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.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose