Wed, Jan 18, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Pity this divine pig, readied for slaughter

By Bill Chang (張國城)

Immediately after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) outlined the "active management, effective opening" policy in his New Year's speech, National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) claimed that China was planning to annex Taiwan by 2020.

There are various ways it can prepare for this.

One of the most effective of these is ensuring that Taiwan is dependent on the Chinese economy and a burgeoning trade relationship.

In the 1980s, Taiwan's trade surplus with the US accounted for almost half of its total surplus.

Today, however, all that has changed.

Action must be taken to diversify the risk that heavy investment in China brings.

Let's put aside China's military threat to Taiwan's sovereignty and security for now. If there is extreme concentration of investment, a responsible government has to take action, regardless of which country is the recipient.

One of the first lessons in business management, after all, is diversification of risk.

No single country's economy can be strong forever. Governments must also face and resolve domestic unemployment problems caused by an outflow of capital.

But Taiwan's media and politicians have completely ignored these problems while embracing "active opening" without "effective management."

And what is the nature of China, the object of this investment frenzy?

Generally speaking, a stock market serves as the display window for a country's economy. But China's Shanghai Index has now fallen in consecutive years, even reaching an eight-year low last July, despite strong performances in other stock markets throughout the region.

In light of the world's considerable expectations for China's growth, we can exclude psychological factors for such poor performance.

That leaves us with either the possibility that China's economic growth is more complex than it appears, or the possibility that its financial system is in fact deeply problematic.

China is making very good use indeed of the Taiwanese people's forgetfulness of the distinction between our enemies and ourselves.

This has led to the "excessive opening" that we see today.

Opening up to China makes us feel as if there has been an improvement in relations. Yet it is impossible for any government to entirely convince its people to feel that relations with another country can improve while advocating that we strengthen our defensive capacities against that country.

In such circumstances, the failure of the US arms procurement plan was inevitable.

Even if the plan is passed, no kind of advanced weapon can remedy the disappearance of the line between the enemy and oneself.

In the eyes of China, Taiwan is nothing but a "divine pig" intended for ritual slaughter.

Although the owner of the pig always takes good care of it, he will eventually slaughter it one day.

But before its slaughter, the pig is given so much food that it can barely stand. Then, when the time for the festival or ceremony arrives, it is time to butcher the pig.

The relationship between the owner and his pig is not a normal master-pet relationship, so there is indeed no win-win situation for the sacrificial object.

In the light of overtures to fatten up Taiwan, it is vital to heed Chiou's 2020 warning.

Bill Chang is a former deputy director of the Chinese Affairs Department of the Democratic Progressive Party.

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