. Let's hear Fairbank from 1957 again:
The Chinese on Taiwan deserve an opportunity for self-determination, to join the mainland or remain free of it as they wish. There is little doubt today that they would seek freedom from the mainland.
That sentiment has always been crushed by the KMT...

It's important when you write on China that you never adopt its point of view or the vocabulary that it puts forward. Otherwise, it's GIGO. More GIGO....
Today, with the island's younger generations displaying an increasing desire for independence, the United States is showing signs of greater support for Taiwan. These factors have helped to push tensions across the Taiwan Strait to their highest point in a decade.
Let's rewrite that so it reads properly:
Today, with the island's younger generations displaying an increasing desire for independence, the United States is showing signs of greater support for Taiwan. These factors have pushed Beijing to increase tensions across the Taiwan Strait to their highest point in a decade.
Tensions are not caused by the US or Taiwan. They are caused by Beijing's desire to annex Taiwan.

Moving on:
Over the decades, Beijing has alternated between military intimidation and economic sweeteners to try to keep the government in Taipei in line
The "economic sweeteners" have two functions: (1) hollow out Taiwan's economy and (2) prepare the domestic audience for war by showing that Beijing has exhausted all peaceful approaches. Oh, and of course, to get the media to dutifully reproduce this language about "economic sweeteners" to make Beijing look reasonable. Onward...
Recently, the mainland's elevated military posture along with increasing diplomatic coercion and heated rhetoric about reunification have strained relations with Taiwan. A growing willingness by both Taipei and Washington to break cross-strait protocols has aggravated tensions.
Hahahaha. Hahahahahahahahaha. What "growing willingness?" What cross-strait protocols are being referred to? No concrete examples are given, of course, but you can be sure that if tensions are rising, it surely is the fault of Taipei and Washington.

Once again, resistance is necessary, and does not "aggravate" tensions. Beijing chooses to aggravate tensions to influence Washington's policy response and media presentations. There's no need for false balance. Onward...
The current U.S. administration is not the first to challenge the "One China" principle — mainland China's view that it has sovereignty over Taiwan — but the changing balance of power between the mainland and island is heading into a pivotal period.
Note that we are deep into this article and the writer is still referring to "the mainland", so completely has Beijing's discourse captured his presentation.

The writer could have noted that US policy is that Taiwan's status is unsettled, which would help the reader understand what is going on. But I suspect from the way that language grows vague around this point that the author doesn't understand that...

Using Beijing propaganda to explain Beijing's action...
For China, Taiwan is a last holdout to its long-awaited national reunification 
...nope. It's annexation, and it won't be the "last". As anyone who has studied this knows, the Senkakus and Okinawa are next after Taiwan. Then islands around Phils... then the gods only know what new territories the Chinese will claim...

Remember what I said about the casual, hazy history...
During its history, China has ruled Taiwan indirectly for long spans. But the island has also been home to European and Japanese colonies
...."China" has never ruled Taiwan. Ever. For all of Chinese history down to the end of the Ming, the island was officially ignored, occasionally visited by individual people from China, but never ruled by any Han emperor. The Manchus annexed the west and NE coast beginning in 1683, but the first government to rule the whole island was Japan's.

This lazy sentence is profoundly indicative of how Beijing has gotten people to accept the hazy idea of "ancient" Chinese rule over Taiwan. Onward...
With term limits on the Chinese presidency removed, Xi could attempt to address reunification during his tenure.
Yup. Many people scared of this possibility.
Finally, Beijing is increasingly concerned that the understanding of the "One China" policy — under which the United States recognizes Beijing as representing China — could be at risk. The United States could move closer to recognizing Taiwanese independence or could adopt a more assertive and visible military presence on the island. 
The author's lazy cluelessness is on display again. The US recognizes Beijing as the sovereign government of China -- but doesn't include Taiwan in that China. Hence there is no contradiction between the US "one China" policy and Taiwan independence. What the author wants to say is that the US could use the possibility of support for Taiwan independence as a lever against China.

