Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sovereign Territory and Rare Earth: Diaoyutai and the DPP

Sovereign Territory and Rare Earth: Diaoyutai and the DPP
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 30, 2010

Global events are unpredictable. Who would have guessed that the Cheonan corvette sinking incident would trigger an international tug of war, and even become a footnote in the September Dioayutai incident?

Following the Cheonan incident, the US and the ROK held naval exercises in the Yellow Sea. These were followed by joint US/Vietnamese naval exercises. People cried that "The United States is returning to Asia," and is engaged in renewed efforts to contain Mainland China. Under the circumstances, Japan's detention of people at Diaoyutai, and Wen Jiabao's demand that Japan release them without conditions, was tantamount to a global game of chicken, a contest to see who would be the first to blink. In the end, the Japanese released the detainees. At this point, it is hard to say who won and who lost. But clearly Beijing has both the will and the way to defy the dictates of the United States and Japan.

Diaoyutai has long been a raw nerve on Taiwan's political scene. This time was no different. The Ma Administration's speech was nothing new. DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen's remarks however, were food for thought. Tsai Ing-wen said "Diaoyutai belongs to Taiwan." Although this quoted old Executive Yuan cases, coming from the mouth of Tsai Ing-wen, it was tantamount to a declaration of "quasi-Taiwan independence."

A full-fledged declaration of Taiwan independence would have quoted Lee Teng-hui, who said "Diaoyutai belongs to Japan." "Of course it belongs to Japan." When Lee Teng-hui said this, he had already stepped down. When President Chen Shui-bian took a boat to Pengjia Island, he declared that "Diaoyutai belongs to the Republic of China." This was another statement of position by a Green Camp leader regarding Diaoyutai.

Tsai Ing-wen's statement reveals her dilemma. On the one hand, she cannot echo Lee Teng-hui's declaration that "Diaoyutai belongs to Japan." If she were to make such a statement, the DPP would not have a leg to stand on. It would also find it difficult to mend relations with Beijing. On the other hand, she did not want to repeat Chen Shui-bian's declaration that "Diaoyutai belongs to the Republic of China." First, she had to mollify Taiwan independence elements. Secondly, invoking the Republic of China involves Diaoyutai in a "Greater China" struggle. But after all, there is no "Nation of Taiwan." Tsai's "Nation of Taiwan" is a fiction. If one hopes to assert sovereignty over Diaoyutai, what way is there but to assert that "Diaoyutai belongs to the Republic of China?"

The Taiwan independence movement would like to rid itself of Diaoyutai. It wants to rid itself of Diaoyutai in order to rid itself of Beijing. But Tsai Ying-wen dares not get rid of Diaoyutai. Clearly she is concerned about a backlash from Beijing. But if she cannot get rid of Diaoyutai, she cannot get rid of Beijing, even though she may have repudiated the "Republic of China." As we can see, she is trapped on the horns of a dilemma.

For Beijing the Diaoyutai incident involves two strategic elements: "sovereign territory" and "rare earth." This is where advocates of Taiwan independence within the DPP should focus their attention. The territorial issue is an issue of sovereignty. Beijing's tough stance on sovereignty needs no further comment. The issue of "rare earth" Beijing is tackling using economic means. Mainland China is already "the world's factory" and "the global marketplace." Japan cannot hold out in the long term. This is the main reason Japan felt compelled to release the detainees and swallow its pride. It effectively backed down under Beijing's economic threats. This should serve as a warning for the DPP.

Taipei is in coopetition with Beijing over two issues, "sovereignty" and "economics." On the issue of sovereignty, the DPP repudiates the "1992 Consensus" and "One China, Different Interpretations." It asserts that "the Republic of China is an alien regime." It attempts to promote "Taiwan independence" in a power struggle with Beijing." Is this a workable policy? On the issue of economics, the economy on Taiwan and the economy on Mainland China are inseparable. If the DPP returns to power and resumes its Taiwan independence path, Beijing may well nullify ECFA. How will the DPP cope with such a threat? This is a strategic possibility the DPP must anticipate. Actually, Beijing need only declare a "suspension of dealings between the two organizations." Any DPP-ruled central government would buckle under the impact. The 1992 Consensus allows the two sides to coexist. Taiwan's economy is inseparable from the Mainland's. If the DPP returns to power, but insists on repudiating the 1992 Consensus, the consequences will be unimagineable.

The political situation on Taiwan is changing. Some on the Mainland are even "pinning their hopes on the DPP." This tells us that if one day the DPP returns to power, but refuses to make a declaration even more explicit than the "five noes," Beijing will punish the DPP for promoting Taiwan independence. By applying economic pressure, it can exert complete control over Taiwan's political and economic systems. The DPP regime will become a fragile government, highly susceptible to extortion. Therefore in the eyes of the Beijing authorities, a DPP return to power may constitute a windfall opportunity to resolve the cross-Strait dilemma. Why shouldn't it look forward to a DPP return to power?

In recent years, the global situation and cross-Strait situation have undergone dramatic changes. The Diaoyutai issue has also undergone changes, both internationally and across the Strait. The Diaoyutai issue involves both "sovereign territory" and "rare earth." Cross-Strait issues will as well. Tsai Ing-wen has attempted to get rid of Diaoyutai. Instead she has repudiated the Republic of China. Her attempt has merely exposed the shortcomings of her strategy.

Beijing's "sovereignty/economics" strategy has been applied not just to Diaoyutai, but to the Taiwan Strait. This is precisely why Beijing is pinning its hopes on a DPP return to power.

領土與稀土 釣魚台與民進黨
2010.09.30 03:15 am


天安艦事件後,美韓黃海演習,接著美越南海演習,「美國重返亞洲」之說甚囂塵上,一種針對中國的「新圍堵」儼然上演;在這種情勢下,日本在釣魚台扣船押人,及溫家寶要求日本無條件放人,不啻是在世人面前進行「懦夫博弈」(chicken game),看誰先撐不住而跳車,最後以日本放人收場。事態發展至此,雖然難謂勝負輸贏,但北京有意志及有力量拒絕接受美日等國所定義的局勢,則為有目共睹。










Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our Vision, the Government's Implementation

Our Vision, the Government's Implementation
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 29, 2010

Last Thursday this newspaper began publishing its 2030 series of news reports. We imagined how Taiwan might be 20 years into the future. We explored economic development, educational policy, land planning international relations, civil society, covering most important domestic and foreign issues. We invited scholars and experts to provide insights and focus regarding key issues. The 2030 series of special reports explored the issues in greater depth than other fora. It outlined a highly specific future for Taiwan. Of course we hope the current administration and future political leaders will carefully read our analyses, then implement our recommendations. After all, a better future cannot be achieved by individual members of the public on a piecemeal basis. It will require governmental authority and policy coordination.

The above reports showed that such positive visions reflect the subjective views of scholars and experts. They also reveal the shortfall between ideals and reality. Indeed, when people who care about education compare the enthusiasm of the 4/10 Educational Reform March of 16 years ago, to chaotic reform measures in recent years, how can they not feel depressed? We have been consuming our seed corn for the past decade, relentlessly squandering the information industry capital Li Kuo-ting and Sun Yun-suan bequeathed us. When people who care about the economy see how utterly incapable we are at establishing new industries with comparative advantages, how can they not be worried? The gap between the future scholars and experts depict, and the reality of today's Taiwan is too great. This raises concerns about the government's ability to realize our dreams for the future.

Pessimistically speaking, the rosy future depicted 20 years from today is a "pie in the sky." Everyone makes it sound so inevitable. But to realize the vision depicted, those in power, specifically the president and the premier, must carefully read what these experts have to say. They must internalize their recommendations, and treat them as genuine expectations. Those in office must think like executives. They must divide the work into manageable units, and after discussion and communication, instruct their ministers to carry them out. Assigning tasks is merely the first step in realizing the vision. The president and premier must carefully monitor any progress. Such persistence, perseverance, and close supervision was the key to Li Kuo-ting's successful promotion of the Hsinchu Science Park, and to Sun Yun-suan's successful promotion of the IC industry. Fail to follow up on the details, or to ensure close supervision, and the vision will remain a pie in the sky.

The issues covered in these newspaper reports were all major issues. Each issue includes many secondary issues. These also require the same perseverance to be successful. Take environmental protection, a big issue, as a way to address a smaller issue, "carbon reduction." Readers should have no trouble understanding that the key is follow through. In 2009, President Ma announced his vision for carbon reduction on Taiwan. This vision included reducing carbon emissions in 2020 to their 2008 level, and in 2025 to their 2000 level. But such carbon reduction goals are unreal fantasies. Achieving such goals would require the reduction of motor vehicle emissions, the introduction of alternative power generation, the reduction of industrial emissions, industrial restructuring, and the promotion of smart metering. To achieve these goals, the president or premier would have to rally the heads of the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Bureau. They would have to establish emission reduction timetables, and supervise their implementation, without relaxation.

This is hardly the situation on Taiwan. The president may have announced carbon reduction goals. The "Renewable Energy Development Bill" may have been passed. But over the past year at least, environmentalists have seen no concrete improvements in power generation, vehicle emissions, or industrial restructuring. Has the Ministry of Economic Affairs encouraged the public to make use of alternative energy sources? Is the public aware it can sell electrical power to government? Has the Ministry of Transportation adopted progressive vehicle emissions taxes like the European Union? The petrochemical industry has recently been a hotbed of controversy. What exactly is its position on carbon reduction? Shouldn't it make its 10 year carbon reduction targets known to the public?

A quick look at energy conservation and carbon emissions alone, and it is obvious the Ma administration lacks the ability to follow through on implementation. As a member of the media, all we can do is offer a vision, rally the public, and create a consensus. But any vision requires governmental implementation to work. This newspaper's series of reports is merely the first stage in a relay race. The next two or three stages will depend upon the government's administrative ability and strength of will.

中時電子報 新聞
中國時報  2010.09.29
願景我們描繪 執行要靠政府







Tuesday, September 28, 2010

To "Open Taipei," First Open Yourself

To "Open Taipei," First Open Yourself
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 28, 2010

Su Tseng-chang is the Democratic Progressive Party's candidate for Taipei City Mayor. Su is running on an "Open Taipei" platform. He says he wants to use music to awaken a Taipei burdened by "boredom, helplessness, and anxiety." Past political campaigns have often used music. Su however, invited 33 musicians and 20 music groups to write and perform 11 Mandarin, Hoklo, Hakka, English, and Vietnamese songs. They include everything from love songs to hip-hop, everything from R&B to New Age. Su commissioned Hsiao Ching-yang, Taiwan's only three time Grammy finalist, to design a trendy CD cover. This sort of extravagance and boldness is a first for the Taiwan political stage.

Actually, whether Taipei is burdened by "boredom, helplessness, and anxiety," as Su Tseng-chang insists, depends largely upon one's political orientation. What's interesting is that the album claims it is using "entirely apolitical" means to attract moderate voters. Li Hou-ching, the chief publicist for the Su Tseng-chang campaign committee, insists that the album is entirely apolitical, Based on content alone, it may do little for Su's election prospects. But the production and marketing of the album involved many political considerations. Of the 20 musical groups that participated, most insisted on anonymity. Their main concern was "fear that others would see political connections."

The producer of the album was well-known rock band lead singer Wu Yong-ji. Wu was willing to make his own participation known. He said others were unable to make their identities public due to concern on the part of their agents. They wanted to avoid political coloration. Therefore the artists signed confidentiality agreements. The musicians would participate, on condition of anonymity. Wu Yong-ji said that for musicians to create and perform music, but not be able to reveal their identities, constituted a tragedy for Taiwan. He said he hoped Taiwan would allow the creators of the music to reveal their identities under a genuine system of "democratic freedom."

The Republic of China has undergone two ruling party changes. The DPP served as the ruling party. Its candidate served as president. The Taipei mayoral race Su Tseng-change has entered is a local election. Is the political climate really so fraught with peril that even musicians participating in the "Open Taipei" production, must engage in cloak and dagger intrigue? Do Su Tseng-chang and these musicians really believe they are living in the "dang wai" era, and that they risk being put on some sort of terrifying "blacklist?" To borrow Chen Shui-bian's famous remark: "Is it really that serious?"

The "Open Taipei" musicians' reason for wanting anonymity, according to the Su camp's own spin, is to avoid political overtones. Outsiders speculate that some of the music groups may not wish to be labeled politically because this might affect their marketability on the Mainland. Assume for the moment that their desire for anonymity is not a gimmick or marketing ploy, but reflects genuine concerns. If so, these musicians and the Su Tseng-chang campaign committee are making a mountain out of a molehill. Becoming politically colored ceased being an issue on Taiwan long ago. The fact is most people don't care that much about an artist's political colors.

Any social tensions resulting from clashes between Blue and Green Camp performing artists during Su Tseng-chang's Taipei mayoral campaign are unlikely to compare to social tensions during the 2008 presidential election. Some artists with intense political colors got into shouting matches with each other. After the election however, everyone returned to business as usual. Whether they were Blue or Green was no big deal. Besides, according to the album notes, the bands who participated in "Open Taipei" were indie bands. During the authoritarian era indie bands were unafraid to voice their political views. Have they really become fearful of showing their faces now that democracy prevails? The "Open Taipei" album centers on Taipei. Its content is heart-warming and inspirational. It encourages people to love and respect Taipei. Such content, as the Su camp asserted, is "entirely apolitical." Not only that, it is pleasant and uplifting. What reason do any of the music groups involved have to be terrified that people will find out?

Wu Yong-chi claims that the reason these musicians wish to remain anonymous is they do not want to diminish their marketability on the Mainland. But Chen Chao-jung, a Formosa TV prime time and Sanlih E TV "nativist" TV star has successfully performed on the Mainland. Several other "stunning artists" have also perfromed on the Mainland. Why would the "Open Taipei" musicans have so many misgivings and concerns? Why would they go so far as to make an album but hide their identities? These indie bands are being "cautious" beyond comprehension. Has time really run backwards? Are we really revisiting history? Besides, when did indie groups become so petty and timid? If the Su camp's intention is to protect these musicians by keeping them anonymous, it may be "killing them with love." It may be neutering them by depriving them of their spirit of rebellion.

If on the other hand, the Su camp's intention was to posture as a victim of authoritarian tyranny, to invoke memories of the spectre of authoritarianism, to create a sense of solidarity, then its tactics are immoral. They will also be ineffective. One hopes this is not the motivation behind the strategy of anonymity adopted by "Open Taipei." The Su camp has long proclaimed its desire to jettison stereotypical Green Camp propaganda methods. One hopes the Su camp is not backsliding. We would like to remind the Su camp and the "Open Taipei" musicians to believe in the Republic of China's democracy, Before they "Open Taipei" they should "open themselves." They should look at Taiwan's political past and present, and realize they need not frighten themselves to death.

想開放台北 何妨先打開自己

民進黨台北市市長候選人蘇貞昌推出競選專輯《Open Taipei》,希望能用音樂叫醒他認為呈現「無趣、無力、讓人覺得焦慮」的台北;選舉中有競選歌曲很常見,不過,像蘇貞昌這樣一口氣邀集了卅三個音樂人,廿組獨立音樂團隊參與創作,製作出橫跨國、台、客、英及越南語,從抒情到嘻哈、R&B到New Age的十一首歌,並邀請到台灣唯一三次入圍葛萊美獎的蕭青陽製作「潮牌風」CD封面,這等手筆與氣魄,在台灣政壇還屬首見。



台灣已經政黨輪替兩次,民進黨也執政做過總統了,蘇貞昌參選的這個台北市市長又是地方選舉,到底是有多肅殺、多危險,以至於連音樂創作人投入這張《Open Taipei》的製作時,還必須偷偷摸摸地搞神祕,蘇貞昌以及這些音樂人覺得自己還在「黨外時期」、還在「黑名單」的年代嗎?套一句陳水扁總統的名言:「有這麼嚴重嗎?」

《Open Taipei》音樂人匿名的理由,根據蘇陣營自己的講法是為了避免沾上政治色彩,外界則猜測可能與部分音樂團體不想因此被貼上標籤,影響在對岸市場的發展。如果匿名演出不是一個噱頭、不是為了行銷,而是真的有上述的擔心,那這些音樂人、蘇貞昌總部,都可能是多慮了。不要說台灣現在的政治現實早就對所謂的「沾惹政治色彩」這件事沒有限制,就是一般人對藝人的政治色彩到底是什麼的這件事情,其實也沒有那麼在意。

論到台灣藝人藍綠之別所引發的某種社會情緒,蘇貞昌參與的台北市市長選舉,再怎麼樣也不會如同二○○八年總統大選般強烈,當時部分政治立場較為鮮明的藝人彼此對陣叫罵,選完後,大家還不是如常過日子;是藍是綠,有什麼大不了的!更何況,根據專輯介紹,參與《Open Taipei》的都是獨立樂團,獨立樂團在政治威權時代都敢為當年的黨外發聲,怎麼到了民主時代,反而不敢露臉了?《Open Taipei》整張專輯以「台北」為創作核心,內容溫暖勵志,為的是喚醒人們對台北的愛與尊敬,這樣的內容,不但照蘇陣營的說法是「很不政治」,而且還很討人喜歡、可以給人正面的感受,參與的音樂團體有什麼怕人知道的呢?

