Editorial: Avoiding the lure of China
Recent media reports have speculated that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will soon announce a plan to allow Taiwanese businesses operating in China to be listed on the stock market. Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) denied the reports on Tuesday, saying that the matter involves a vast range of issues. The government, he said, is still studying the proposal and no final decision has been made.
\nThe KMT was the first one to weigh in on the issue, saying that allowing Taiwanese businesses in China to be listed here was already part of the party's economic and trade policies and the platform of the KMT-PFP alliance. The KMT ridiculed the DPP's ambivalence about cross-strait economic and trade policy and compared it to what KMT said was its early formulation of policy guidelines that will provide direct fundraising channels for Taiwanese businesses in China, including stock market listings and Taiwan depository receipts.
\nThe KMT is once again living up to its name: the Kuomingtang of China. "China" was taken out of its English name in order to show that the party has been localized, but the KMT still blows bubbles for China. Ever since losing power, the KMT has ganged up with the pro-unification propaganda machine and hyped China's markets relentlessly, as if China is a panacea for all of Taiwan's woes. This has been done to achieve its goal of using business to pressure the government and using China to pressure Taiwan.
\nAs for the nation's diplomatic predicament, the KMT advocates acceptance of Beijing's "one China" principle -- as if China will give up its attempts to isolate Taiwan diplomatically once Taipei accepts the principle, as if Taiwanese would be able to sleep easily from then on and other countries would spontaneously establish diplomatic relations with Taipei. The KMT advocates marching west into China, including direct links. Now they want Taiwanese businesses based in China to get listed in Taiwan. They are not only encouraging capitalists to move money to China, but also want to allow them to scrape away the money of small-time pop-and-mom investors and take it to China.
\nOnce the KMT wanted to re-conquer China. Now it wants to use Taiwan's power to make China strong. Of course, the party leaders will not admit it, so they hype up China's political and economic power.
\nThe pro-unification forces represented by the KMT have always attacked the DPP for its suspicions about China, saying they are driven by ideology. But the pro-unification camp's superstitious obsession with China's power is so far above ideology that it has become a fanatical religion.
\nEven under the transparent political and economic environments of Taiwan and Western countries, the financial structures of listed companies are not easy to monitor. Major shareholders of listed companies frequently hype information and exploit investors. Given China's opaque environment, the situation is much worse. Taiwan's authorities cannot reach the Taiwanese businesses operating in China. Beijing will not allow Taipei to monitor them. Under these circumstances, the lack of transparency in China will only encourage unscrupulous businesspeople and pro-unification forces to join hands to manipulate the market.
\nIf even the DPP thinks the China fever is a vote winner, then why should the electorate cast their votes for a party that changes its position for the sake of elections instead of voting for the KMT, which has never lost its love for China.
\nThe government should not get caught up in the myth of China's great market and economic opportunities. It should have confidence in the rational forces of its people. After all, not everyone in Taiwan is a businessperson and not everyone believes in China's power. The government must stand firm and show confidence in formulating policies for Taiwan's political and economic lifelines.
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