Three trends spanned the Pacific this week: journalism, entrepreneurs, and 2016 elections. News of ISIS spreads across Asia Pacific, including videos of a man being burned alive. China barks at century-old Taiwanese government leaders about standing up to the young Communist regime. Taiwanese local leaders respond that Beijing should learn to move past the past and just get along. A former US official, Richard Bush, unofficially speculates (without actually speculating) on China’s yet-to-be-seen reaction to Taiwan’s 2016 likely election swing away from the floundering, grossly unpopular, de facto pro-China, incumbent KMT-Nationalist party. The recently acquired economic powerhouse, Hong Kong, receives more lectures from Communist Beijing, which only alienate the upcoming generation; though there is little to suggest that Hong Kong’s successful entrepreneurs have been invited to lecture new Chinese businesses on how to catch up to the former British colony. Beijing’s solution to the Umbrella Movement is to change high school curriculum to remind students how much they need China. China watches Taiwan, North Korea watches itself, while the rest of Asia watches ISIS.
Local politics in Taiwan could be one of the biggest factors in the coming Pacific conflict. Over the weekend, a key politician, Tainan Mayor William Lai, announced that he would not run for Taiwan’s presidency in 2016. This means a likely election for Chairperson Tsai, leader of Lai’s political party, the DPP, which wrested local power from the incumbent KMT-Nationalist party this past November. Should Lai have run for president, he would already have received backing from Kiku Chen, DPP member and mayor of Taiwan’s second largest, also Tainan’s twin city, Kaohsiung. Taipei’s new independent mayor, Ko, made some of his own headlines this week as he stood up to Beijing’s bullying. He is anything but weak. As for Mayor Lai, he has continued to fight corruption in Tainan, including a Tainan KMT-Nationalist legislative speaker, under investigation for allegedly receiving Chinese money to buy the necessary votes to achieve his position. By Taiwan mayors standing up to Beijing in local politics, and by Lai choosing to remain in Tainan into 2019, when Tsai likely takes Taiwan’s presidency in 2017, Beijing will be both outraged and powerless. Tainan has one of the most attractive landing beaches, should Bejing disrupt peace in the Pacific, rather than going after ISIS. More importantly than Tainan’s wide beach, military strategy must now consider that it has a mayor with a backbone.
…with a look back at two articles…
ISIS/Islam in Asian News
Asia is certainly watching, just look at the headlines…
Ko Wen-je (Wiki)
…Interesting article with a smack-in-the-face conclusion at China
…But another newspaper article pursues the mayor’s choice of words in Mandarin, translated to English, regardless of the drastically different approach that English has to the use of words. Ko is a new independent party Taiwanese Mayor, who is opposed to China’s policy to retake Taiwan “by force” if necessary.
Nottingham Think Tank Blog Looks at New Chinese Entrepreneurs
- Resurgent Taiwan opposition says China strategy must change (rappler.com)
- Taiwan’s embattled ruling party looks to new leader to turn tide (sinodaily.com)
- Taiwan’s young rise up (eastasiaforum.org)
- Barack Obama lauds ‘good friend’ Dalai Lama . (theoslotimes.com)
- China opposes Obama meeting Dalai Lama (theunhivedmind.com)
- China says opposed to any countries meeting Dalai Lama (christiantoday.com)