吳永吉公開這些音樂創作人之所以要匿名的理由是不想影響他們在大陸的演藝之路,在民視八點檔、三立本土一哥陳昭榮陸續成功登陸,以及許多傳說中的「絕色藝人」也在大陸演出後,《Open Taipei》的音樂人為什麼還會有這麼多顧忌與擔憂,甚至到了連作一張音樂都要隱藏真實身分的程度,這些獨立樂團「小心翼翼」的程度實在令人費解,難道時光倒流了、歷史又走回頭路了?更何況,獨立樂團的風格向來不是這樣小裡小氣的藏首藏尾。如果是想要藉匿名保護這些音樂人,那蘇陣營可能愛之適足以害之,把獨立樂團的叛逆guts給消滅掉了。

如果刻意要以某種受壓迫與專制的姿態,召喚出記憶中的威權魅影,以集結認同,那麼,這樣的操作是不道德的,而且也是無效的。相信這不是走明亮、希望路線的《Open Taipei》採匿名策略的動機,也不會是參選以來一直有意擺脫綠色文宣刻板印象的蘇貞昌陣營的競選手法。那麼,或許在此可以提醒蘇陣營與《Open Taipei》的音樂人:要對台灣的民主、開放有信心──在「Open Taipei」之前,請先想辦法「打開自己」,看看台灣的政治現在已經走到哪裡了,不需要自己嚇自己。

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cross-Strait Policy: Determined by Helmsmen, or Public Opinion?

Cross-Strait Policy: Determined by Helmsmen, or Public Opinion?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 27, 2010

This newspaper published a series of "Six New Year's Editorials," as well as an editorial entitled, "Cross-Strait Antidote: From Reunification to Reconnection." We raised a number of cross-Strait issues, and received a number of responses from both sides. One of the responses from the Taiwan side compared Taiwan to a ship at sea. It argued that the captain of the ship must fulfill his duty as helmsman. He can hardly allow the ship to drift with the current.

"Navigating the seas requires a helmsman" was a slogan from the Cultural Revolution. It was also a symbol of authoritarianism. It likens the relationship between those in power and the general public, to the relationship between a ship's helmsman and the ship's passengers. It represents a feudal rather than democratic mindset.

The Helmsman Theory argues that "the Ma administration follows public opinion, rather than leads public opinion." The Helmsman Theory argues therefore that Ma Ying-jeou is "a helmsman without direction." The Helmsman Theory opposes the idea that "Taiwan's future should be decided by 23,000 million people." It argues that in cross-Strait policy, the Ma administration should "lead public opinion." that it should be a helmsman with a direction.

In fact however, under a democracy "the views of those in power" and "public opinion" are one and the same. They are not in opposition to each other. Those in power derive public policy from public opinion. The public is in turn inspired by those in power. The two interact with each other. This is how democracy normally functions. The Chen regime incited eight years of unrest. The Ma administration's cross-Strait policy calls for "no reunification, no independence, no use of force." It has established three direct links and signed ECFA. One cannot claim that the Ma administration "lacks direction." One cannot claim that the Ma administration is "drifting with the current." One cannot claim that Ma Ying-jeou has defaulted on the role of "helmsman." We believe the Ma administration's cross-strait policy , reflects both views of those in power, and mainstream public opinion.

If one wishes to talk about the Helmsman Theory, then Chen Shui-bian is the perfect example. He had a "firm direction." He advocated Taiwan independence. He obstinately refused to respond to the aspirations of the public for cross-Strait reconciliation. Instead he insisted on promoting Taiwan independence. His attempt to "lead public opinion" was a perfect expression of the premise that "navigating the seas requires a helmsman." But in the end, Chen Shui-bian as helmsman failed to establish Taiwan's direction. Instead, as American analysts put it, "public opinion led Taiwan out of the Chen Shui-bian Nightmare." As we can see, viewing the helmsman and public opinion as separate and opposed to each other, leads to serious mistakes. Even Beijing says it is "pinning its hopes on the Taiwan public." Why is public policy formulated in accordance with public opinion characterized as "drifting with the current?" Why assume that the direction taken by the public is not the right direction?

In cross-Strait policy, even the opinion of isolated members of the public must be carefully considered. The common people on both sides are suffering. Why assume that the views of any helmsman will not conform to public opinion? Why assume that they must override public opinion?

On Taiwan, when it comes to political views or political values, democracy trumps cross-Strait matters. If one wishes to oppose Taiwan independence, one must resort to democratic means. One must have faith that democracy is capable of dealing with the issue. Otherwise, one may well end up like Chen Shui-bian. If one advocates reunification, reintegration, or reconnecting, on the other hand, one must also resort to democratic means. Consider the rapid progress made over the past two years. Democracy is something Taiwan demands. It is also something Beijing is pursuing. How can cross-Strait issues be decided by a helmsman whose views are diametrically opposed to public opinion? It matters not whether the helmsman is in Taipei or Beijing. Otherwise, why speak of "pinning one's hopes on the Taiwan public?"

As for the Helmsman Theory, why link that to this newspaper editorial? Advocates of the Helmsman Theory believe that Ma Ying-jeou's advocacy of the "1992 Consensus," "One China, Different Interpretations," "Republic of China", and "no reunification, no independence, no use of force," is phony, fraudulent, lacking in direction, and ineffective. They consider it the equivalent of Chen Shui-bian's advocacy of Taiwan independence or an independent Taiwan. These people assert or insinuate that this newspaper's editorial pages are a mouthpiece for the Ma administration. They accuse this newspaper editorials of advocating Taiwan independence, an independent Taiwan, the two-states theory, a Republic of China in name only, as lacking direction, and drifting with the current. What do such absurd and bizarre charges represent, but a 21st century version of the Inquisition?

Long ago we declared that our editorials have nothing to do with the Ma administration. Once again we solemnly declare that our editorials have "zero" connection with the Ma administration. Such smear tactics have actually appeared in the writings of self-proclaimed scholars. This is truly astonishing. If in order to establish their own doctrine, these critics wish to characterize Ma Ying-jeou as an advocate of "Taiwan independence," We would take strong exception. But we would point out that we do not speak for Ma Ying-jeou. These are merely matters of opinion, subjective evaluations by third parties. But to claim that the United Daily News advocates Taiwan independence, an independent Taiwan, the two-states theory, or a Republic of China in name only, is absurd. Such vicious attacks merely make one wonder whether such individuals have any cognitive ability.

Cross-Strait issues have been the subject of much discussion. Even a fool can occasionally have a good idea. Even a wise man can make a mistake. The defects of democracy cannot obscure its virtues. We could have engaged in a constructive dialogue. We could have addressed each others' shortcomings. But if one arbitrarily accuses others of advocating "Taiwan independence." or of "lacking direction," merely to flatter oneself, then isn't one setting oneself up as a "helmsman?"

2010.09.27 03:15 am











Thursday, September 23, 2010

Overdevelopment and Industrial Zone Bubbles

Overdevelopment and Industrial Zone Bubbles
China Times
A Translation
September 23, 2010

Phases III and IV of the Taichung Science Park and the acquisition of land in Dapu, Miaoli County have provoked protests by farmers. Problems with excessive industrial park development and with "too many chefs spoiling the broth" have resurfaced. Bureau of Audit statistics indicate that industrial parks island-wide include over 2000 hectares of idle land. Several years ago the Bureau of industry halted the development of new industrial zones. But local officials were eager to pad their resumes. They relentlessly acquired agricultural land and developed new industrial zones. The absence of overall management and control has led to an industrial zone bubble on Taiwan. This bubble will lead to inestimable waste and destruction.

Have industrial zones been overdeveloped? A walk through the zones tells all. Most northern industrial zones are full. Central and southern industrial zones are idle. Their plight is worse than the official statistics suggest. The main reason is that some manufacturers purchase the land during the early stages of development, but do not actually build any plants. Some vendors rent the land. Because the rents are ultra low, the plants are left idle. Plant construction never even began.

Take the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park for example, the largest in the nation. It has been in development for 30 years, but most of the land remains idle. Much of it is overgrown with weeds and crumbling structures. The underlying cause is insufficient planning. Some people harbored unrealistic dreams of a Yunlin Offshore Industrial Zone. Three industrial zones in addition to Formosa Plastics in Mailiao have been forced to shut down. Over 1000 hectares of new industrial zones involved the investment of tens of billions in land reclamation. All have been forced to suspend development.

In 1996, the Bureau of Industrial Development developed the Tainan Technology Industrial Park. Later, the National Science Council developed the Tainan Science-Based Industrial Park. The two entities worked against each other. The result was below expectation industry investment. This was a perfect example of how central government ministries each go their own way. What was even more absurd, land in Tainan was much cheaper than land in Taipei. But a less than ideal long-term financing and unit sales situation inflated development costs. Land at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park went for seven million NT per ping, making it the island's most expensive industrial zone. Even after the price was lowered to four million NT per ping, it remained higher than for any other industrial zone.

For years, everyone from the central government level to the local level, from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to the National Science Council, from the Council of Agriculture to the Environmental Protection Agency, rushed to develop industrial zones. Together, they created the industrial zone bubble. In addition, local governments in financial distress became ever more aggressive in acquiring and developing land.

Closer examination reveals that behind county and municipal government development of industrial zones, was wholesale collusion between political and business interests. Superficially, industrial zones promote economic development and create jobs. But even more importantly, eminent domain rezones agricultural land for industrial, residential, or commercial use. This brings with it immense development advantages. Conglomerates with advance information can jockey for position. Builders can often maximize their profits. Local governments can rezone the land, sell it, and inject the profits into the local economy. So many birds, all killed with a single stone. So why not?

