Taiwan Heads for Election Season

Taiwan Heads for Election SeasonChina’s roiling the waters with its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas can be expected to make Taiwan’s January elections all the more important for the region. Given its location between the two seas, Taiwan will need a leader capable of balancing many demands.  It was the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, that…

Taiwan Midterm Polls a Toss-Up

Taiwan Midterm Polls a Toss-UpOn Nov. 29, Taiwan’s 18 million voters will go to the polls for local elections, with pollsters and bookmakers differing on who’s in the lead and, as always, with the possibility that an unforeseen occurrence – such as a shooting or some other black swan event – will swing the polls. The races in the…

Taiwan to Join Submarine Race

Taiwan to Join Submarine RaceThirteen years after the Bush Administration promised Taiwan eight diesel-electric submarines, and 11 years after the Taiwanese walked away from an opportunity to obtain used but top-notch Italian boats, cautious optimism is emerging that the island’s navy will in the coming decade command a submarine fleet that can deter both Chinese aggression and Vietnam from…

China Gets it Wrong

China Gets it WrongChina is in the unique position of laying claim to three regions directly outside its borders, at least according to the people who live there, whose citizens mostly would like nothing more than to have China leave them alone.  They are Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tibet, at least the Tibet that existed prior to the…

China-Taiwan Relations Turning Sour

China-Taiwan Relations Turning SourIf indeed there had ever been a “Chiwan” on the horizon – a tighter relationship between China and Taiwan – it is fast receding, with Taipei affronting Beijing on almost weekly intervals, lately at least partly because of China’s unbending opposition to universal suffrage in Hong Kong. In August, President Ma Ying-jeou of the previously…

Dead Pigeons

Dead PigeonsIn a sport dominated by Taiwan’s gangsters, the island’s pigeon racers take young birds as far as 250 km out to sea and turn them loose to fly home. A huge number don’t make it. Each year, it’s believed that as many as a million birds drown, get lost or are netted by other gangsters.…

Taiwanese Investors Bear Brunt of Viet Riots

Taiwanese Investors Bear Brunt of Viet RiotsTaiwanese businesses in Vietnam have borne the brunt of rampaging mobs protesting China’s recent installation of an oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea. The mobs ransacked and torched hundreds of foreign-owned factories, most of them Taiwanese rather than mainland Chinese. The attackers, who appear to have been allowed by the government…

Taiwan’s Sunflower Occupation

Taiwan’s Sunflower OccupationThe students who have taken over Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan to fight a yet to-be ratified service trade agreement with China in what has come to be called the “sunflower occupation” have to be shaking up the councils in Beijing. The students’ activism in Taiwan has touched off an island-wide reaction against closer ties with China,…

Press Freedom Being Eroded in Hong Kong and Taiwan

Press Freedom Being Eroded in Hong Kong and TaiwanThe press in Hong Kong and Taiwan is under unrelenting pressure from local and Chinese governments, oligarchic owners and thugs employed to beat up reporters and editors, according to an exhaustive 4,500-word report released today by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The picture the report paints is one of slow but relentless erosion…

Japan and Taiwan are ‘Stingy’ Balancers

Japan and Taiwan are ‘Stingy’ BalancersThere has been much commentary recently about the hikes in Japan’s defense budget. The rises, along with other measures and rhetorical stances taken by the Abe administration, are meant to show Japan’s resolve over disputed territories and to offset China’s growing military capabilities. This may seem on the surface like a classic case of balance-of-power…