Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - Page 8 News List

China is Enron reborn as a country

By Jerome Keating

Furthermore, while most factories have not matched the conditions at Foxconn Technology Group’s sites that make Apple products, Foxconn — the best of the best — is being challenged over quality and care for employees. Or has this in reality been a shakedown?

With a workforce of millions still outside this manufacturing cycle, and with growing pollution a problem, what other areas are open for China’s diversification?

China’s banks and the shadow banks that finance a lot of this growth have their own problems with audits and corruption.

Worst of all is that an increasing number of wealthy Chinese and bureaucrats are squirreling away money in offshore accounts. These safety nets suggest a preparation to cut and run more than trust in reliable future growth. Even relatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the one supposedly cracking down on corruption, are secreting funds.

What does this say for the hundreds of millions of Chinese not yet involved? Unable to solve these internal problems, China’s leaders distract the public by pushing for territorial expansion.

Analogies of course only go so far; Enron was a corporation and China is a country. China has no auditors or courts to hold it to account. It will not go bankrupt like Enron, but while it spreads its tentacles into the South China Sea and elsewhere for resources and control, it will create, and is already creating, greater problems and collateral damage than it is solving.

As this affects not just China’s neighbors, but the world, demystification is needed. Yet the pundits remain silent. They have no answer, nor a Dynegy or other white knight waiting to salvage this situation.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government blindly puts its eggs solely in its Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) basket, still pushing for an unexamined and unchallenged trust in its opaque ECFA union with this wavering manufacturing giant.

Disregarding the Legislative Yuan, Ma persists in chanting the mantra: “As Enron was good for the US, so China and ECFA will be good for Taiwan.”

This is the world and oligarchy that Taiwanese must face and demystify with elections this year and in 2016. This is the awareness that must be increasingly taken into account.

Jerome Keating is a commentator in Taipei.

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