When Wang had just been appointed MAC minister, he failed to even recognize a photograph of Jia. Now, with Wang in office, the Cabinet has suddenly adopted a policy of subsidizing Chinese students studying in Taiwan by giving them National Health Insurance coverage. This is something that China said long ago it would like to see happen.
Then there is the question of opening up Taiwan’s doors to massive investment from China. In his National Day address on Oct. 10, Ma announced that his government would relax restrictions on the investment of foreign capital in Taiwan’s industries and that in future deregulation would become the norm and barriers the exception. This announcement makes it clear that Ma’s government intends to implement what Jia called more “positive” policies toward China.
While Lin was in China, Yang Yi (楊毅), spokesman of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said that media organizations from both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be able to set up permanent offices in each other’s territory, and called on Taiwan to remove unnecessary barriers in this respect. Now everyone is waiting to see whether Ma goes ahead and implements this particular “positive” policy in the near future.
People had better be prepared. When Ma promised that his government would produce some positive results on the economic front within one month, and when he talks about his legacy, what he is aiming for is not economic prosperity and social stability for Taiwan and the well-being of its people. Rather, he is in a hurry to confirm his definition of China and Taiwan as “two areas of one country” and to do even more than he already has to consolidate a framework built around the “one China” principle, so that Taiwan will be firmly locked into it. That is why Ma does not care if people call him incompetent, heartless or ignorant, or if people complain that the government is only good at spending money and making workers pay the bill. This president, whose approval rate has sunk to below 20 percent, seems determined to turn his fortunes around by pursuing what Jia called more “positive” policies with regard to China.
For Ma, turning his fortunes around means making sure that the vast majority of people who are dissatisfied with his performance end up the losers, while he comes out as the final winner. What that means is that Ma will continue to do nothing to solve Taiwan’s most serious problems — economic depression, high unemployment and falling real wages. He will not do anything to save our labor and national health insurance schemes from bankruptcy or to stem the preferential welfare perks enjoyed by armed forces personnel, civil servants and teachers. Young people will still not be able to afford to buy homes or have children.
If life is hard for people in Taiwan, that is not a problem for Ma, because it will actually make people more psychologically prepared for unification with China. That suits Ma because he wants to keep on rushing headlong toward the goal of eventual unification, which he thinks will make him go down in history as a hero of the Chinese nation.
As time passes, China will anesthetize Taiwan with economic morphine. A Taiwan whose economy lies in tatters will be in no fit state to resist China’s economic extortion. As for Ma, he is set to enjoy a comfortable life paid for by Taiwanese taxpayers after he steps down. Ma must be laughing to himself to see how easily fooled Taiwanese people really are.