Put an End to the Liberty Times' McCarthyism
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 11, 2011
Cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges are finally on track. Cross-strait financial exchanges, investments, official exchanges have all experienced considerable growth. These developments have been a shot in the arm for Taiwan's economy. But amidst this progress, a wave of reaction has struck Taiwan. This reactionary force demonizes anyone connected with cross-Strait trade and investment. It characterizes this progress as the "Invasion of Chinese capital." It calls everyone involved a "Communist." This new wave of McCarthyism is spearheaded by the Liberty Times.
Over the past twenty years, the world has undergone rapid globalization, A nation's economy can no longer remain hermetically sealed. A nation can no longer restrict its dealings to only a handful of other countries. Instead, it must expand its markets. It must invest in plants. It must engage in international cooperation. It must have global distribution and logistics. Otherwise it cannot compete globally. Taiwan businesses are attempting to position themselves globally. The Mainland boasts vast productive resources. Income growth has created a vast market. We enjoy cultural and linquistic advantages. Why on earth should we give them up?
Many Taiwan based enterprises have investments on the Mainland. This has helped them maintain their competitiveness. It has kept them close to their markets. Many OEM oriented industries have set up factories on the Mainland at the behest of their clients. Otherwise their orders would have dried up. They would have found it difficult to survive. If these businesses vanish from the increasingly competitive global arena, Taiwan's economy will decline. The plain fact is that flat panels, OEM chips, and other key industries and enterprises on Taiwan have invested heavily on the Mainland. Only by doing so have they been able to remain competitive in the global marketplace. ECFA has been signed. Mainland tourists have been allowed to visit. This has brought new prosperity to Taiwan. An increasing proportion of the revenues of many listed companies come from the Mainland. For many of them, the proportion exceeds one half. Many investors hold China themed stocks. They are aware of the benefits of setting up plants on the Mainland. They are aware of the profits to be made from Mainland sales. They are aware of the positive impact for Taiwan's economy.
But the Liberty Times holds a different world view. The Liberty Times longs to seal off Taiwan, to put a padlock on Taiwan. In 2002 and 2003, a public debate was held over the construction of chip fabs on the Mainland. The Liberty Times opposed the move. It alleged that allowing the move would result in a loss of competitiveness. Two years ago, negotiations over ECFA began. The Liberty Times opposed ECFA as well. It alleged that signing ECFA would result in the collapse of our economy. People would find themselves out on the street. Over the past two years, successful Taiwan businesses have returned to Taiwan, to list on the stock market, and to invest in the island. Yet the Liberty Times persists in its ravings. It persists in calling others "Communists." It persists in accusing others of "having Chinese coloration." It persists in accusing others of "using proxies to gobble up Taiwan businesses."
These businesses left their hometowns. They struggled to succeed on the Mainland. They established themselves commercially. They struck it rich. Now, they have returned to invest in Taiwan, to set up factories, or purchase businesses. The bottom line is they have created more job opportunities on Taiwan. They have created greater economic value. Yet they must endure baseless attacks from the Liberty Times. According to the Liberty Times, OEM chip plants and other industries should never have been built on the Mainland. ECFA should never have been signed. Taiwan businesses should never have been permitted to return to Taiwan to invest. The fact is, the Liberty Times deluded economic policies would have killed off Taiwan's economy long ago.
The Liberty Times belongs to the Federal Group. The Federal Group got its start in real estate. Its boss Lin Jung-san, is a former legislator, former Control Yuan member, and former Control Yuan President. During authoritarian rule, he obediently carried out political directives. The KMT routinely gained the support and obedience of "nativist" businessmen through land deals. These land deals delivered vast wealth into the hands of these "nativist" businessmen. When former Taipei County Chief You Ching recalled the Xinzhuang Satellite City case, he revealed that all landlords were required to donate land in accordance with regulations. Only Lin Jung-san failed to do so. When the KMT lost Taipei County to the DPP, he swiftly obtained construction permits. You Ching said "Lin Jung-san owes Taipei County."
The public on Taiwan has a high opinion of traditional industries. Those businesses able to export their products, to make money in foreign lands, or to earn foreign exchange, have been applauded by the public. But businesses which have engaged in land speculation, which have colluded with corrupt officials, which have abused land zoning to their private advantage, which have raked in billions in windfall profits, which have deprived ordinary people of housing due to rising prices, have been roundly condemned by the public.
Today, a company which amassed its wealth through real estate profiteering, uses its media mouthpiece to trumpet its "love for Taiwan." Meanwhile, other companies, which struggled far from home, which returned to Taiwan to invest in Taiwan, have been denounced as "Communists." How and when did such glaring double standards become the norm? The Liberty Times amassed a fortune from illicit real estate deals, at the expense of the Taiwan public. The Liberty Times then turned around and denounced companies which made an honest profit on the Mainland as "Communists." Such is the Liberty Times' "love for Taiwan." The 1950s McCarthy era sundered American society, and impacted many of society's elites. The Liberty Times must cease its McCarthyite demagoguery. Otherwise Taiwan will be similarly impacted as well.