At a gathering of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials on Wednesday, the first day of work after the Lunar New Year holiday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as party chairman, called on Taiwanese to work together to revive the country’s economy as he reiterated his pledge to boost the nation’s economic environment and outlook.
However, it is difficult to be optimistic about the president’s talk about improving the economy and people’s livelihoods when he did not even bother to usher in the Year of the Horse with a new Cabinet lineup to offer the public a new vision, let alone present any concrete financial and economic plans and policies.
Prior to the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday last week, a rumor predicted a Cabinet reorganization in the Ma administration after the break.
It turns out, to the disappointment of many, that all of the Cabinet members in charge of financial and economic affairs are to stay put, in light of what Ma’s administration calls “placing stabilization and economic development at the top of its priorities.”
The truth is, if Ma is at all serious about boosting the nation’s economy, the Cabinet led by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) would have to undergo at least a minor reshuffling of the members in charge of financial and economic affairs to demonstrate the president’s determination to reinvigorate the economy. The lack of personnel changes on the finance and economics fronts only reinforces the widespread impression of the president as one who is all talk and no action.
The nation faces economic challenges ranging from a quickly deteriorating labor market and weakening household income to the growing gap between rich and poor, overdependence on China and record-high public debt.
In case the president needs a reminder, two of the five worst annual GDP performances between 1951 and last year — 0.73 percent in 2008 and minus-1.81 percent in 2009 — came under his administration. The 2.97 percent average GDP growth during Ma’s five years in office also pales in comparison with the former Democratic Progressive Party administration’s average of 4.42 percent growth between 2000 and 2008.
The unemployment rate of 4.24 percent remains high, workers’ salaries are back to where they were 16 years ago and the list of other depressing numbers, such as the increase in low-income households, goes on.
A survey conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research late last month suggested that as many as 84.8 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the current state of the economy and just 6.8 percent gave it a positive nod — a striking difference from Ma’s talk on Wednesday with claims that the nation’s commodity prices are dropping and that the economy is making a slow recovery.
Ma’s failure to deliver on his 2008 “6-3-3” campaign pledge — 6 percent economic growth, per capita income of US$30,000 and an unemployment rate below 3 percent — has become a bad joke. Hopefully the president’s latest pledges on reviving the nation’s economy will not fizzle out to be yet another laughingstock.
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please
Drugged with sedatives, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange prison tunic, British fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey was escorted by warders into an interrogation room filled with reporters, locked inside a steel cage and fastened to a metal “tiger chair.” Humphrey recalls: “I was completely surrounded by officers, dazed, manacled and with cameras pointing at me through the bars. I was fighting for my life like a caged animal. It was horrifying.” Footage from the interrogation was later artfully edited to give the appearance of a confession and broadcast on Chinese state media. While this might sound like an
The US House of Representatives on July 1 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill that would penalize Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as banks that do business with them. The following day, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill, which was later sent to the White House, where it awaits US President Donald Trump’s signature. The bill does not spell out what the sanctions would look like and Trump has yet to sign it into law, but Reuters on Thursday last week reported that five major Chinese state lenders are considering