But not everyone benefits from the land acquisition and development game. In 1986, the Chiayi County Government set up the "Chung Yang Chi Industrial Zone." At the time martial law was still in effect. Many farmers who protested were charged with obstruction of official business. Eight landlords insisted on recovery of ancestral lands and refused government compensation. The case dragged on for over a decade, and the courts ruled their compensation forfeited. This tragedy underscores the many problems behind the use of eminent domain to acquire land for industrial zones.

First of all, was the land acquisition legitimate? Was it consistent with the public interest? The farmers lived off the land for over a century. If the government ends up with large tracts of idle land, was it really justified driving farmers off the land in the name of new industrial zones?

Secondly, the publicly announced acquistion price is often far lower than the current market price. This is unfair to those forced to sell. The government invokes eminent domain to acquire agricultural land on the cheap. It rezones the land for industrial, commercial, or residential use. After which the price of the land skyrockets, often increasing by several hundred percent. The farmers may be allotted a tiny plot of land, but only enough to build a toilet or a bedroom. Is such a system of eminent domain reasonable?

Third, the industrial zone development system has too many chefs. They have already created industrial zone bubbles all over the island, leading to idle land and wasted resources. Science park operating funds have accumulated a liability amounting to 120 billion NT. In the end, this will be borne by the taxpayers. The Bureau of Industrial Development has put its foot on the brake. It has imposed a moratorium on the development of new industrial zones. But it continues to allow county and municipal governments to develop new industrial zones. Is this responsible?

The development of industrial zones began in the 1960s. Rapid industrial development enabled Taiwan's economy to take-off. But the public as a whole has paid a heavy price. In recent years, total industrial output as percentage of GDP has fallen below 30 percent. Industrial zone development policy has reached the stage where it requires comprehensive review and adjustment. Land and water resources on Taiwan are limited, The world is moving toward a knowledge economy. Does the government really intend to continue developing industrial zones without end? Who will assume responsibility for the waste and destruction caused by over-exploitation?

浮濫開發 各地工業區逐漸泡沫化
2010-09-23 中國時報












Direct Government to Government Links: Accelerate the "Fourth Link"

Direct Government to Government Links: Accelerate the "Fourth Link"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 23, 2010

Central government officials have appeared at cross-Strait events with increasing frequency. Mainland Culture Minister Cai Wu met with our own Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) Minister Emile Sheng. Our own Government Information Office (GIO) Chief Chiang Chi-chen met with Mainland Deputy Director of Press and Publication Administration Wu Shulin. Our own Minister of Education (MOE) Wu Ching-chi attended the same ribbon-cutting ceremony as Shaanxi Provincial Governor Chao Zhengtong. Our own APEC Affairs Council Chairperson Wang Ju-hsuan attended the Beijing Conference on Human Development, and was photographed next to Mainland President Hu Jintao.

These phenomena remind one of cross-Strait shipping and its transition from "indirect" to "direct." Over the years, the two sides have used Hong Kong and Ishigaki Island as shipping "buffers." This led to "changing the voyage number without changing the ship" and other gimmicks. These gimmicks however, backfired, especially after Hong Kong's retrocession in 1997. Voyages and flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong were already "direct." Never mind that we engaged in self-deception by pretending they were still "indirect." In December 2008, following the implementation of direct flights, we finally stopped using Hong Kong as a "buffer."

Current cross-Strait exchanges also rely on "buffers." The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), are just such "buffers." Therefore the aforementioned phenomenon of central government officials meeting directly has already gone from "indirect" exchanges, to "direct government to government" exchanges. This should be considered a valuable "fourth link" in the wake of the "three links."

The two sides are currently negotiating a cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Commission. This would help promote "direct government to government" links. Negotiations are nominally under the aegis of the SEF and ARATS. But the delegations will be led on both sides by vice ministerial level officials. The buffers have already been set aside, and are now merely for show.

This is a positive and welcome trend. Representatives from the two sides were often faced with a dilemma. They were required to tap dance around whether they were "not in disagreement" or "in agreement." Direct contact by central government officials would enable them to sidestep such theoretical or rhetorical obstacles. In other words, the theoretical and rhetorical justifications for cross-Strait exchanges have fallen behind real world practice and action. Therefore it makes sense to allow practice to guide theory.

In the past, contacts between Mainland and Taiwan officials were limited to the local government level. The authorities in Beijing and central government officials on Taiwan were leery of higher level contacts. The most obvious example was ARATS President Chen Yunlin's meeting with Ma Ying-jeou. For one, Chen Yunlin was not an official but merely a "buffer." Furthermore, Chen Yunlin addressed President Ma as "you." The reason for this was difficulties over "mutual recognition." Now however, central government officials from both sides have made direct contact. It is now possible to modify the theoretical justifications for "mutual non-denial" or "mutual recognition."

The two sides "recognize each other," or at least "do not repudiate each other." This may have developed out of Lien Chan's 2005 visit to the Mainland. Beijing recognized Lien Chan as Chairman of the KMT. In effect, it recognized his status as the chairman of the opposition party of the Republic of China. Next, Beijing recognized Wu Po-hsiung as chairman of the KMT. In effect, it recognized his status as the chairman of the ruling party of the Republic of China. Furthermore, Beijing was originally willing to recognize officials from Taiwan only at the county and municipal level. But without a Republic of China central government, where did its county and municipal governments come from? Today, central government officials from the two sides are meeting directly. The two sides' ministerial level officials must of course answer to "heads of state" above them. How can anyone deny this? As we can see, practice has outstripped theory. Theory has lagged behind action. In fact, recognizing county chiefs and city mayors, or recognizing ministerial level officials, all implicitly require recognizing the existence of the central governments. The logic is above reproach. It was merely that our political practices deviated from it in the past.

Now officials on both sides look forward to a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and President Hu Jintao. This also poses "theoretical" obstacles. But if the two sides can refer to each other by their official titles, the possibility of a meeting is great. If the two sides wish to see a Ma/Hu meeting, they need to create a mutually acceptable "theoretical basis" for any such meeting.

In the past, Beijing associated "repudiating the Republic of China" with "reunification." But in fact these are two entirely separate issues. If Beijing recognizes the Republic of China, does that really mean we cannot reunify? East and West Germany recognized each other as "nations," but not as "foreign nations." Were they not reunified in the end? The cross-Strait status quo is merely the legacy of a civil war. What is this, if not the theoretical basis for two governments, either warring or negotiating a peace treaty, under the premise of "One China?" What is the alternative? Taipei can hardly sign a peace agreement with Beijing under the name of the "Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu Separate Customs Territory." Besides, the two sides are undergoing "peaceful development." "Reconnecting" should take precedence over "reunification." "Direct government to government links" would be a powerful connection extremely difficult to reverse, hence something both worthwhile and welcome.

We are delighted to see central government officials from the two sides accelerate the "fourth link." This will allow the public on the two sides to become accustomed to "direct government to government links." This will allow the two sides to gain a better understanding of cross-Strait relations from "direct government to government links." This will allow "practical innovation" to lead "theoretical innovation" and "policy innovation." Perhaps this precious historical opportunity will enable the heads of the MAC and the Taiwan Affairs Office visit each other, premiers on the two sides each other, and even Ma and Hu meet each other in an official, earth-shaking, world class summit.

【聯合報╱社論】 2010.09.23











Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Heartless Politics and the Rape of Flowers

Heartless Politics and the Rape of Flowers
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 21, 2010

On the 19th of this month, this newspaper's "Issues in Black and White" column published an editorial entitled, "Naivete is not a Virtue." It criticized the Hau Lung-ping administration's tardy response to the Flora Expo controversy, which needlessly allowed the Flora Expo's image to be slandered. But the real guilt belongs to DPP councilmembers, who hurled false, out-of-context accusations. The Flora Expo has yet to open, but it is has already been viciously maligned as one huge pork barrel. The DPP perpetrated this "rape of the flowers." It is the real culprit. The DPP hypocritically proclaimed that it was "providing checks and balances" for the Taipei City Government. Can political parties consider only partisan advantage, and ignore the harm they inflict upon the nation and society?

Opposition parties must oversee the party in power. A democracy requires anti-corruption measures. No one objects to this. Oversight must protect the public interest. It must prevent those in office from abusing their power by engaging in corruption. Oversight however, is not a license to engage in irrational demagoguery. Oversight must be reasonable. It must help the public discern the truth. Oversight is not a license to turn facts on their head in an effort to bamboozle the public. DPP councilmembers tried to fabricate a Flora Expo scandal by demagoguing water spinach, basil, and bamboo pavilions. Examine the DPP councilmembers' ends and means, and one finds that the DPP councilmembers' actions were neither in the public interest nor consistent with reason.

Consider the rule of reason. The Flora Expo will display nearly 3000 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Over 30 million transplants will be on display. Out of this entire range, only four plants were priced above the norm. In other words, 99.9 percent of the plants were problem free. When an exhibit of such complexity conforms this closely to specifications, it is evidence of extraordinary administrative efficiency. If anything, it deserves public affirmation and warrants public pride. The average family probably overpays by a larger percentage in its domestic budget than the Hau administration.

