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Happy Labor Day weekend in the US! Long weekend reading includes Lien’s visit to China, Hung’s break from campaigning, and an adult film actress on the EasyCard. Elsewhere, journalist Wang Xiaolu is blamed for stock market problems in China.


#TSU #Lien #Hung #elections #EasyCard #228 #Students #Sanctions #Modi #Strike #GS #Erawan #Shandong #History #Revision #Racism #VerticalFarming #Costco


Last Week on KM:

  • Will the Taiwan Solidarity Union Disappear? In a period of growing Taiwanese identity and activism, the party Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) is not riding a wave of success. Lack of star power, lack of opportunity for younger leaders, and perhaps the TSU’s ideological rather than constituent-focused basis is to blame. The TSU perhaps must decide whether to fight for survival as a party, or emphasize its ideals by facilitating a transition into the New Power Party and DPP.


Latest from Taiwan:

  • Ten years later. Former Vice President Lien Chan makes another controversial trip to China, just like his trip 10 years ago. This year, both China and Taiwan marked the 70th Anniversary of WWII. Taiwan’s government cautioned against attending China’s celebration, citing China’s distortion of history. (Or this example?) But Lien did attend, along with others. KMT presidential candidate Hung spoke favorably of Lien’s “diplomacy”. However, Lien’s speech in China cited “the KMT-CPC consensus of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing Taiwanese independence” and said “both sides of the strait ‘use the same historical data and write history books together.'”

  • Everyone thought she was quitting. KMT candidate Hung Hsiu-chu announced Wednesday that she would take a break from campaigning for “deep reflection”. Given her low standing in the polls, some suggested a Soong-Hung ticket was still possible, and others wondered if Eric Chu would replace Hung in the presidential race. Hung’s camp has clarified though, that she will be reflecting on her strategy for victory.
  • Good or bad? Ending compulsory military service is a goal of the Ma Administration, but Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense anticipates it will not be reached until 2017. Would a professional military be too detached from the people, though?
  • Demons and Angels. Taiwan was abuzz this week about an EasyCard series featuring Japanese adult films actress, Yui Hatano.  In the end, the series was available only by phone order and still sold out within four hours.
  • Not just Taiwanese, but others were also impacted by the KMT’s military crackdown on February 28, 1947. Keisho Aoyama, from Okinawa, will sue Taiwan over the death of his father during Taiwan’s 228 Incident. His father was recognized last December as a victim, but Taiwan refused to pay compensation on the grounds that Japan has not paid for Taiwanese soldiers who served Japan in WWII, and for Taiwanese women forced into the role of “comfort women”,
  • Active citizens. One of Taiwan’s student leaders, June Lin, explains her views on “Taiwanese identity“. “The most important element is that Taiwanese want to determine our own fate. We have worked hard to make this a free and democratic country. We want to help make it a vibrant democracy that cares for its people and listens to its people. That is what it means to be Taiwanese.”


Ongoing Trends in Asia and the World:

  • White House responds at last. Just prior to Xi Jinping’s US visit, headline news Monday covered sanctions against China in response to China’s hacking. Maybe the Obama Administration will be prepared with sanctions, but then “work things out” as part of give-and-take during Xi’s visit.
  • One in a billion. China’s stock market woes have been pinned on one Chinese journalist, Wang Xiaolu, who was forced to confess to “causing” the stock market chaos. Negative economic data necessitated government intervention, to present the best image during China’s Sept 3 military parade celebration.Investors identified a definite pattern of late afternoon market gains. On Monday, four Citic brokers were detained, and 50 brokerages were subsequently instructed to support markets with purchases to the tune of $100 billion USD. Fund managers became nervous, saying things like “If I don’t come back, look after my wife”, and in fact a top female hedge fund manager disappeared, presumably taken into custody.

    Despite all, markets were down -0.8% Monday, -1.2% Tuesday, and -0.2% Wednesday before finally closing Thursday and Friday for the celebration. BoAML thinks the rout will resume after supports have ended, and even China’s banks have issued warnings on the economy.

  • South Korea faces its own slowdown, with data showing a 14.7% decrease in exports year over year due to China’s contraction, currency issues, and low oil prices.
  • Wanted for possible money laundering. Apparently a “fake” Goldman Sachs exists in China.  Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Co. has no relation to the more well-known Goldman Sachs, and may have ties to money laundering and organized crime. Goldman Sachs (New York) is still bullish on China’s stock markets and positive about China’s economy. Meanwhile in Japan, the Olympics logo for the 2020 Games will be redesigned after allegations of plagiarism.
  • Ongoing events. A suspect has been arrested in the Thai bomber case, with fingerprints matching him to bomb-making equipment. But there is controversy over the Thai police chief giving the over-$80,000 USD reward to … the Thai police. Police are still searching for other suspects tied to a second batch of bomb equipment.

    In Myanmar, political tensions over its November elections (the first in 20 years) continue, as the President signs into law allegedly “anti-Muslim” legislation. Finally, in Shandong, China, yet another chemical plant explosion was reported.


Matters of Perspective:

  • From hero, to outcast, to hero. As China celebrates its role and Chinese people’s role resisting Japan during WWII, the distortion is revealed in the lives and experiences of war veterans who fought for the Chinese Nationalists.
  • The hidden conflict. Things may have looked “stable” in the Taiwan-China relationship during the Ma Administration, but those engaged in the cyber warfare conflict lived a different story.
  • Racism, or practicality? In Switzerland, special trains have been set aside for Chinese tourists known for their rude and uncivilized behavior.  Chinese tourists are a running world joke right now, but in any other context something like this would definitely be decried as racism.


For Something Completely Different:

  • Vertical farming. Japan’s Spread Co. is taking “vertical farming” to another level.  In this space-saving innovation, agricultural efforts are extended upward rather than outward, and vertical farming may in the future be a boon to island countries like Japan … or maybe Taiwan?
  • Will there be $1.50 hot dogs? Costco opens in China!  ‘Nuff said, and see Chinese consumers’ top five here.

(Feature photo of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, by Peter Morgan, CC BY 2.0)




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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