But more deeply, note the problem of the article -- it is focused on Beijing, not on Taiwan. Compare any article on the Baltics and the Russian threat to this one -- few in the west adopt Russian vocabulary and discourse to frame the Russian desire to annex the Baltics the way writers routinely adopt Beijing's perspective on its desire to annex Taiwan. The writer never forthrightly acknowledges the idea that Beijing is involved in expansion which Taiwan is resisting, like Estonia vs Russia...

Yet another problem with this piece is here:
Between Two Giants: Taiwan's Future
Taiwan's path ahead is uncertain and risky. It sits between two giants locked in a great power competition, and its limited international clout and increasingly outmatched military puts it at a disadvantage. 
The author treats the Taiwan issue as a thing between Washington and Beijing, but of course, there's Tokyo. And Phils. And the states around the South China Sea. The world this writer describes is a geostrategic bubble world in which Japan does not exist. Taiwan is crucial to Japan's defense, and war in the Taiwan Strait would likely involve Japan (quick, where are those US planes that might defend Taiwan based?).

The ending of the piece is sturdy and except for its Beijing-centric language, not too bad. Regrettably the author keeps referring to "growing" independence sentiment. Let's look at Axelbank's 1963 piece in Harper's:
If a poll were taken now to determine what status Formosans want for their island, I am sure that at least a two-thirds majority would favor independence.
...sentiment is the same as its always been...

I'd just like to thank Stratfor for this opportunity to practice. Been a while...
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Thursday, August 09, 2018

...and the KMT marches on

The KMT is having a competition to select a mascot for the party. The number one choice of netizens is this chicken.... (Hong Kong Free Press)
“Since the KMT mascot design competition stresses on freshness and energy, I picked a chicken as the design which symbolises youthful spirit,” the description for the proposed mascot said. “But I wanted to make him funnier and younger, so I decided to make it a person wearing a chicken costume, running with full spirit, to symbolise KMT leading Taiwan forward.”
Alas, the netizens count only 20% in the choice. But the desire to pick a mascot reflects the need of the KMT to appear youthful. It also reflects a cultural preference: just as in the US power is masked by politeness (Please exit to the left, Thank you for not littering), in Taiwan it is masked by cute. 

Up in Taipei KMT Mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung decided this week that beating Ko wasn't difficult enough already, and decided to handicap himself with some silly remarks...
Essentially: since Taiwanese and Chinese have the same culture, race, and blood, and the people on both sides of the Strait are one family, Taiwanese fighting Chinese is irrational. He also said that if he were elected, he would not permit the sons and daughters of Taiwan to fight China for Taiwan independence.

Ting's bog-standard mainlander thinking shows exactly why Ma Ying-jeou got elected and why Ting probably won't. When Ma ran for office he gritted his teeth and said he was Taiwanese during the run up to each election. Though Ma stuck with the standard mainlander line that Taiwanese were Chinese, he conceded that they were a recognizable subculture. Ma attempted to find a space between the demands of the Church of the Mainlander Identity and the urgent need to get elected.

But Ting, mainlander to the core, insists on regurgitating the whole catechism. If any Deep Green DPPers were still giving him protest votes because they dislike Ko, they will probably reconsider. Ting more or less announced that he was of a different culture than most of the voters.

Smart move.

As I have noted, the KMT has once again filled the campaign slots with machine politicians and mainlanders. Mainlanders are running for the mayors of Taichung, Taipei, and Taoyuan, and mainlander elites are still running the party. The Taiwanization of the KMT still hasn't happened...

It's still your daddy's KMT...
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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

This is why the DPP is not winning any popularity contests

Two friends well met on my early morning ride

DPP, KMT, whoever runs the government has the same attitude toward hoi polloi (FocusTw):
Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Thursday that the government will continue to "negotiate" with residents of Rueifang District in New Taipei to dispel their fears about the planned reopening and expansion of a decommissioned coal-fired power plant in the area.