The DPP is milking the 0.1 percent for all it is worth. It has locked its jaws around the issue and refuses to let go. One has to hand it to them. The DPP is playing the role of opposition party to the hilt. The only problem is that when Green Camp councilmembers level accusations of excessively high flower prices, they insinuate and embellish. They relentlessly attempt to mislead the public into believing that the procurement process was rife with pork. They characterize the entire Flora Expo as a hotbed of corruption, manipulated by Hau Lung-ping and the Taipei City Government. Do they care that their smear campaign has nothing to do with the truth? Hardly. For them the Flora Expo controversy is nothing more than an election strategy for the five cities elections. The Flora Expo controversy may well sabotage Hau Lung-bin's re-election efforts. But it hardly qualifies as "oversight." Such "whistleblowing" hardly conforms to the "principle of proportionality." It hardly meets the criteria of rationality, and still less morality.

The Green Camp has attempted to make a major issue out of water spinach. Green Camp councilmembers displayed a bunch of water spinach purchased from the local supermarket. They compared it with what they asserted was a sickly, withered specimen of water spinach, and asserted that the 20 NT per pot water spinach must have involved major pork. But they concealed certain facts. One. Out of the entire Flora Expo water spinach zone, they picked out the single ugliest specimen of water spinach. Two. A live plant is hardly the same as a harvested item from the supermarket. Three. Flora Expo water spinach specimens must be 20 centimeters wide by 20 centimeters high. Any given water spinach plant may have five or more stems. Therefore such comparisons are incorrect. Four. The overhead for flower growers include freight costs, display costs, and six months of guaranteed live maintenance costs. The DPP councilmembers were fully aware of the situation. Yet they deliberately distorted the facts in order to mislead the public. Clearly Green Camp claims that they were merely engaged in oversight on behalf of the public, were an inversion of the truth. In fact they were up to their usual dirty tricks.

Consider the public interest. If the construction of the Flower Expo venues and the procurement of plants involved inflated prices, fraud, or the squandering of public funds, of course any wrongdoing would have to be exposed. But the Flora Expo is not merely a venue for domestic flower growers and the domestic horticultural industry. It is an international event. It is a rare opportunity for landscape architects, technology and creative cultural industry entrepreneurs to showcase their masterpieces. This combined floral exhibit, tourism exhibit, and cultural exhibit, is exactly the world stage we need to showcase Taiwan's soft power. Naturally everyone involved must take extra care to maximize its chance of success. The Flora Expo has opened some of its venues to the public. Based on these, the Flora Expo has nothing to apologize for. The DPP hopes to use water spinach to destroy the Flora Expo. Are they really so heartless?

Consider the bamboo pavilion. Architects attempted to provide Taiwan's bamboo craft industry with a green stage at the Flora Expo. They extended a special invitation to elderly bamboo craft masters. They invited architecture students to participate in a hands-on student project. This thoughtful attempt to encourage creativity, created an elegant pavilion, and a valuable attraction within the Flora Expo. How did DPP councilmembers spin this success story? They characterized it as the "exploitation of students by their professors." In one fell swoop, they smeared the designer's heartfelt intentions, and the participants' laborious efforts. They indiscriminately hurled wild accusation, all under the mantle of "oversight." What difference is there between the DPP's "oversight" and outright sabotage?

The Republic of China government implemented democracy in the Taiwan Region for several decades ago. But "oversight" continues to be a synonym for sabotage. That is sad indeed. A prosperous Taiwan requires collective concern for the public good. it requires a collective appreciation for things of value. We urge the ruling and opposition parties to collectively consider how they can make the Flora Expo a success.

空心政治 辣手摧花
2010.09.21 11:22 am









Monday, September 20, 2010

Reconnection: Cross-Strait Face-Saver and Road to Prosperity

Reconnection: Cross-Strait Face-Saver and Road to Prosperity
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 20, 2010

This article concludes the editorial series, "From Reunification to Reconnection." It argues that "Reconnection" is a face saving measure that could break the cross-Strait impasse. It is also the cross-Strait road to prosperity.

As pointed out in our previous editorial, reunification is the toughest and riskiest alternative. Demanding "reunification" may mire Beijing in a "commitment trap." Beijing might find itself unable to retreat because it has overcommitted itself. Cross-Strait relations is a paradox. Demanding "reunification" effectively prolongs "separation." From the ruling CCP's perspective, leaving reunification unresolved sets hawks and doves at each others' throats, and creates a ticking time bomb. It makes it difficult for Beijing to answer to a public which has been led to expect "reunification no matter what."

The implosion of the Soviet Union had many causes, both remote and proximate. But a major cause was Moscow's "overcommitment" to the three Baltic states, which mired it in a "commitment trap." Suppose earlier that year Moscow had relaxed its commitment to the three Baltic states? Suppose it had engaged in timely "policy innovation," and chosen to deal with the three Baltic states differently than the other republics? Had it done so, these tiny states might not have been the dominoes that led to the Soviet Union's collapse. Cross-Strait relations are of course very different from the relationship between the Soviet Union and the three Baltic states. But this example illustrates the consequences of improper goals. Therefore, we must avoid becoming mired in a "commitment trap" when establishing new goals.

In fact, the Beijing authorities have been aware of the problem for some time. Its "yet to be reunified, but still part of one China" phraseology attempts to resolve this impasse and stabilize cross-Strait relations "prior to reunification." This is why we must seek goals besides "reunification." We must think instead about "reconnecting," in order to establish an "in progress form of One China."

From Taipei's perspective, consider this newspaper's "2010 Cross-Strait Relations Survey." If we simplify the results of the survey on "Taiwan's Future," we get three results. Advocates of immediate or eventual independence total 31%. Advocates of maintaining the statusq quo in perpetuity total 51%. Advocates of immediate or eventual reunification total 14%. As we can see, for some time into the future, "reunification" will not constitute "the will of the people." The same survey shows that the public hopes that cross-Strait relations can be improved and stabilized. The public wants to "reconnect" with the other side, without "substantially changing the status quo." The thinking behind "reconnecting" was proposed by this newspaper in its "glass theory." According to the glass theory, Taiwan is the water, the Republic of China is the glass. As long as the glass remains, the water remains. Once the glass is shattered however, the water is lost. By contrast, the goal of "reunification" [from Beijing's perspective] is to shatter the glass.

Cross-Strait relations require process-oriented "peaceful development." They require goal-oriented "peaceful resolutions." This newspaper's "Six New Year's Day Editorials" proposed "setting new goals, predicated upon rational processes." Process-orientation and goal-orientation are mutually complementary alternatives. Here are the four conclusions previously cited.

Since reunification is difficult, why not reconnect first? If reconnection is successful, reunification may be unnecessary. If reconnection is successful, , the result may be better than reunification. Once reconnection is successful, reunification is also a possibility.

These four conclusions are the theme of this article. In other words, reconnection is a face saving measure that could break the cross-Strait impasse. It is also the road to cross-Strait prosperity.

After World War II, four divided countries emerged. North and South Vietnam fought a bitter civil war, underwent regime change, but has yet to resolve its national difficulties. North and South Korea have arranged meetings between their heads of state. But bureaucratic obstacles still stand in the way of talks. East and West Germany were once separated by a wall. But their abruptly reunification left everyone unprepared. By comparison, Taiwan and the Mainland are blessed. We can take incremental steps to improve and stabilize relations. We may be able to find an "historic solution" that will serve as a model for divided countries around the world. China, which has also been divided into two parts, is different from the three other divided countries. The biggest difference is that we can use "reconnection" as a face saving measure and the road to prosperity.

Taipei and Beijing have a responsibility to make good use this face saving measure and road to prosperity. Especially Beijing. Taiwan has adopted democracy. Any high-level "connection," such as a peace agreement or a confederation, will require Beijing's initiative. Otherwise, allegations of "pandering to [Mainland] China and selling out Taiwan" will fly. But if Beijing were to promote a gradual scheme for "reconnecting," it could bypass partisan political struggles on Taiwan. It could appeal directly to the public on Taiwan. It could offer a proposal, similar to ECFA, that would immediately appeal the public on Taiwan. Taipei and Beijing would have a fait accompli on their hands. Of course, for Beijing to move from "reunification" to "reconnection," is easier said than done. After all, it has already found itself mired in a "commitment trap" for some time.

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait know perfectly well that the past few years constitute a fleeting historical opportunity. If the overall situation undergoes further change, perhaps even "reconnection" will no longer be an option. This would once again plunge the two sides into a "commitment trap." Therefore, we propose that Mainland authorities encourage free discussion of "reconnection" by Mainland think-tanks. This will reduce the impasse. After all, one's ideas determine one's behavior. One's vision determines one's horizons.

2010.09.20 04:10 am












Friday, September 17, 2010

Taipei and Beijing: Is "Reconnection" Preferable to "Reunification?"

Taipei and Beijing: Is "Reconnection" Preferable to "Reunification?"
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 17, 2010

Summary: This newspaper's editorial page compared "reconnection" to "reunification." Our feeling is that the "roof theory," which entails reconnection, is preferable to "reunification." As we pointed out previously, "reunification" is the hardest and riskiest option. Reunification means one side swallowing up the other under a single national title. Is "reunification" really the best solution? Is there a better alternative to "reunification?" Might "reconnection" be preferable to "reunification?" Might the "roof theory" be preferable to "reunification?"

Full Text below:

On the 2nd, the 4th, the 12th of this month, this newspaper's editorial page compared "reconnection" to "reunification." Our feeling is that the "roof theory," which entails reconnection, is preferable to "reunification."

As we pointed out previously, "reunification" is the hardest and riskiest option. Reunification means one side swallowing up the other under a single national title. This raises three questions.

One. How should one reunify? If one wants to reunfy democratically, how long will that take? If one wishes to reunify forcibly, what will be the aftermath? Two. What governance issues will arise post-reunification? After all, the President and the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China are democratically elected under a system of universal suffrage. Even if one succeeds in implementing "one country, two systems," it is unlikely one can turn the clock back. Consider one example. After "reunification" will Taiwan still permit the existence of a pro-independence political party? Allowing their existence is a governance issue. Not allowing their existence is also a governance issue. Three. Reunification is a goal that has remained long unresolved. If one equates "failure to reunify" with not being "one China," then until "one side swallows up the other," "reunification" will paradoxically divide the two sides. Cross-Strait relations will remain strained merely because the two sides have "yet to be reunified." Conversely, if one considers the "roof theory" consistent with the "one China principle," then the two sides can gradual implement an "in progress form of One China," under a "soft roof," "flexible roof," or "hard roof."

Therefore "reunification" is in fact destabilizing the "One China principle." The "roof theory," on the other hand, may be best way to gradually put past controversy to rest and resolve the problem. The distinction between "reunification" and "reconnection" has major relevance for internal politics, both on Taiwan and on the Mainland. If the "roof theory" and an "in progress form of One China" can be adopted, disputes between mainland hawks and doves can be moderated. Beijing will not be forced to deal with government policy wild cards merely because they have yet to achieve "reunification." Taipei meanwhile, may be able to substantially reduce the social divisions created by struggles over reunification vs. independence. Why must one single-mindedly pursue the target of "reunification?" Why not consider the "roof theory" as one's "new target?"

Is there a better alternative to "reunfication?" This is a question both the ruling and opposition parties should seriously contemplate. Taipei and Beijing should not stand in the way of such private sector discussions. They should encourage them. Beijing in particular should do so, and give itself and the Mainland public a break. The Beijing authorities have chained themselves and the Mainland public to a giant post named "reunification." They have made a difficult to fulfill commitment to the Mainland public. They are effectively sitting on a time bomb that may go off at any moment. Prevailing policy is both impractical and dangerous. That is why Beijing ought to consider "new targets."

The management field speaks of "commitment traps." These involve being trapped by one's own "over-commitments." One can neither fulfill one's commitments, nor clean up after reneging on those commitments. One is trapped. For example, a person vows to eat 500 dumplings in a single sitting. Ony two results are possible. One is to eat oneslef into the hospital. The other is knowing one cannot possible fulfill one's promises, and instead "eating one's words." This is a "commitment trap." Setting "new targets" means resetting the number of dumplings at a more reasonable number. Doing so enables one to escape the "commitment trap," instead of either rolling oneself up in a cocoon, or being forced to face public embarrassment.

A majority on Taiwan is "afraid of reunification." The Beijing authorities on the other hand are "afraid reunification might not happen." It is not hard to understand why a majority on Taiwan is "afraid of reunification." But the main reason the Beijing authorities are "afraid reunification may not happen," is their "commitment trap." Therefore if the two sides want "peaceful development," Taipei must allay public "fears of reunification." Beijing meanwhile, must not mire those in power and the Mainland public deeper in a commitment trap of "reunification at all cost." A feasible compromise would be for Taipei and Beijing to realize that the "roof theory" may be preferable to "reunjfication." Why not consider a "new target?"

Speaking of "new targets," just precisely what targets are realistic cross-Strait targets? The two sides should pursue a number of targets. One. They must not deviate from the "One China principle." Two. The Taiwan Region must not become a foreign country and a proxy for foreign powers. Three. The authorities on the two sides must not view each other with hostility. Four. The public on the two sides should look upon each other with goodwill and friendship. Five. The two sides should establish a mutually beneficial win-win relationship. Can such "targets" promote "reunification?" Or, conversely, will a single-minded commitment to "reunification" become a barrier to the pursuit of "real targets?" Will it mire us in a "commitment trap?" Are the two sides pursuing "reunification" as a "pro forma target?" Or are we pursuing the above mentioned "real target?"

Is "reunification" really the best solution? Is there a better alternative to "reunification?" Might "reconnection" be preferable to "reunification?" Might the "roof theory" be preferable to "reunification?"

2010.09.17 02:35 am





管理學上有一種說法叫做「承諾的陷阱」(commitment trap),意思是說一個人被自己的「過度承諾」所陷害;用一個無法實現或實現後無法收拾的承諾,使自己陷於危境。例如,一個人若發誓要一口氣吃五百顆水餃,只會有兩種結果:一種是吃到送醫院;另一種是明知後果而根本不能兌現承諾,只能「食言」。這即是「承諾的陷阱」,所謂「目標創新」,可說就是要將水餃的數量重訂在一個合情合理的標準;使發出承諾者不致墜落「承諾的陷阱」,而作繭自縛或下不了台。




Thursday, September 16, 2010

Industrial Policy Favoritism toward the Electronics Industry

Industrial Policy Favoritism toward the Electronics Industry
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 16, 2010

Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey is a wooden academic, a man of few words. During a September 11 meeting with business representatives however, he loudly criticized the government's industrial policy. Wong Chi-huey pointed out that the ROC government's industrial policy too heavily favors electronics. Many companies within the electronics industry are low-margin OEM firms that require precise control over mass production techiques. Therefore the government's one-sided policy is probably detrimental to Taiwan's overall economic development.

For the past thirty years, the electronics industry has been Taiwan's most important economic asset, the goose that laid the golden egg. But this electronic goose is showing its age. It no longer lays as many eggs as it once did. Recently the heads of Foxconn and Compal spoke guardedly about the future of their companies. The electronics industry faces a bottleneck, just as Wong Chi-huey noted.

Government officials are not unaware of the electronic industry's plight. But although the problem is obvious, little has been done to seek a solution. Over the past two years, we have seen few industries adjust their policies.

As early as one year and five months ago, then Premier Liu was making much of the "six new industries." These include biotechnology, green energy, creative culture, tourism, international health care, and high-quality agriculture. After taking over last September, Wu Den-yih added digital convergence and cloud computing. The arguments these two premiers have offered on behalf of these seven or eight industries sound plausible enough. Each of them has long-range plans. Each of them has inter-disciplinary plans. Each plan includes page after page of slide presentations submitted to the Executive Yuan. But plans are plans, and briefings are briefings. For the past year or so little progress has been made. If the old electronics industry reaches a bottleneck, but new industries are merely plans on paper, what happens to Taiwan's economic future? How can anyone who cares about Taiwan's economic development not be concerned?

On economic issues, the Democratic Progressive Party has a clear but relatively straightforward problem. Apart from sporadic cases as the Number Four Nuclear Plant, or the DuPont Plant for Lukang, the DPP is not anti-business as such. The DPP's real Achilles Heel has always been cross-Strait relations. For the past eight years, it was consistently unwilling to confront the Mainland's economic strength and avail itself of the Mainland's economic opportunities. Instead, it excluded Taiwan from the Mainland's economic circle. It forsook the Mainland market, it squandered precious opportunities, it lost the chance to gain an early advantage. But apart from this cross-Strait Achilles Heel, the Democratic Progressive Party, is a fierce and youthful political party. It has fewer systemic shackles than the KMT. Unfortunately this Democratic Progressive Party Achilles Heel is an incurable disease. For years the DPP has remained captive to a tiny contingent of die hard fundamentalists, unable to break free. Even two and a half years in the opposition has not inspired the DPP to reexamine its cross-Strait policies. Beijing is not the only one who sees the DPP as trouble. Most businesses on Taiwan see DPP rule as unconducive to their Mainland operations.

Ma Ying-jeou's Kuomintang of course harbors no hostility toward the Mainland. It feels no obligation to avoid contact with Beijing. But the KMT is one hundred years old. It has accumulated problems and scars far more complex than the DPP's. The KMT is plagued by covert internecine struggle, by complex crony factionalism. It traditionally squelches the ambitions of younger party members. It must mediate between the interests of an Honorary Chairman and an Honorary Vice Chairman. It is plagued by a wide range of illnesses. The causes of these illnesses are difficult to diagnose. Consider some of the new industries. Frankly, the department heads who made many of the original proposals did so under the pressure of deadlines set by the premier. Their content was often mere slogans and abstractions. They contained everything under the sun, but lacked any and all focus. The touched all the necessary bases, but failed to see forest for the trees.

People who understand politics know that to successfully promote a policy, one must have a capable leader who understands what is important and what is not. He must be able to get to the core of the matter. He must be able to follow through, keeping his eye on the ball every step of the way. Allow us to be blunt. Neither of the last two premiers have ever understood the core issues behind the new industries they promoted. Because they never grasped the core issues, they never knew what to keep their eye on, or what direction to take. The aforementioned leaders lacked the ability to implement the policies they promoted. The Presidential Office Financial Advisory Group has been pointing the finger at everyone else. Recently a former premier launched a technology forum. Nominally it will consult with the current Executive Yuan and offer it guidance. Add to this complex, century-old, chronic illnesses and complex entanglements inherent in one party rule, and it is little wonder Wong Chi-huey is concerned about industrial development.

The road ahead for Taiwan industries is going to be rough. In 2008, fears of a heart attack were allayed. But if new policies cannot be implemented, kidney failure looms. Wong Chi-huey said he saw "neither vision nor content" in the government's industrial policy. This is a revealing characterization from the leader of a leading academic institution. Shouldn't the ruling administration wake up? Shouldn't it address the problem?

太偏電子 產業政策困境待解









Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chopsticks Theory: Interpreting Public Opinion on Cross-Strait Relations

Chopsticks Theory: Interpreting Public Opinion on Cross-Strait Relations
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 15, 2010

Last Saturday this newspaper published a public opinion survey on cross-Strait relations in 2010. It found that when asked whether the two sides are friends or foes, most people feel the two sides are warming up to each other. When asked about their position on reunification vs. independence, most want to maintain the status quo (51%), most have a negative impression of the Mainland government (54%), and a minority have a negative impression of Mainlanders in general (47%). A third however, would like to work on the Mainland. Nearly 30% want their children to study on the Mainland. And 63% do not think the Mainland's growing strength constitutes a threat to Taiwan, and are happy to see the Mainland continue growing.

Our survey reached the following conclusions. One. The public is largely content with the cross-Strait status quo. In three out of five major areas, social, political, and economic relations, the public feels cross-Strait relations are "warming." Even in areas such as military relations and diplomatic relations, cross-Strait relations are merely considered slightly "tense or competitive." Military relations were rated at 6.1, only 0.1 above "warming." Diplomatic relations were rated at 6.3, only 0.3 above "warming." Most people consider this the payoff of two years of cross-Strait reconciliation.

Two. The public on Taiwan has clear reservations about cross-Strait political integration. Fifty-one percent proposed "maintaining the status quo in perpetuity." They constitute a majority. Immediate independence plus gradual independence advocates (maintain the status quo for now, declare independence later) constitute 31%. Immediate reunification plus gradual reunification advocates (maintain the status quo for now, reunify later) constitute 14%. Again, pro independence advocates outnumber pro reunification advocates.

These two poll results show that the public on Taiwan approves of cross-Strait reconciliation, but does not advocate "reunification." This however must not be misinterpreted. It does not mean that advocates of Taiwan independence outnumber advocates of reunification. Because in such questionnaires the definition of "Taiwan independence" varies with the respondent. If "Taiwan independence" is defined more precisely, it could change how the respondent answers. Besides, advocates of Taiwan independence may number roughly 30%. But they are unlikely to increase to where they constitute mainstream public opinion and weild mainstream political clout. The 2007 legislative elections and 2008 presidential elections proved that.

These attitudes can be explained by the "chopsticks theory." A majority of the public wants Taiwan and the Mainland to act like a pair of chopsticks, joined at certain spots, but separated at others. This way the two can pick up food. They do not feel the two chopsticks should be either bound together (reunified) or separated (independent). Either way would defeat the purpose of chopsticks.

Twenty years ago, the chief editor of this newspaper met with then AIT Director Nat Bellochi, and mentioned the "chopsticks theory." He suggested that the two sides could be like a pair of chopsticks, neither completely bound together, nor completely kept apart. They should be joined at certain points, but separated at others. During recent political debates on Taiwan, political rhetoric reminscent of the chopsticks theory has emerged. In 1997, the DPP suggested that Taiwan is neither at the center, nor at the periphery. Instead, it is a dynamic, thoughtful, and creative bridge between the land and the sea It is a "bridge between the East and West," and an "interface between sea and land." It is neither at the center, nor at the periphery. This is reminiscent of the "chopsticks model." One might say that "great minds think alike." The current poll reveals that the "chopsticks model," which "wants exchanges but not to be tied down" did not arise yesterday. It has been a long time coming. It will also represent the majority view for the forseeable future.

A majority on Taiwan wants "no [immediate] reunification and no independence, both reunification and independence" and the "chopsticks model." It advocates maintaining the status quo, and proceeding from there. This ought to provide inspiration for all three political parties on both sides of the Strait. For the KMT, the current poll results mean the Ma administration's policy of "no reunification, no independence, and no war" has paid off. But as cross-Strait relations become even closer, some may wish to moderate the pace of reconciliation. This is also a characteristic of the "chopsticks phenomenon," which involves alternately coming together and separating. This may explain why the success of cross-Strait policy may not help the Blue Camp in the five cities elections.

The DPP claims that the 31% "Taiwan independence elements" constitute the Democratic Progressive Party's core support. Perhaps it does. But it is also the DPP's biggest stumbling block. The Democratic Progressive Party can use hard-core pro-independence elements to inflame political passions during election season. But it cannot transform Taiwan independence into the majority perspective on Taiwan. Still less can it maintain stable relations between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei, on a Taiwan independence premise. Taiwan independence is not a viable option for Taiwan's future. The only solution is a return to the "chopsticks theory" and the theory of "a bridge between East and West, an interface between sea and land."

For the CCP, such attitudes on Taiwan are insufficient to justify talk of reunification. But by the same token, such attitudes hardly represent support for Taiwan independence. Therefore when the Beijing authorities attempt to interpret this poll, they should give the last two years of cross-Strait policy a positive evaluation. The public on Taiwan has a somewhat negative opinion of the Mainland, due in part to stereotypes, in part to a lack of understanding, and due in part to a need for improvement by the Mainland. The survey showed that the main factor determining whether cross-Strait relations become friendlier or more hostile is not merely physical issues such as military or political pressure, but psychological issues such as democracy, culture, society, and civilization.

As "peaceful development" proceeds, the "chopsticks theory" is perhaps the one that best conforms to public expectations.

2010.09.15 01:39 am











Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Liu Shih-chung's Revelations and Evasions

Liu Shih-chung's Revelations and Evasions 
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 14, 2010

In his new book, American scholar Jeremy J. Stone has revealed that when Chen Shui-bian became president in 2000, he initially hoped to hold talks with Beijing on the basis of the 1992 Consensus and the One China Principle. As Stone put it, former Chen Shui-bian presidential aide Liu Shih-chung's new book, "History's Knots," has proven correct. Liu Shih-chung said that Stone hoped Chen Shui-bian would reach out to Mainland China, that he would become "Taiwan's Nixon," and that Chen Shui-bian did indeed entertain such a notion.

Liu's book describes the situation in 2000, when Chen Shui-bian was first elected president. Chen Shui-bian aspired to be "Taiwan's Nixon." Not only did he announce his "Four Noes Policy," he considered negotiating a "future One China" with Beijing. He echoed the concept of "under one roof" advanced by many people on both sides of the Strait. He expressed a commitment to the possibility of "political integration." But the book concludes that two years after Chen left office, Washington remains haunted by the "Chen Shui-bian nightmare." It is terrified that if the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, "another Chen Shui-bian" will appear.

Joseph Wu, former Chen administration Mainland Affairs Council Chief and Representative to the United States, wrote a preface to Liu's book. He said that when Chen Shui-bian was elected president in 2000, Liu Shih-chung became an Ah-Bian disciple and eventually a key staffer and a member of his brain trust. Therefore he was among the very few with a full understanding of Chen Shui-bian's policies and objectives. As a result of his role in the Chen administration, Joseph Wu participated in the pre-publication editing of Liu's book. That is why Liu Shih-chung's revelations and evaluations display an admirable frankness.

Liu's book describes Chen Shui-bian's policy background and evaluates his political moves, including "one country on each side," the "authoring of a new constitution," his "defensive referendum," his response to the "Anti-Secession Law," his "termination of the reunification process" and the "Referendum to join the UN." The book suggests that Chen made it impossible to initiate cross-Strait exchanges. Even worse, Washington viewed Chen Shui-bian with "hostility and mistrust," with "deep anger and resentment," and "lost all confidence in Chen Shui-bian." The result was the Democratic Progressive Party's election debacle in 2008.

