February 2018

Toilet Paper Panic Humorous, But Points To Low Wages And Dominance Of Market By Conglomerates

Alarm in the past week regarding planned hikes in toilet paper prices in Taiwan has been bizarre, leading to a consumer panic in which entire stores have been sold out of toilet paper. But while humorous, the panic points to structural issues regarding dominance of the market by large conglomerates and the low salaries paid to Taiwanese workers which would lead them to panic about price increases... Read More

Dangerous Times Ahead, As Xi Seeks To Consolidate Power Towards Lifetime Rule

The recent proposal by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party to remove term limits on the presidency of China from the current limit of two five-year terms has been read correctly as Xi Jinping making moves towards lifetime rule. With Xi emerging as the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping after he took power in 2013, it has been speculated in recent years whether Xi would move to remove these lifetime limits as he approached the end of his term... Read More

Due To Chinese State Pressure, Increasing ‘Separate But Not Equal’ Treatment Of Chinese Intellectuals Internationally

China often likes to point to unequal treatment of Chinese globally as a means of building global soft power, particularly when this occurs in western countries. Yet precisely due to Chinese state pressure, Chinese intellectuals are increasingly being treated as "separate but not equal" internationally... Read More

Concern About Chinese Influence On Rise Globally, But Lack Of Conceptual Vocabulary Among Western Nations

Concern with Chinese spying efforts or otherwise undue influence is on the rise globally, as can be observed in a number of recent incidents. But due to the fact that “western” and “non-western” countries are often thought of in separate mental frames, one has seen few connections made between such incidents in international media. Notably, countries with a history of colonization have been more quick to make the accusation that China is a "neo-colonial" power, while western countries without such histories seem to lack a conceptual vocabulary to describe Chinese influence... Read More

Hualien Disaster Relief Demands Long-Term Solutions, Rather Simply Urging For Renewed Tourism

Comments by Premier William Lai urging renewed tourism to Hualien, which was struck by 6.4-magnitude earthquake that killed 16 and injured hundreds on February 6th, illustrate the Tsai administration’s lack of creative solutions to address long-standing issues facing areas of Taiwan frequently struck by earthquakes. This would be a failure to think in the long-term by the Tsai administration... Read More

Rumors Of Base Construction In Pakistan Likely Indicate Global Base-Building Ambitions By China

With reports that China may seek to acquire a military base in Pakistan, with hopes to build naval and air facilities in Jiwani, this would be the second of China’s overseas military bases. This first of China’s overseas military bases was built in Djibouti, as acquired originally in December 2015, and likely points to ambitions by China to build a global network of military bases not unlike America's global network of bases... Read More

Olympics Reactions Point To Trump Administration’s Refusal To Back Away From Brinkmanship

While it should not be surprising that while both North Korea and South Korea hope to avoid a war which would be costly for both sides, members of the Trump administration initially remained more interested in brinkmanship and making threats against perceived threats. This has been visible in the Pyeongchang Olympics... Read More