Except for the theocracies the rest of the world takes delight in ridiculing, most modern governments build their legitimacy and credibility by proposing policies that we assume are the result of detailed analysis and clear-headed decision-making. Public relations specialists advise world leaders to adopt a calm, cool and composed image when they appear in public — especially in times of crisis.
So there is reason to worry when, facing growing public discontent with the state of the economy and a freefalling TAIEX — which again shed 10 percent last week — the only thing officials from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration have come up with are calls for the population to have “faith” in the government and, on Friday, the promise that the Cabinet would enact “miracle cures” to revive the stock market.
Faith and miracles are language used by theocrats in flowing robes or the hapless who see no way out of a predicament and suddenly feel an urge to place their fate in the hands of a higher being.
Panic-inducing though the current economic woes might seem, the end of the world is not upon us. There are ways out — but religion, or belief in the fantastic, isn’t one of them. What is needed is professionalism and cool-headedness, as well as policies that are clear, measurable and grounded in reality.
At this critical moment, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) economists and Cabinet members should know better than to use rhetoric that is prone to generate panic in investors. Ironically, by adopting language with religious undertones, panic is just what they could sow.
Economists tell us that the last thing a bourse wants in times of financial stress is market panic. Calm is in order, and financiers must maintain the impression — even if it is illusory — that they have things under control. Again, religious terminology and vague promises are not part of that arsenal.
Taiwanese investors are not fools. Despite comments by the Cabinet last week that investors alone are responsible for their investments and possible losses, the KMT government must bear in mind that many investors went on the stock market specifically because they believed the KMT’s promise that the nation’s economy would receive a “miraculous” boost if Ma was elected. Now that this promise has failed to materialize, investors who were burned will not make the same mistake again and their faith in the KMT’s power to bring about “miracles” will be far from the type that moves mountains.
The government should admit it overshot during the presidential campaign and that, while acknowledging that the state of the global economy is beyond its control, it is prepared to reassure investors and mitigate their pain. Promises of “miracle” cures serve no purpose, are insulting to our intelligence and could encourage fears that no one — except, perhaps, a long-bearded man sitting on a cloud somewhere, who couldn’t care less about stocks and bullish markets — is in charge.
In September 2013, the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quietly released an internal document entitled, “Coursebook on the Military Geography of the Taiwan Strait.” This sensitive, “military-use-only” coursebook explains why it is strategically vital that China “reunify” (annex) Taiwan. It then methodically analyzes various locations of interest to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) war planners. The coursebook highlights one future battlefield in particular: Fulong Beach, in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District, which it describes as “3,000 meters long, flat, and straight,” and located at “the head of Taiwan.” A black and white picture of Fulong’s sandy coastline occupies the
US President Joe Biden’s first news conference last month offered reassuring and concerning insights regarding his administration’s approach to China. Biden did not mention the contentious meeting in Alaska where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confronted China’s top two foreign policy officials. The Americans implicitly affirmed the administration of former US president Donald Trump’s direct pushback against communist China’s repressive domestic governance and aggressive international behavior. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) and Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) had explicitly demanded a return to the policies of
Early last month, China’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), officially approved the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan. The strategy was supposed to demonstrate that China has a long-term economic vision that would enable it to thrive, despite its geopolitical contest with the US. However, before the ink on the NPC’s stamp could dry, China had already begun sabotaging the plan’s chances of success. The new plan’s centerpiece is the “dual-circulation” strategy, according to which China would aim to foster growth based on domestic demand and technological self-sufficiency. This would not only reduce China’s reliance on external demand; it would also
Interrupting the assimilation of Xinjiang’s Uighur population would result in an unmanageable national security threat to China. Numerous governments and civil society organizations around the world have accused China of massive human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and labeled Beijing’s inhumane and aggressive social re-engineering efforts in the region as “cultural genocide.” Extensive evidence shows that China’s forceful ethnic assimilation policies in Xinjiang are aimed at replacing Uighur ethnic and religious identity with a so-called scientific communist dogma and Han Chinese culture. The total assimilation of Uighurs into the larger “Chinese family” is also Beijing’s official, central purpose of its ethnic policies