Liu's book assesses Chen Shui-bian's policies outside the context of cross-Strait relations. It assesses them on the basis of their impact on Taipei/Washington relations. One might say that Liu's book is the diametric opposite of Chen Shui-bian's policies, which manipulated cross-Strait and Taipei/Washington relations entirely out of domestic election considerations. The blurb includes the following passages. "(Washington) took exception to (Chen Shui-bian's) habit of engaging only in domestic election moves, utterly ignoring their impact on cross-Strait relations." "The leader (Chen Shui-bian) ignored the need for consistency between election rhetoric and official statements. This made it difficult for Washington to trust Chen Shui-bian." The final result was that Stone's dreams of a "Taiwan's Nixon" was tranformed into a "Chen Shui-bian nightmare."

The book leaves the impression that Taiwan independence is just another election ploy incompatible with national survival and three-way coopetition between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei. This is the unintended implication of Liu's book. Liu's book states that the main reason the Chen Shui-bian regime failed was Chen Shui-bian's obstinate, hermetic, decision-making process, or his penchant for exploiting internal contradictions within the US bureaucracy. But these were merely tactical level problems. The real problem was at the strategic level. Eight agonizing years under the Chen Shui-bian regime confirmed that a Taiwan independence strategy is incompatible with a stable three-way Washington, Beijing, Taipei relationship. Chen Shui-bian knew this. As Liu's book notes, Ah-Bian clearly knew such a strategy was infeasible. He merely hoped to use Taiwan independence to divide the public for election advantage. He was utterly indifferent to the international repercussions on the three-way Washington, Beijing, Taipei relationship. He was only too happy to provoke the three parties for political gain. This is the most important revelation in Liu's book. It is also the point Liu Shih-chung has struggled hardest to conceal. The so-called "Chen Shui-bian nightmare" is really the "Taiwan independence nightmare."

According to Liu Shih-chung, when Chen Shui-bian is being good, he submits his inaugural speech to Washington for advance review. He consults personally with Washington on how to hold a referendum. But when he being bad, he responds to Washington's "punishment and retaliation" by embarking on a "Voyage to Nowhere" and "virtually becomes an enemy of the United States." When Chen Shui-bian is clear-headed, he favors "political integration." But when he goes off on a tangent, he announces "Four Demands and One No," (we demand independence, we demand the rectification of names, we demand a new constitution, we demand development, we have no left vs. right conflict, only reunification vs. independence conflict.) Does Chen bear the slightest resemblance to a president? To the leader of a nation? Or does he more closely resemble a drunk driver?

Liu Shih-chung helped Chen Shui-bian hide the truth. For example, when Chen Shui-bian announced his "Four Demands and One No," and "Referendum for UN membership," Liu Shih-chung spun it as Chen's aspirations for a political legacy after leaving office. He distorted the truth to protect Ah-Bian. The simple fact is that when Chen's corruption was exposed, he swiftly racheted up his Taiwan independence rhetoric. His goal was to lay claim to spiritual leadership of the Taiwan independence movement, thereby evading criminal prosecution once he stepped down from office. The March 19 Shooting Incident further undermined the legitimacy of the Chen regime. This led to Chen's subsequent desperation and brinksmanship. Liu's book glosses over this as well.

Liu's book aspires to be a reference source for future Democratic Progressive Party rulers. But it treats a national tragedy as if it were Chen Shui-bian's personal failure. It covers up the real reason for Chen's failure, the fact that Taiwan independence is utterly infeasible. For example, Liu's book implies that Chen Shui-bian's "Five Noes" left himself bound hand and foot. But given cross-Strait developments, even assuming the Democratic Progressive Party returned to power, what else could it do but reaffirm the "Five Noes?" What policy other than the "Five Noes" could allow the three way relationship between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei to continue?

Chen Shui-bian was mistaken. Liu's book makes this crystal clear. The Taiwan independence movement was even more mistaken. Liu's book attempts to tap dance around this fact. But as long as the Taiwan independence movement exists, as long as the Democratic Progressive Party rules, they will produce another desperado in the pattern of Chen Shui-bian.


美國學者史東(Jeremy J. Stone)在新書揭露,陳水扁在2000年就任總統之初,曾同意在「九二共識」的基礎上,以「一個中國」的原則與北京進行會談。這段敘述,在扁政府前總統府幕僚劉世忠的新著《歷史的糾結》(以下稱《劉著》)中獲得證實。劉世忠說:史東當時期許陳水扁打開中國大門,成為「台灣的尼克森」,而陳水扁確懷此一夢想。










Monday, September 13, 2010

Singapore is Small and Beautiful. Taiwan Can Be Too

Singapore is Small and Beautiful. Taiwan Can Be Too 
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
September 13, 2010

This newspaper recently addressed the issue of Singapore, and interviewed Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. We reported on the economic cooperation agreement between Taipei and Singapore. We also published an in-depth investigation of Singapore's path to economic success. Singapore and Taiwan are quite similar in terms of innate advantages. But Singapore has been more courageous in confronting real world difficulties and international challenges. It has aggressively transformed deficits into assets. In many ways, Taiwan would do well to emulate Singapore.

Singapore is a small country, which like the Taiwan Region of the Republic of China, lacks natural resources. Yet it has been an amazing success story, one that nations with far larger populations and far greater resources look on with envy. In terms of national competitiveness and cleanliness, it is invariably ranked near the top. The World Economic Forum released its Global Competitiveness report on the 9th of this month. Singapore came in third. Singapore's success is due to outstanding leadership, but also because it has the courage to confront challenges, to seize opportunities, to make judgements, to act decisively, to follow through, and to look to the future.

Singapore is a tiny island nation. Drive 20 minutes northward, and one finds oneself in Malaysia. Indonesia is visible with the naked eye to the south. Singapore is virtually defenseless and without natural barriers. Singapore is highly exposed. Yet it is utterly fearless and has not the slightest desire to close itself off. Instead, it courageously welcomes the challenges posed by the outside world. It makes superb use of its location as a geographic hub. It has turned itself into a zero-tariff free port. As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, "To develop, we must develop outward. We must make use of the economics of scale. We must transcend the limits imposed on our nation by its size." Singapore may be small, but it is courageous. Its positive and pragmatic strategies have transformed it into "the world's Singapore." So far the results have been outstanding.

And so it is with Mainland China's rapid rise in recent years. Singapore also took the initiative to hitch its wagon to Mainland China's star. It has established close economic and trade relations with Mainland China. It is also taking advantage of its experience with economic development to cooperate with Mainland China in developing such projects as the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city. Taipei and Singapore are about to sign an economic cooperation agreement. This will further contribute to trilateral trade between Singapore, Taipei, and Beijing. It will open yet another channel for Singapore's economic growth.

In recent years, Singapore has been plagued by a shrinking and aging population, It has substantially increased the number of foreign workers, permanent residents and immigrants. It must make up for insufficient human resources and human labor. in order to maintain its economic vitality and competitiveness. Singapore's current population of 4.8 million includes over one million foreign workers and permanent residents. The ratio of locals to outsiders is nearly three to one.

Taiwan confronts a far less numerous foreign labor and immigrant population. Yet we often hear shrill demands for their exclusion. Singaporeans may complain about overpopulation, skyrocketing real estate prices, and about being elbowed out of jobs and educational opportunities. But their acceptance of immigrants as the driving force behind their economic policy remains unchanged. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged people to accept immigrants with open hearts, and to learn how to cope with international competition even earlier, in school. Actually, despite fierce international competition, Singapore has never pullled back merely to protect itself. Instead, it has bravely charged into battle. It has forced itself to grow and to leapfrog the competition. For example, it adopted an open skies policy. Singapore Airlines was required to complete on the basis of its own strength, Singapore Airlines is now one of the best airlines in the world. Singapore's basic philosophy is that government should take care of the people, but not over-protect them. Otherwise, the people and the country will lose their competitiveness. People on Taiwan ought to think long and hard about Lee's insight.

Another example is the use of water resources. Singapore has long been short of water. It must purchase it from Malaysia. This puts the lifeblood of its economic system in someone else's hands. But Singapore overcame all difficulties to develop advanced water harvesting and waste water recycling and purification technology. This, along with desalination technology, has made it self-sufficient in water use. It has even made Singapore an exporter of water resources technology. Singapore confronted its disadvantages and overcame them. It transformed weaknesses into strengths. Singapore's success story teaches us that any country that makes the right choices and has an unyielding will, can create its own growth.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in an interview with this newspaper, also offered some views on Singapore/Taipei economic cooperation and cross-Strait relations. He pointed out that economic cooperation and free trade are advantageous for many countries. Singapore has a large network of partners. If one cooperates with Singapore, other Asian countries may well consider following suit. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he also looked forward to Taipei and Beijing signing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). He said that although it is an economic agreement, the long-term narrowing of the cross-Strait gap is part of a larger historical current. It is the right thing to do. ECFA will have a postive impact on the Asia-Pacific region. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's comments were pertinent and pragmatic. They were further evidence that the international community looks forward to improved cross-Strait relations.

Taiwan and Singapore have similarities and differences. Conditions for Taiwan and Singapore are also different. But Singapore's experience of successfully confronting its challenges, its ability to make forward-looking and pragmatic decisions, and its ability to effectively execute those decisions, are precisely what Taiwan needs to learn.

新加坡小而美 台灣不鎖國也做得到