Do Not Allow Taiwan to Become A Lonely Outsider
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 24, 2014
Summary: The Hollywood film "Transformers 4" is performing well at the box office
on the Chinese mainland, in Hong Kong, and on Taiwan. Many fans on
Taiwan have praised the new cast, as well as the plot, which
incorporates ancient legends. But they also have mixed feelings about
this joint venture with the Chinese mainland, which is chock full of
Chinese touches calculated to please Mainland audiences. The producers
had their eyes on the Mainland market. They made no attempt to please
Taiwan however, which has become a lonely outsider.
Full Text Below:
The Hollywood film "Transformers 4" is performing well at the box office on the Chinese mainland, in Hong Kong, and on Taiwan. Many fans on Taiwan have praised the new cast, as well as the plot, which incorporates ancient legends. But they also have mixed feelings about this joint venture with the Chinese mainland, which is chock full of Chinese touches calculated to please Mainland audiences. The producers had their eyes on the Mainland market. They made no attempt to please Taiwan however, which has become a lonely outsider.
The Mainland economy has grown swiftly. Many on Taiwan are oblivious to this fact. The rest of world however will not refrain from pandering to or exploiting the Mainland merely because some on Taiwan harbor hate it. The Mainland fully intends to pursue economic development regardless of how people on Taiwan might feel. Large nations pursuing economic development will conquer new territories. Take for example the recently established BRICS Development Bank. It is colliding head on with the European and American controlled World Bank and IMF. Despite this global reality, many on Taiwan remain immobilized by their "China Complex." They can no longer make rational decisions. Many policies have been stalled or delayed.
Contradictions such as these have persisted for many years. They persist even today. Two years ago, President Ma began his second term. The United Daily News Vision Workshop put forth its "Critical Two Years, Taiwan Fast Forward" initiative. We urged government and the private sector to take advantage of the coming two years, which was free of election concerns. We urged them to respond to the urgent internal and external economic situation brought on by regional economic integration. We urged them to promote radical transformation, and provide Taiwan with a sustainable future. During the "Taiwan Economic Summit" we and other participants issued seven major proposals. We urged the ruling and opposition parties to cease their bickering, initiate dialogue, and change their attitudes. We urged them to promote the rule of law, free markets, the free movement of people and capital. We urged them to begin follow up negotiations on ECFA as soon as possible, as well as Taiwan-Singapore and Taiwan-New Zealand trade negotiations. We urged them to communicate with the public over policy implementation, and to establish a Taiwan, Japan, Singapore cooperation platform. We urged them to develop long-term industrial development plans, change the OEM export model, develop a talent nurturing strategy, and restructure university education.
Two years later, visible progress has been made on policies that do not involve the Chinese mainland. They include the Taiwan-Singapore and Taiwan-New Zealand Economic Cooperation Agreements, Taiwan-Japan exchanges and cooperation and personnel policy, and higher education reform. By contrast, predictable obstacles have plagued other polices. The situation has not improved. if anything, it has worsened. Struggles for supremacy within the ruling party rage on. So blue vs. green partisan struggles. Many with agendas incite Sinophobia. One stumbling block has been laid upon another, forming an impenetrable stone wall. The STA has been mired in the Legislative Yuan for over a year. The FEPZ bill remains stalled. Clearly the "China Complex" is a chasm not easily bridged.
The "National Development Council Conference" is the Ma government's way of bridging this chasm. It has mostly addressed older issues. But those in the know nevertheless offered sound suggestions. They urged the ruling and opposition parties to move forward. Taiwan faces a far greater danger today than it did two years ago. The ROC and ROK will soon conclude an FTA. Second round negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership are coming up. Taiwan is perched on the brink of marginalization. This is not baseless alarmism. Will Taiwan slam the door shut on liberalization? Wil it choose to de-Sinicize and never deal with the Mainland again? Sooner or later Taiwan will be forced to confront reality. We will be forced to find a way forward. Therefore we offer the following suggestions.
One. We on Taiwan must view the Mainland in a neutral, rational manner. We must consider our own strengths and our competitors' strategies. We must formulate a rational foreign policy. We have lived through the March 18 student movement. The younger generation has clearly widened its exchanges with the Mainland. Therefore we must balance economic development with national security.
Two. The public must promote dialogue between the ruling and opposition parties. We must seek common ground while shelving differences. Those in power must adopt a humble and caring attitude. Those in the political opposition must behave like a loyal opposition. If those in the political opposition really care about Taiwan's future, they should begin by proposing a staged blueprint for economic development. They should prove that they have a holistic development strategy, and not oppose Ma and the Mainland at every turn out of sheer spite.
Three. The government must make even greater changes to Taiwan's economy. This is as important as liberalization. Over the past ten years, Taiwan has failed to transform its industries. It has failed to tap new means of growth. Industry finds it difficult to turn a profit. The brain drain continues. Externally we find ourselves under simultaneous attack from South Korea and the Chinese mainland. If we wish to overcome adversity, there are no shortcuts. Only continuous innovation and self-improvement offers us a chance to break through.
Four. The government must act. It must allow liberalization to bear fruit. It must extricate labor and vulnerable industries from the "Loser's Circle." It must help more middle class people into the "Winners Circle." In the short term, the government can draw on its financial resources. It can offer incentives, encourage business, and support labor. It can help vulnerable industries regroup. In the mid to long term, it must reform the tax system, educational system, and social welfare system. It must reduce income inequality. It must narrow the gap between rich and poor, thereby giving liberalization a broader base of support.
2014.07.24 02:10 am