2005-10-30

Taiwan is democratic but not free - Where can I find Lian Wu in Shanghai?

Chairman Mao said, "We oppose anything our enemy supports 凡是敌人赞同的,我们就要反对)". Politicians in Taiwan listened.

I will start with a very minor issue: a simple business analysis of expanding the market for the mangos and bananas, and the delicious Lain Wu (莲雾) of Taiwan. (Fig = Black Pearl Lian-Wu 黑珍珠莲雾 , breeded by Taiwan farmer, the most delicious fruit from Taiwan. click picture at your own risk)

Upon hearing requests for market opening from Taiwanese farmers, PRC government offered a tariff-free deal with Taiwan for fruit trade. (I suppose that is a result of its success in dealing with the Tung Chee Hwa crisis in 2003/2004, CCP learned from its mistake) Instead of taking a free gift, Chen Shui Bian, the graduate of the prestigeous Taiwan University law school, and Annette Lu with a Master degree from the US, got childish and talked as if they (or the audience) were idiots. Listen to what Lu said (Chen's speech was similar)

  • "The fruit trade deal is a conspiracy of the mainland"
  • "mainland will get the technology, grow the fruit and dump back on Taiwan"
  • "Our fruits are of high quality, they should only be sold at high price to more affordable country Japan" (Chen talked the same 'illogic')

By technology she probably meant the seeds of the bananas and mangos, conveniently forgetting that anyhone can buy them in HK, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.
The price analysis is also laughable. Taiwanese farmers are not stupid. They know if there are two customers they should sell to the one who offers a higher price. Why did the farmer's association asked for mainland to open the market?

  1. Japan alone cannot consume all the bananas and mangos
  2. There are also middle or lower quality fruit on each tree or each farm, which her masters in Japan would rather not consume
  3. Some of the high quality fruit can actually command a good premium in the mainland. Some dinners cost 10000RMB per head in the mainland these days!
  4. One more option (market), better bargaining power with other customers

To add to Lu's bigotry, Chen added, "Since this is an un-negotiated offer, the mainland can withdraw it any time in future". How about enjoy the profit to the greatest extent before they withdraw it? What do you have to lose?

Despite over 10 years of democracy practice, Taiwan still has not graduated. Common senses do not prevail in the politics in this island. Worse still, the freedom indicators seem to be retreating under the democratically elected DPP government.

  • Democratic but immature: pan-Blue and pan-Green continue their bickering at the Legislative Yuan (in issues not related to "arms procurement" - I have discussed in my previous posts that there are many very legitimate causes to oppose the arms deal). In addition, the knowledge of martial arts has miraculous effect on attracting votes.
  • Freedom to travel: DPP continues to ignore the extreme inefficiency in air traffic detour, making a 0.5-2 hour flight to into 6-9 hour ordeal (see map),destroying productivity and squandering resources of the Taiwanese people and business, hence hurting their competitiveness (Kinmen's official population increased by 30% when direct traffic to Xiamen was allowed for local residents!)
  • Freedom of migration: DPP continues to drag the feet of Taiwanese businesses from investing in the mainland, again hurting their competitiveness. When Dr. Richard Chang set up SMIC in Shanghai with the funding of US Venture Capitals, DPP resorted to prosecute the businessmen with dual citizenship for disobeying the ridiculous rule. Dr Chang countered by giving up the ROC passport, but the democratic and free "ROC in Taiwan" decided to ignore his constitutional right by forcing him to remain as an ROC hostage.
  • Freedom of speech: Today even freedom of speech is under threat when TVBS exposed a DPP scandal. DPP first forbid all its party member to appear on TVBS program and is now trying to accuse TVBS as a CCP minion. How can one of the top rating program in Taiwan be run by CCP? Please do not insult the intelligence of the people in the island. Remember it was also TVBS' criticism of the KMT regime which contributed to DPP's winning the 2000 election. (for discussion of technical/legal isssue see here , Satellite TV law see here)

Don't get me wrong, the immature democracy in Taiwan is still better than what the mainland, or even Hong Kong could enjoy today. I used to have high hope for DPP and I set a high standard for it, higher that waht I set for CCP or KMT. I have also believed it was too harsh to require DPP to learn how to rule in its first 4 years. CCP's policy in HK failed to meet its objective of making a show-case for Taiwan. Unfortunately, Taiwan also failed to show the CCP what democracy, rationality and freedom of speech really is. All I heard in this week was bigotry and ignorance, especially from the DPP. Is the benefit of the Taiwanese people on top of their priorities? Do they really care about these farmers? or about the ideal they have fought for all those years?

HK is free but not democratic. Taiwan is democratic but not free.

9 comments:

Curzon said...

China is neither democratic nor free - Japan is both democratic and free :p

Sun Bin said...

You are right.
So was Nazi Germany, in the early 1930s.

Curzon said...

Ohhh man, there you go again *chuckle*

Final word from me on this post: Nazi Germany was not free in the 1930s.

Sun Bin said...

democratic but not free?

hmm, i do love my friends in Taiwan. i think they are peaceful people. really don't want to tie them to the Nazi's.

p.s. read my penultimate paragraph as well :) i do agree with you.

Sun Bin said...

Update:

After President of Academia Sinica and Nobel Prize winner Lee Yuan-tseh publicly expressed diappointment in CSB and objected to the persecution of TVBS, CSB finally spoke, saying he would not shut down any TV station within his tenure. (should ne 'rest of his tenure', since he already shut down a couple 2 months ago)

james said...

heh, good post. the republic of china is a messy and immature democracy. most astute followers of taiwan politics already know that.

a democratic germany elected hitler but i don't think the people in taiwan will elect someone like him.

democracy is not the thing the people's republic of china most need right now. more important issues are better life conditions for the rural population, a larger educated middle class and better rule of law.

curzon guy seems to be one of those neo-con :)

Curzon said...

James -- Please see this explainer about our nom-de-plum:

Sun Bin said...

Word game:) The author called Kaplan a "minor player of the neocon". Let's define that as a new class outside the core class of neocon.

Curzon, I think you are more reasonable than Kaplan though.The core neocon (and the 'minor players') oppose what they oppose without reasoning. You reason, so you may not belong to the 'minor neocon player' class.

btw, your Beirut morning article is good:)

Sun Bin said...

About TVBS, "Biao" Chi-fang proved to be cutest guy in this DPP fiasco, good sense of humor, with the courage to admit mistake.

CSB bowed because the legal mistake is so obvious. Hsieh CT needs to take his law exam again.

Pasuya Yao needs a brain surgery.