The rise of China has brought tremendous pressure on Taiwan’s competitiveness, worrying our next generation about future competition between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
However, I am more confident of the nation’s future after attending a conference in Taipei City on Sept. 6, on the establishment of a cross-strait network on domestic violence prevention. What I really want to say is: Cheer up, my fellow Taiwanese! China is nothing to be afraid of.
The conference was organized by a well-known non-governmental organization, the Garden of Hope Foundation, and sponsored by the Ministry of the Interior’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Committee. Chinese and Hong Kong elites were invited to share their experiences on the subject.
Originally, I had great expectations for their presentations when I came to Taipei. After the presentations and exchange of opinions, I believe that, despite China’s sudden wealth after becoming a world factory in recent years, Taiwan’s potential strength far surpasses China’s.
Here are three examples:
First, scientific training in Taiwan is solid.
China does have outstanding talent at the top of the pyramid, thanks to its huge population, but its scientific training is far less widespread than in Taiwan. The academic papers published by Chinese academics are mostly long articles filled with cliches and they lack an academic framework.
However, Taiwanese have a sophisticated and strict scientific approach to scholastics and their methodology, while such training still is insufficient in China.
Second, Taiwan’s legal system is complete.
Taiwan has passed the test of democracy and the rule of law, and although it is not perfect in all areas, the laws are detailed and accurate, the government system is in order and people’s legal understanding is sufficient.
In China, however, the legal framework and concepts still need time to develop, something that hardly will take place overnight.
Third, Taiwan’s cultural sensitivities are excellent.
The island has been subject to Dutch and Japanese colonial rule, US aid and the relocation of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) government. So many foreign powers have plowed this land. Influenced by such cultural diversity, Taiwan has developed a unique culture.
This social strength and vitality is the nation’s specific advantages. Culture, which can be called a deep-lying soft power, is likely to be a core competitive arena on the world’s stage in the near future. However, in China, it is unlikely to take shape in the short term, despite the fact that some Chinese people are becoming rich.
Path To Victory
As the Chinese saying goes: “Knowing both one’s own and the enemy’s strength is a sure way to victory.”
Before I began to closely observe the performance of the Chinese elite in person, I felt pressured, as if I were dealing with a giant. However, after comparing the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, I am more aware of Taiwan’s greatest advantages and strengths. I hope I can spread this awareness to all Taiwanese.
Hsu Su-jean is the director of National Cheng Kung University Hospital’s Department of Social Work.
TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG