From a man who had hardly set foot outside China to a globetrotter who has traveled throughout the five continents. Since coming to power, Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) extensive travels have had implications on many different levels, analysts say.
Since Hu took the helm of the Chinese government in March 2003, as of this month, he has made more than 30 state visits to many different countries -- including those branded by the administration of US President George W. Bush as the "axis of evil" and many other Western democracies.
Yang Chih-heng (楊志恆), an associate professor of the Graduate Institute of Southeast Asia Studies at Tamkang University, said the strategic goal of Hu's global diplomacy is to lessen the pressure on the Chinese authorities to implement human rights and democracy.
"It seems to China that Bush's pledge to transplant democracy in the non-democratic regimes surrounding China is a kind of democratic containment policy imposed against China, which Hu has been very cautious about," he said.
Lin Wen-chung (林文程), a professor from the Institute of Mainland China Studies at National Sun Yat-Sen University, said Hu's visits are designed to help China compete with the US for influence in South and Central Asian countries and to counteract the intended effect of the US' containment policies.
"For example, China has been providing political, diplomatic and security or military support to the failing dictatorships in Myanmar and Nepal ? while they were being condemned by the West for their violent conduct," Lin Wen-chung said.
Despite the negative impression that might be gained as a result of China's alliance with non-democratic nations, China, on the other hand, has been busy trying to create an image of a peaceful rising through Hu's state visits to Western democracies.
In comparison to Jiang Zemin (江澤民), Hu's predecessor, Hu has made more frequent trips to the major powers, said Lin Cheng-yi (林正義), a research fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies at Academia Sinica.
"This year Hu has made more state visits than in the previous three years, demonstrating that he has successfully achieved control over China's internal affairs and that he has gradually consolidated his position at the top of the regime," Lin Cheng-yi said.
Unlike Jiang, who developed the notion of "strategic partnerships" with only the US and Russia, Hu has applied the idea to many big powers that he has visited, he said.
So far during Hu's presidency, China has been considering setting up strategic partnerships with the EU, Brazil, ASEAN, India, Canada, France, Britain, Thailand, Spain, Indonesia, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Venezuela in order to to deepen bilateral relations; especially in economic and business matters.
Chen Yu-june (陳毓鈞), a professor of the Graduate Institute of American studies at the Chinese Culture University, thinks Hu's strategic partnerships with the big powers are inevitable due to those countries wishing to obtain access to China's lucrative market.
"Hu is happy to forge closer ties with those countries as it gives a clear indication to the US that China has the strength to associate with powerful countries and thus the US has to pay respect to China, especially regarding issues such as Taiwan," Chen said.
Yang said the attraction of China's huge market has been used by Hu's regime as a means to repress internal democratic development and as a "bargaining chip" for Hu to lessen the pressure for political reform and human-rights development.
Yang added the widely-believed doctrine that the opening up of China's economy will push the authorities to give way on democracy may prove to be unfounded as Hu has actively established control mechanisms for restricting the circulation of information.
This year, under Hu's instructions, China has enacted four new regulations on media supervision, among which the regulations on Internet control aroused the greatest concern, he said.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease