Latest from Taiwan includes Lien Chan’s return from China, and investigation results of the journalist arrests during the Anti-Revision protests. Elsewhere, Thailand’s Erawan shrine bombing might be linked to China’s oppression in Xinjiang, and India and Australia team up in the South China Sea.
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Last Week on KM:
- A Conversation with Anti-Revision Student Activists. KM staff writer William Yang talks to Anti-Revision high school student leader Chen Chien-hsiun about the curriculum change protests, all the way to plans for the movement’s future: monitoring the Ministry of Education, watching over the selection of the next curriculum deliberation committee’s members, and tracking the curriculum selected by each high school in Taiwan.
Latest from Taiwan:
A cold welcome back. After returning from China’s Sept 3 military parade, former Vice President Lien Chan will face the KMT’s disciplinary committee, as well as a treason complaint filed by Annette Lu.
- Taiwan, province of China. After WHO Director-General Margaret Chan sent around a letter asking recipients to refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, province of China”, US Secretary of Health and Human Resources Kathleen Sebelius restated the US’ position, that the UN has no right to unilaterally determine Taiwan’s status. Taiwan Minister of Health Chiu Wen-ta also sent a strong letter of protest to the WHO.
The ball is in Ko’s court. Results from the Taipei City Government investigation into events surrounding the July 23 Anti-Revision occupation of the Ministry of Education leave journalists critical of mayor Ko Wen-je. The report does not address the police department’s transgression of press freedoms and arrest of three journalists, and gives only mild comments on the need for human rights education for police officers.
China’s Taiwan affairs chief under scrutiny. Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign is investigating former head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Chen Yunlin, after China apparently failed to win over Taiwan. Xi rejected reports blaming DPP manipulating the youth, and questioned Chen Yunlin’s focus on relationships with Taiwan business elites.
Ongoing Trends in Asia and the World:
China flexing the soft power. US economic sanctions against China have yet to be seen this week, but China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai has already commented, calling them “nonconstructive”. The sanctions respond to Chinese cyber-espionage against American companies. China has countered by organizing a Seattle tech summit on Sept 23, which most American tech companies will attend despite undermining the Obama Administration by doing so.
- And reducing the hard power? Xi Jinping announced reducing the People’s Liberation Army by 300,000 troops — based on costs and technology to replace manpower. Meanwhile, Japan expressed its “disappointment” with the strong anti-Japan rhetoric that colored the celebration event. Analysis at the Diplomat explains the Sept 3 aimed to improve morale after Xi Jinping’s shake up of PLA leadership a few years ago.
- Leaking out from China. Thailand’s Erawan shrine bombing might be tied to Thailand’s forced repatriation of 100 Uighurs to China in July. This kind of spillover from China’s oppression of its Uighur minority may make it difficult for China to keep touting its Xinjiang tensions as “purely internal” affairs.
- Jointly worried. India and Australia will conduct their first bilateral naval exercises this month, with an anti-submarine focus. In August, Australia expressed unease over South China Sea tensions, while India is nervous about patterns of China’s naval forces asserting a larger operational footprint.
- Compared to $94 billion, it’s not much. Hurting from low oil prices globally, Venezuela received a US$5 billion loan from China. Pennies compared to the $94 billion decline in China’s foreign exchange reserves this August, the loan extends China’s investment of a total $50 billion in Venezuela for oil and resources. At hand is also a shift in the global paradigm, since China’s loan does not come with the usual conditions imposed by the World Bank or IMF.
- No relief in China for Russia. Meanwhile, turning to a China partnership after western sanctions over Ukraine, Russia is now finding that China’s contracting economy has stuttered or complicated previous agreements and projects.
Matters of Perspective:
It was the Century of Humiliation for a reason. While the KMT and CCP argue (or agree) over who won WW2 against the Japanese, a more historic view is that China was a failed state in 1945.
For Something Completely Different:
A new color for the crayon box. As Beijing’s factories and cars resume operation and the sky returns to its usual smog-filled grey, Chinese citizens name the clear-blue-skies color they experienced on Sept 3 “Parade Blue”.
Crime doesn’t pay. Japan’s biggest yakuza group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, may split into factions under pressure of decreasing revenues, possibly resulting in Central Japan gang wars.
(Feature photo of Taipei, by Gail Su.)