Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

How do you explain why the Taiwanese (or Taishang aka Taiwanese businessmen) continue to invest in China- their enemy number one with 700 balistic missiles aimed at them?

Here are some thoughts on this complex question today. First read the excerpt from article about President Chen Shui-bian's recent praise of the Taishang:

'Taishang' reflect Taiwan's power, president declares
Excerpt from: Central News Agency (Taiwan)
April 23, 2005

Taiwan businessmen operating in China and elsewhere around the world-- better known as "taishang"-- represent an extension of the power of Taiwan, President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday.

Taishang's growth and expansion overseas, including China, also mark the accumulation of Taiwan's economic and trade strenghth, according to Chen.

And now my thoughts on this:

More Reasons for President Chen Shui-bian to Praise “Taishang”

On April 22, at a groundbreaking ceremony for the development of a Tainan LCD television and optoelectronic industrial park, President Chen Shui-bian referred to Taishang (or Taiwanese businessmen) as “an extension of the power of Taiwan.” And it’s not hard to see why he’s said that because there’s certainly an abundance of reasons to assign such importance to Taishang. After all, although Taishang make up only a small percentage of the population of Taiwan, they are indeed quite powerful. They have money to contribute to political parties, and to lobby elected representatives to speak on their behalf- in favor of loosening restrictions on investing in China.

They have actively pressured the government to hasten the establishment of three direct links with China, which is a decision not to be taken lightly. As a result, earlier this year the “three small links” of direct trade and transport links between the Kinmen and Xiamen City were established for Taiwanese businessmen based in Fujian.

The effects of the “China fever” that has caught on are palpable. In 2004, Taiwan’s investment in China accounted for 86% of Taiwan’s total foreign investment, and Taiwan’s accumulated investment in China exceeded US$200 billion, which accounts for 65% of Taiwan’s 2004 GNP.

The Taishang are the ones responsible for the mass exodus of jobs and factories that moved to China and the capital that has flowed out of Taiwan and into China. Taiwan-based companies get “special” treatment in China. Unlike foreign owned companies, any revenues made by Taiwan-based companies are not allowed to leave China, so their revenues don’t get reinvested in Taiwan. Furthermore, Taishang pay taxes to the Chinese government, not to Taiwan; they help China create jobs and develop its economy. In return, Taiwan gets heavy bad debt left behind by some Taishang, lack of domestic investment in Taiwan, a sluggish stock market and high unemployment. It may be true that some Taishang have made money in China, but it has been at the expense of the interest and security of 23 million Taiwanese people. Is this what President Chen is referring to when he declares that the Taishang have contributed to the accumulation of Taiwan’s economic and trade strength?

At the mercy of the People’s Republic of China’s bullying, the Taishang have succumb by distancing themselves from the ruling party, and from expressing support of Taiwan in any way shape or form. The Taishang have long ago sold themselves off to China when they decided to do business there, implicitly agreeing to play by China’s rules. Is this the extent of Taiwan’s power?


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