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Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, March 19th, 2014 - 9 comments
Categories: accountability, business, capitalism, International - Tags: , , ,

So Taiwan’s ruling KMT is fast tracking a ‘Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade in Services’ with China in spite of the main opposition party, as well as 70% of Taiwanese according to some polls, wanting the Agreement reviewed line by line.

In response, the Parliament building has been occupied by students.

I guess this may be nothing more than a ‘flash in the pan’ resulting from effective ‘astro-turfing’. Then again, could be the real deal. I don’t know.

Anyway. I really don’t have time to delve into the current political dynamics of Taiwan and compose a proper post on this today. So what I’m hoping is that the thread beneath this post can be used by people to provide useful information. I mean that as something different to the usual pressure release valve of one opinion headbanging against the next.

Look on it as an experiment is you will.

9 comments on “Taiwan”

  1. happynz 1

    I lived and worked in Taiwan back in the early nineties. Back then the Koumintang (KMT) was the main player in government. At that time there were still many old fellas from Chiang Kai Shek’s occupying force sitting in the seats of power. The premier, Hao Pei-Tsun was an old school bully. The president, Lee Teng-Hui was the Ivy League educated friendly international face.

    The early nineties saw the opening up of politics and restrictions on the media loosened. The Democratic Progressive party (DPP) – mostly made up of native Taiwanese not at all pleased with the Mainland Chinese dominated KMT – began to become more popular, especially in the rural and provincial areas of the middle and south of the island. In fact, I lived in the mid-south of Taiwan and it was easy to see the growing influence of the DPP as their green banners popped up everywhere. Many native Taiwanese were fed up with the whole meme of, “Someday the Communists will be defeated and we will all go home to the glorious Motherland” that was a part of the message rammed home in schools and nightly broadcasts.

    I am certainly not an expert on Taiwanese politics or their history. To be honest, the clearest memories of the political scene at the time were of the fisticuffs and flying chairs that were a regular feature in the reporting of the happenings inside the Taiwanese legislature building. It was better entertainment than professional wrestling.

    • Ennui 1.1

      Good commentary, as with Paul below: I recently discussed a business visit to China made by a colleague. He is a Chinese NZer, what he said was that there was considerable provincial parochialism that creates a tension with the centralised government of the country. He said it is the oldest story in the book, China is forever centralising then decentralising. The one thing it remains he said, the constant is that it is China, not a bunch of independent states.

  2. Paul Campbell 2

    I’ve spent maybe 3 months in Taiwan on business trips over the past years – there’s a decided split there between:
    – people descended from the nationalists who fled Mao, and the people who were already in Taiwan at the time
    – blues (KMT supporters) and greens (DPP/TSU)
    – virulent anti-communist, and don’t much care
    – native Mandarin speakers and native Hokkien speakers
    – those in favour of a unified China and those in favour of taiwanese independence

    And most people (a huge generalisation) fall in all the former or all the latter.

    However as people I’ve talked to explain it – these are the grandparent’s values, the nationalists who came and took over Taiwan in 1949 had escaped Mao, while the people who they invaded had been living under Japanese occupation from 1895 to 1945 they had very different aspirations. They then lived under a nationalist military state until about 1980 and value their independent democracy. The next generation became very US centric, not so involved in their parents arguments, while the current kids are children of the world – maybe focused more on J-pop/K-pop etc.

    (getting back to the original article) What is kind of funny is that some things are quite turned around now – the KMT, the nationalists who were so very anti-communists are now the ones who are cozying up to the mainland, they still believe in one China, just argue a bit about who should be running it, while the others believe in their (defacto) independent Taiwan, and don’t much care to continue the fiction that they rule China

    (take this with the appropriate grain of salt, I’m a western outsider talking to a few co-workers, I’m sure the real world is far more complex)

  3. Bill 3

    I guess the questions I was asking myself this morning, apart from wondering why it wasn’t mentioned in any major newspaper that I saw, was the following:

    How much of the protest was being driven by anti-Chinese or Mainland sentiment and how much by anti free-trade deal sentiment? How many free trade arrangements, if any, has Taiwan already entered into and what, if they exist, was the reaction to those?

    On the CNN i report link I found the number of comments asking for ‘help’ a bit peculiar. Meanwhile, I notice that it’s still being updated and it’s now being reporting that “Numerous policemen were lifted by protesters and moved out of the Parliament.”

    Taking it all at face value – as a protest against free trade deals being pushed through by ruling parties with no or little transparency…I’m just reflecting how bloody wonderful it would be to see NZ react in a similar fashion. (I can dream 😉 )

    edit-just looked through the ‘world news’ sections of both the Guardian and ‘the independent’. Still nothing at all on any of this.

  4. Bill 4

    Okay….so I’m forwarded a comment sent to me from the lass in Taiwan who originally brought my attention to this through a fb post. ( I’d asked if she would mind commenting directly on the standard if she could provide useful info. I’m honestly just ‘not getting it’ as to why this has had (as far as I’m aware) zero reporting from any main news source.

    Thx Bill xx Not just New Zealander, lots of Taiwanese especially my parents generation have no ideas what’s happening. They believe what news on tv showed. But, most TV channel have been controlled by government and those protesters are reported as mob. But the reality is folks were calm and peaceful, but more and more people are keep coming…..till now. I was in the flock last night and i witnessed the situations.Sad….never think this would happen in my county. I don’t know what I can help, so at least reported something or made comments on international web.
    Not sure if i am right or wrong coz i worry my info sources are also limited so comments wouldn’t be objective. But will do the best. Thanks a lot:)

  5. Ennui 5

    Good points Bill. Perhaps it is also like the Crimea, once part of a larger nation, split off for some ideological reason, and now returning. Taiwan was before Mao part of China, it was the last refuge of Chang Kai Cheks anti Communist regime, safeguarded by the USA. They called themselves Chinese, because they are. History and culture have a longer resonance and sweep than ideologies and politics.

    • Bill 5.1

      Taiwan has an indigenous population that isn’t and never was Chinese or (the former colonists) Japanese. But identity and history aside, honestly, I’m very, and maybe principally, curious about the lack of reporting. Can you imagine the Canadian parliament being occupied, ostensibly due to a free trade agreement, and it not being an instant headline story in our media?

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