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Latest from Taiwan includes official bear market for Taiwan, and a case of mistaken identity in mainstream media reporting. Elsewhere, a second chemical explosion in China, and North Korea and South Korea take a step back from confrontation.


#LeeTungHui #History #BearMarket #Soong #Erawan #Taiwan #notThailand #Economy #Investment #Shandong #Corruption #Culture #NorthKorea #UmbrellaMovement #JoshuaWong


Last Week on KM:

  • Lee Tung-hui and the Battle for Taiwan’s Historic Identity.  Former Taiwan President Lee Tung-hui’s comments on Taiwan’s role during WWII has prompted negative reactions from the KMT. Taiwan fighting as a Japanese colony is historical fact. While war with Japan and the eventual retreat to Taiwan is part of the history for a minority portion of Taiwan’s population, the KMT is trying to reestablish this piece of the history as the “official” history. In seeking to force an identity upon the people of Taiwan, the KMT takes an approach that is not viable for a 21st century democracy.


Latest from Taiwan:

  • Taiex Index. Taiwan’s stock market officially entered a bear market. The Taiex Index declined 3% Friday after more negative news from China.  Since its April 27 high, Taiwan’s market is down 20%, meeting the official definition of a bear market. On Monday, the decline continued, and Taiwan’s FSC instituted a ban on short-selling while President Ma ordered his Cabinet to protect the Stock Exchange with stabilization funds drawn partly from pensions and loans. It could be an indication Taiwan should not tether its economy so tightly to China. The US declined hard on the same news, breaking out of range-bound motion for the first time in months.

  • Military Tourism OK’d. The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office has dismissed the charges over the Apache helicopter tour incident earlier this year. In April, ROC military officers inappropriately gave celebrities a tour of a restricted military base and equipment.  A bipartisan denouncement of the outcome came in response to the dismissal of charges.
  • Spotlight on Soong. On Friday, PFP presidential candidate James Soong bowed and apologized for the suffering experienced by Taiwanese in the late 20th Century. His new campaign ad, “Shaving”, highlights the patriarchal attitude taken by Taiwanese adults and politicians. Soong says instead that, criticism should be responded to with honest introspection. Solidarity.tw provides translation of Storm Media’s report, and his own analysis.
  • Someone must be in trouble for this. Reporting on Thailand’s Erawan shrine bombing, the San Jose Mercury News, a major paper in an area well-populated with Asians, mistook Thailand for Taiwan in its headlines. A correction was later posted. Perhaps Thailand will perpetually be referred to as “Bangkok” in American media from now on.
  • Fortunately, forgiveness reigns here. After a Taiwanese boy accidentally created a fist-sized hole in a 350-year-old, $1.5 million dollar (USD) painting, exhibit organizers asked that the child not be held liable and hope insurance companies will cover the restoration costs.


Ongoing Trends in Asia and the World:

  • Down, down, down. The Shanghai Index and global markets had a down day Friday after China’s economy contracts further. Monday, the Shanghai Index plummeted 8.45%, losing all gains for the year in its largest one day drop since 2007. China cut rates and lowered the reserve ratio after Tuesday’s market close, but failed to stem losses. China’s leadership is in disagreement over whether costs of support are warranted. The (non)results achieved by central bank stimulus worldwide in recent years may justify their line of thought. The Shanghai Index finally closed in the green Thursday, after government stock purchases ahead of China’s Sept 3rd military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of WWII victory.
  • Seeing the light. Critics of Taiwan’s economic attachment to China
    have long suggested investment in SE Asia. Vietnam’s recent warning, that global economic conditions would strongly impact Southeast Asia, seems to disagree, along with threats of political tensions in Thailand, Myanmar, and the South China Sea. Yet, recent economic troubles may be an opportunity for India to affirm its status in the global economy. And Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs may have finally seen the light, now turning to push investment in India and Indonesia.
  • Underlying issues? There was a second explosion in China this week, this time at a chemical plant in Shandong province. With this trend comes discovery into the illegal storage of dangerous chemicals too close to residential areas, and dialogue about corruption. The owner of the Tianjin-explosion warehouses is on the board of China Sinochem, a state-owned company controlled by the entity investigating the explosions. He admitted last Wednesday to “using his political influence to get around safety norms”. Meanwhile, there’s this.
  • Reconciled for now.  After artillery fire was exchanged last week, North and South Korea held a meeting Tuesday, ending with concessions and agreements. North Korea stepped back from a semi-war footing, and expressed regret for the injuries sustained by South Korean soldiers due to North Korean land mines planted recently at the DMZ. In turn, South Korea once again shut off loudspeakers sending propaganda across the border.
  • Courts on the wrong side this week. Joshua Wong of Scholarism and Alex Chow of the Hong Kong Federation of Students have been charged with illegal assembly for their leadership of last year’s Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.
  • Philippines arbitration case explained. The newsletter has been following events in the South China Sea. This week, The Diplomat provides the full background on the Philippines arbitration case against China’s South China Sea incursions.


Matters of Perspective:

  • Everyone has their own opinion. I’m not sure I’m agreed with his perspectives, but Peter Enav over at Thinking Taiwan presents his nicely comprehensive breakdown of US Presidential candidates and their possible support for Taiwan if elected. Republican Marco Rubio is not mentioned at all.
  • But some are just strange. Chinese officials place caged bunnies (and other animals) at the Tianjin blast site, thinking to reassure the public that the area is completely safe in the aftermath of chemical explosions.
  • Being a hyphen in China. What it means to be a Korean-Chinese in China.


For Something Completely Different:

  • Only in the Lab. But it’s a development that’s full of hope. Scientists have successfully turned human cancer cells back to normal cells by using microRNAs delivered by injection.

(Feature photo of Kaohsiung, by thtsai77 on Pixabay)




The Debrief

A well informed citizenry is the foundation of our modern society. Every week, our news team brings you the most important stories on current affairs, diplomacy, business and human rights, in Asia and around the globe. Not only can we be well informed, but better informed, about the relationship between our lives, our communities, and the common world.

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