The charming and quick-witted author and lawyer Gordon Chang (章家敦) will give a speech — China’s Faltering Economy, Historic Leadership Transition and New Strategic Arc — on Sunday at Taipei’s Ting Ting Tsuei Yu (婷婷翠玉), a restaurant near Da-an District’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel.
Space for the talk is limited, and it is advisable to contact organizer Jerome Keating, email@example.com, for a seat.
Chang, an outspoken critic of China and regular contributor to Forbes and the World Affairs Journal and the author of The Coming Collapse of China, was particularly vocal throughout the Sunflower movement’s occupation of the legislature and Hong Kong’s democracy protests. He continues to maintain his long-held view that China’s economy is on the brink of collapse, something which he is not afraid to express in lectures around the world and on news channels like CNN, Fox News and the BBC.
Photo courtesy of Gordon Chang
‘SMALL TAIWAN,’ BIG IMPACT
In a Forbes article published earlier this month, Chang discussed how Chinese tourists were visiting Japan to purchase higher quality home products such as toilet seats. They were even clearing the shelves of products that were made in China, trusting that Japanese buyers were more inclined to choose top-of-the-range merchandise, Chang argued.
Japan may be the playground for China’s wealthy, but Taiwan has something more valuable to offer. As Chang tells the Taipei Times, they are visiting Taiwan for less tangible reasons.
“They come for food, scenery and those things they can find only in a free society, like lively commentary on television and books of all varieties,” Chang says.
“The citizens of the world’s largest autocracy love freedom, and they find it everywhere in small Taiwan,” he adds.
Taiwan may lack the “gargantuan architecture” China has, but the vibrancy found on the streets, Chang says, “is what’s missing in the grandiose People’s Republic.”
Taiwan, he says, has been influencing China for decades by way of soft power and culture. Taiwanese elections in particular, have given the Chinese — especially those who are politically aware — some sense that they too, can self-govern.
Chang says that it’s important to draw a distinction between ordinary Chinese citizens and the Communist Party. Although he believes that Taiwanese and Chinese harbor few misconceptions towards each other — something which others may beg to differ especially when seeing Chinese tourists crowd the Taipei 101 or the National Palace Museum — it’s a different story when it comes to China’s government.
AN ELECTION THAT SHOCKED
Beijing was shocked with the results of last year’s nine-in-one elections, Chang says.
“It was inconceivable that Taiwan’s people, whom they wrongly consider to be ‘Chinese,’ could ever vote against economic integration with the People’s Republic,” Chang says.
“It doesn’t matter how many fact-finding missions Beijing’s officials make to Taiwan — they just don’t get it,” he says.
While Taiwan may have the capacity to change the minds of Chinese citizens, it’s unlikely that Taipei will be able to affect any meaningful change in the upper echelons in Beijing.
However, China may have bigger domestic problems to worry about. Chang says China’s economy is headed for a “historic crisis” since debt is accumulating faster than it is growing.
President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chang says, is undoing reforms from previous decades and “recreating Maoist-inspired monopolies by combining already mammoth state enterprises.”
Chang maintains that if China is to avoid an economic crash, it has to grow faster and reform. The problem, he says, is that “further reform would threaten the Communist Party’s hold on power, so it will not sponsor change of that sort.”
Chang adds that “the Chinese economy has gone just about as far as it can within the confines of the Communist Party’s framework.”
What: Gordon Chang: China’s Faltering Economy, Historic Leadership Transition and New Strategic Arc
When: Sunday at 10am
Where: Ting Ting Tsuei Yu (婷婷翠玉), 174, Anhe Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市安和路二段174號)
Admission: Seating for the talk is limited. Contact Jerome Keating at firstname.lastname@example.org. A breakfast, average meal is NT$100 to NT$150
Sept. 28 to Oct . 4 A large number of 3000-year-old slate coffins were unearthed on a hill near Nanhe Village (南和村) in Pingtung County on Sept. 30, 1985. Unfortunately, the United Daily News (聯合報) noted that they had been seriously damaged by construction, and no artifacts or human remains were found. Although the newspaper called the find a “significant discovery,” little information can be gleaned about this specific site because it’s just one of countless locations where stone sarcophagi have been unearthed across southern and eastern Taiwan, and as north as Yilan County. These stone receptacles for the dead were
Until this summer, when the idea of hiking the length of the island first occurred to me, I didn’t even know that Cijin (旗津) had been a peninsula until 1967. That’s when diggers and dredgers severed Cijin from Taiwan’s “mainland,” because the authorities wished to create a southern entrance to Kaohsiung’s fast expanding port. The island is just under 9km long, but a bit of research quickly convinced me that a south-to-north trek wasn’t a good idea. The southern third of Cijin is dominated by container-lifting cranes, warehouses and other facilities off-limits to the public. Dunhe Street (敦和街) forms the boundary between
Sitting at the bar, martini in hand, Kristin Scott Thomas rolls her eyes briefly heavenwards. And then she declares, in one of the most memorable monologues of the cult BBC drama Fleabag, that menopause is the “most wonderful fucking thing in the world. And yes, your entire pelvic floor crumbles and you get fucking hot and no one cares. But then — you’re free! No longer a slave, no longer a machine with parts. You’re just a person, in business.” When an entranced Fleabag says she has been told the whole thing is horrendous, Scott Thomas’s character responds: “It is horrendous,
As if the climbs and views and snacks and companions of cycling in Taiwan aren’t sufficient, the GPS-generation of route-planners are now using apps such as Strava and Endomondo to create works of art as they ride. One such is nicknamed the Dove Road of Sijhih (汐鴿路), a 25km ride that follows the riverside bike path from the Nangang-Neihu Bridge (南湖橋) to New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止), climbs around 400m up the Sijhih-Shiding Road (汐碇路), before dropping back down past Academia Sinica to generate a very dove-like pattern. Originally called Kippanas by indigenous Ketagalan people and transliterated into Hoklo (more commonly