Latest from Taiwan includes Ko Wen-je’s visit to Shanghai, and a commando rescue at sea. Elsewhere, search for answers continue after bomb explosion in Thailand, and North Korea and South Korea exchange artillery fire.
#KoWen-je #FourReciprocalProcesses #CoastGuard #Semiconductor #Deregulation #Greece #Tsipras #Tianjin #NorthKorea #Hostilities #Fukushima #Confucian #History #Rewrite
Last Week on KM:
- The Fight Over Education: Sorting for the Social Assembly Line. Taiwan’s patriarchal Confucian values of cohesion, unity, and passivity are at the heart of student protests over curriculum changes, and why Taiwan’s workers are overworked and underpaid. Innovation, questioning authority, and self-criticism should be education’s focuses, to truly allow Taiwan’s students to thrive in the global economy. The same qualities in citizens also lead to a thriving democracy.
- Translation of Is KMT’s Old Base Doomed? Solidarity.tw’s previous piece on the KMT’s old guard, and how their descendants in Taiwan are not buying their parents’ national myths. English original here.
Latest from Taiwan:
One family — in friendship or identity? Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je attended the annual Taipei-Shanghai Forum this week. Ko’s attendance was in question after he did not publicly support China’s positions on “One China” and the “1992 Consensus”. At the forum, Mayor Ko called upon “the spirit that our two sides belong to one family“, to establish his “four reciprocal processes“: mutual awareness, mutual understanding, mutual respect, and mutual cooperation. His position was criticized by pro-independence commentators.
- Japanese or Chinese, all over again? Former president Lee Teng-hui’s comments in a Japanese magazine article was harshly criticized by current president Ma Ying-jeou. Lee wrote that during WWII, “Taiwanese fought for their motherland as Japanese,” sharply contrasting Ma administration’s celebration of Japan’s defeat in WWII by the ROC army.
A hostage situation. Chinese boats carrying three Taiwan Coast Guard officials conducting inspections headed for China instead of agree-upon Taiwan port. The Coast Guard conducted a commando-style rescue, armed with 9mm handguns, M16 assault rifles, and 12-gauge shotguns. The Chinese fishermen are being held pending charges of hostage-taking.
For protestors, a not-guilty verdict. Last week in the newsletter, school teacher Lin Ming-hui won his case against the March 24 police brutality at the Executive Yuan. This week, the Taipei District Court found two organizers of April 2014 anti-nuclear protests not guilty of charges associated with the protest activity.
Searching for the competitive edge. The Ministry of Economic Affairs relaxed China-investment regulations related to 12-inch wafer semiconductor chips. Formerly, Taiwanese companies could only invest in China plants through joint venture, or merger and acquisition, but now they can fully own plants in China. Foreign firms Intel and Samsung have already invested in plants in China. Meanwhile, foreign semiconductor companies are planning to invest in Taiwan, citing complete supply chains, industry clusters, and pool of talent.
Ongoing Trends in Asia and the World:
Breaking news from Greece. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has resigned his position. Now that Greece’s third bailout has been finalized, Tsipras says his mandate from the January elections has passed. Practically speaking, the rebellion within his own left-leaning Syriza party means he does not currently lead a majority government.
Tianjin. The massive explosions in Tianjin bore a heavy toll on first-responder firemen who arrived to handle the flames. In the aftermath, executives and officials are under investigation, and fears arise about pollution to the water supply. Meanwhile, within China part of the dialogue for citizens includes issues surrounding censorship and transparency in such situations.
Moving past disaster. In Japan, the Sendai Unit 1 became the first reactor to be restarted since Japan’s nuclear plants were idled after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Matters of Perspective:
Japan’s 100-hour work week. The work-life culture in Japan created by “patriarchal Confucian values” has 100-hour weeks the norm, and made karoshi, death by overwork, legally recognized.
Not everyone is trying to flee North Korea. Kim Ryen-hi, who defected from North Korea in 2011, deeply misses her family and wants to return.
A history rewrite from the People’s Republic of China. History revisions by Taiwan’s KMT party has been in the news lately, so how would the KMT respond to the PRC replacing Chiang Kai-shek with Mao Zedong from the Cairo Conference in a new movie by the People’s Liberation Army? In related news, BBC gives us some of the songs that have been banned by China from the internet.
For Something Completely Different:
The story of Taiwan bananas. From Commonwealth Magazine, a piece on the history of Taiwan’s banana farmers and banana industry.
A dose of cute. It was hard to read the article — I kept just looking at the pictures. Anna Kendrick once described the red panda as “every adorable animal in one animal”. Found in the region between Nepal and western China, red pandas are threatened by deforestation, disease, and climate change.
(Feature photo of Tainan, by Gail Su)
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