"Our responsibility is to negotiate, negotiate and negotiate with them, with compassion, before going ahead with the plan," Shen said at a news conference, when asked about the government's plans for the controversial Shen'ao Power Plant.
"Negotiate" in this case means simply wear them down until they shut up, and then build a power plant that the nation does not need and which will hurt both the local and global environments. I wish it were hard to find public policy-making more moronic than this, but most nations run their energy policies this way.

The image above shows a bridge under construction to enable the 3 to bypass the city of Dongshih (google map link). There are also new roads going in around the central Taiwan science park. Why this construction? Because the city of Taichung, with all the many urgent needs facing it, chose to spend millions putting in these roads in part to service anticipated new traffic to the idiotic flower exhibition center. This google maps link still shows the old horse racing area in Houli, a stretch of grass that has been destroyed to put in the flower exhibition, which will be permanent. It will demand power to cool it, permanently, and water to keep it watered, permanently.

The stoopid, it burns.

Imagine if, instead of spending all that public money on this fruitless, idiotic project, the government had instead decided to spend it on putting solar panels on public buildings and handing out free solar panels to anybody who wanted until the budget ran out. Instead of subsidizing an urgently needed hi-tech industry with massive panel orders the government decided to subsidize the gangster-ridden construction industry by spraying yet more concrete across the countryside.

The lack of imagination is terrifying. A chance to change the future for everyone and spare northern Taiwan the re-opened Shenao Coal Plant, and instead, we get another cookie cutter construction-industrial state project. Nothing changes....
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Monday, August 06, 2018

Act #10: Taiwan: Between Hong Kong and Xinjiang

My latest for American Citizens for Taiwan: Taiwan: Between Hong Kong and Xinjiang
Consider: Taiwan combines both the problems of Hong Kong — an established order of democracy and rule of law backed by a long history of dealing with colonial power — and Xinjiang: an isolated population with its own identity and a long history of independent cultural development. In Taiwan this double whammy of problems for the occupation is the hallmark of the young, whose independent Taiwan identity has robustly incorporated the idea of democracy.
Go thou and read!
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Red Headed Island

On this Illustrated Tourist Map of Taiwan, published in 1954, the names of some locations are still in flux. Author and historian Katy Hui-wen Hung, who is coming out with a culinary history of Taipei this fall (along with the awesome Steve Crook), mused on Facebook....
🙄Note: today's Little Ryukyu, is called just Ryukyu in 1954. Whereas Ryukyu became Okinawa in Japan)

There is so much twists and turns, so much bullies, enforcements and disguises between 1940 to 1960 in Taiwan, that one could discover something every week for the rest of the year.

I came across the original of this map printed in 1942 (1945 ended Japanese occupation) the other day, now I can’t find it. But I noticed something then that today’s Green Island (Ludao) Japanese had called it something else, 3 characters and beginning with Fire 火. I looked up then, and learned that it was called ‘Bonfire Island’. It was changed to Green Island (the Oasis Hell. Sadly it turned out History made it) in 1949 when Chiang KS retreated to Taiwan.

This map is printed in 1954. I couldn’t find the original in 1942, but it is now owned by National Taiwan History Museum Tainan, that I remember.

In this map – you see both names printed ‘Green Island’ and ‘Bonfire Island’.

(The name "Green Island" is a calque of the island's Chinese name Lǜdǎo, which was adopted on August 1, 1949, at the behest of Huang Shih-hung (黃式鴻), the magistrate of Taitung. Prior to 1949, it was known as Bonfire Island from its former name Kashō-tō (Japanese: 火焼島). In the 19th century, it was also called Samasana Island from its Amis name Sanasai.)
Note also that on this map Lanyu (Orchid Island) is "Red Head Island". Wiki observes:
he island was first mapped on Japanese charts as Tabako-shima in the early 17th century and Tabaco Xima on a French map of 1654. The Chinese, who had no contact with the inhabitants of the island, called it Ang-thau-su (Chinese: 紅頭嶼; pinyin: Hóngtóuyǔ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Âng-thâu-sū; literally: "Red-headed island"), from which it was called Kōtō-sho (紅頭嶼) during Japanese rule. The Japanese government declared the island an ethnological research area off-limits to the public.
After the KMT occupied Taiwan in 1945 the restriction on visits to the island was retained, and finally removed in 1967. Its name was officially changed in 1946 but obviously not everyone got the memo.
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Sunday, August 05, 2018

Thanks, France

Apple Daily posted this image of the French team at the Gay Games in Paris waving the ROC flag in sympathy for Taiwan, whose name and flag were suppressed by China.
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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Explaining Canada's China Policy

A net-acquaintance posted this to a discussion group..
____ describes the organization accurately. Leading members have much to offer, in particular deep background on Power Corporation, a huge corporation and major player all over the world which has somehow managed to fly below the radar of Canadian citizens for many decades.

Power Corporation has virtually dictated China policy to all Canadian governments since at least 1972. And the China policy it dictates has always been determined and drafted in Beijing. Through Power Corporation, Beijing has virtually owned every Canadian Prime Minister since 1972. It prefers the Liberal Party, but had no difficulty working through PM Brian Mulroney when the Conservatives were in Power. Later still, when the Conservatives came back to power in 2008 under Stephen Harper (who took office with a notably anti-China public persona), it took about two years. But after that, Harper did as he was told and toed the Power Corp line as had all Prime Ministers of both parties before him.

Pierre Trudeau was a behind the scenes co-founder of the Canada China Trade Council (Now the Canada China Business Council) in 1972, along with the then CEO of Power, Paul Desmarais. When Brian Mulroney brought the Conservatives back to power, he had a history with Power Corp as their Labour Lawyer. Jean Chretien had been a Cabinet Minister under Pierre Trudeau. When Trudeau’s Liberals were soundly defeated by Mulroney, Chretien left politics to accept a position with Gordon Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Corporation.

Later Chretien led a Liberal victory over Mulroney and became Prime Minister in his own right. By this point, Chretien’s daughter was married to Andre Desmarais, son of Paul Desmarais and new CEO of Power.

Paul Martin succeeded Chretien and immediately preceded Stephen Harper. Martin was a huge tycoon who had made his fortune as owner of Canada Steamship Lines. CSL had been a division of Power Corp but had been spun off to Martin. Martin later moved the international headquarters of CSL from New York to Shanghai and for many years has had almost all its ships built in China.

Power Corp is the major investor in the Three Gorges Dam project and, along with Bombardier, is also a major investor in the China/Tibet railroad project.

There is much more to the Power Corp story and I apologize for going on at such length.
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Friday, August 03, 2018

Lin Gets Boost in Taichung + Polls

And so the  Chinese end up giving Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung a boost in a tight race with the KMT's Lu (Taipei Times) as their cancellation of the East Asian Youth Games works in Lin's favor:
Asked who should be responsible for the incident, 40.5 percent said Beijing, while 31.5 percent said the Taiwanese government.

Despite the cancelation, 71.1 percent of respondents said that the city should continue to build the sports venues intended for the Games, while more than 80 percent said that they supported Lin’s appeal to reinstate the Games.

Regarding satisfaction over Lin’s handling of the incident, 57.6 percent said that they were satisfied, while 22.7 percent said they were dissatisfied

The survey also gauged how the incident affected Lin’s approval rating. It found that 43.2 percent of voters support Lin’s re-election bid, while his main competitor, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), garnered support from only 24.4 percent.

Lin also led the favorability rating by 25.6 percentage points, the survey found.

The Taichung mayoral election to be held in November is widely considered to be a close race, National Taiwan Normal University Graduate Institute of Political Science professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) said, adding that the result would also be considered a bellwether for the 2020 presidential race.
It's actually amazing to me that 31% of the people blame Taiwan when China hurts it. But this poll from the pro-China Cross Strait Policy Association is nothing but good news for Lin. Not only does it show him with higher favorability and support numbers, it also has high support for building the venue and for his handling of the cancellation. The DPP poll also found that 68% blame China. Lot of idiots out there in the minority, fortunately...

Moreover, the public supports continued building of the infrastructure, which means that the city government run by the DPP will still be pouring money into the pockets of people pouring concrete, with public approval. Keeping local faction networks fed and watered with public funds is a key to winning local elections...

That's very good news, but even though Lu is a lackluster mainlander candidate backed by the KMT machine, the election is still very winnable for the KMT and much campaigning lies ahead. One county over, in Changhua, DPP infighting has given the KMT a real chance to take back Changhua, which is the largest administrative entity by population outside the 6 municipalities, as Donovan reminds me.

Taichung will be an important signal of the DPP's ability to deliver victory in the Real Taiwan. Remember, the mayor of a municipality appoints all of the officials in that area. That will mean eight years of DPP power across the area.

My friend Donovan Smith dug up this old photo of Ting Shou-chung, Chen Shui-bian, and Jaw Shaw-kong from a panel discussion before the 1994 mayoral election, which Chen won. 

According to a poll this week, in Taipei independent and pro-Green Ko Wen-je, the current mayor, is far ahead of the KMT's Ting Shou-chung and the DPP's Pasuya Yao...
As for the Nov. 24 elections, Ko has a significant lead (64.4 percent) in supportive rate against his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rivals, Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) respectively, the poll found.
Ko laughed at questions about him running for president. I do not think he will run in 2020. He'd have to run against Tsai Ing-wen, and his deputy mayor is DPP. That would mean turning his own city over to the party of his major rival, while annoying the population by leaving his job early. I don't see that happening. But it might not be a bad idea for the DPP to bring him into the party for the 2024 election and run him as Veep, if he'd accept that.

Meanwhile the pro-KMT Taiwan Competitiveness Forum came out with a rather strange poll that supported the claims of some analysts that people are giving up on political parties.
Public dissatisfaction with Tsai’s performance reached 64.1 percent, increasing by 3.8 percentage points from a February poll, while dissatisfaction with Premier William Lai’s (賴清德) performance rose 6.4 points to 47.5 percent, Hsieh said.

While Tsai has encouraged government officials to show humility, nearly 40 percent of respondents said that the ruling party has not demonstrated more tolerance for social dissent than the KMT, Hsieh added.

Asked which party they supported, 23.1 percent said the KMT and 14.6 percent chose the DPP, while more than half of respondents had no preference, he said.
The poll is simply a political attack on the DPP and should carry no weight as an analysis of the electorate. But that last paragraph there has half the population showing no party preference. It's pretty obvious to everyone that the population wants another party choice, but no party has stepped up. Nor can they -- the mathematics of a winner-take-all system work against smaller parties. That is why the KMT and DPP colluded to get rid of the old system. We need to return to that.

Donovan pointed out to me that the Miaoli shows how pro-KMT areas are willing to vote for alternatives if they are not DPP. But Taipei, a heavily pro-KMT city, also shows that -- if given a non-DPP politician, even an obvious green, KMT voters are willing to make the switch.

This blog tracks the polls. At present among the six municipalities the KMT is winning only in New Taipei City, where their candidate is one of the most popular politicians in the country. The KMT is in the lead in Yilan, which swings KMT from time to time despite its green reputation. In Hsinchu county a former KMTer is in the lead, while the DPP candidate is leading in the city. In Nantou (a KMT lock), Miaoli (a KMT lock), and Changhua the KMT is in the lead. Yunlin, Chiayi, and Pingtung are all DPP at the moment, but the KMT is leading in Chiayi City. Hualien, Taitung, and Penghu are all KMT at the moment, the first two are KMT locks.

In sum, if the election were held today, the notable swings would be in Yilan and Changhua. The all-important municipalities would remain in DPP hands.

Not a bad outcome, if it holds.

ADDED: Brian H looks at the election here.
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