Daily Bloom, 7.9.14

Welcome to the Daily Bloom! The Daily Bloom will be a daily shortform blog with updates on the day’s political going-ons. If something particularly exciting happening in Taiwan, we will be providing live updates on our Facebook page and Twitter account. At the end of the day, we will compile the live updates to provide a chronological timeline of the day’s events. If not, we will simply report on what happened that day, or what might be of note that happened. If you have news tips about what would be interesting to cover, send to [email protected]!

July 9, 2014

Taiwan listed as second safest country in the world by American website lifestyle9.com, supposedly according to statistics by the FBI. The ranking was hailed by an Executive Yuan spokesman Sun Lih-qun in public comments as encouraging to government efforts at maintaining public safety. Japan was ranked first, followed by Taiwan, Hong Kong (of course, not actually a “country” but a “Specially Autonomous Region”), South Korea, the UAE, Malta, Luxembourg, Georgia, Bahrain, and Singapore. Yet it remains unknown as to why an Executive Yuan spokesman would cite an almost entirely unknown American website with shoddy citations for its rankings and your discriminating political commentator might point out the lingering history of authoritarianism in many of the countries cited. Of course, one can point to this as an example of the sheer desperation of the Executive Yuan scrambling around for soft power and also to that, notably, of the East Asian countries, China was not on the list.

Former premier of the ROC and four-star general in the ROC army Hau Pei-tsun comes under fire for singing the PRC national anthem, “March of the Volunteers,” during an interview on Chinese state-run television network Chinese Central Television. Hau, born 1919, sang the anthem when asked if he remembered it from its origins in the Sino-Japanese War. Nevertheless, as remarked by DPP legislator, Chen Chi-mai, singing the PRC national anthem was punishable by death in Taiwan during the Martial Law period. Although, to be fair, Hau is well over 90 years old, one can only speculate as to what Hau’s intentions were in singing it. Hau is father of current mayor of Taipei and vice-chairman of the KMT, Hau Ling-pin.

Academica Sinica researcher Chen Lan-bo claims that the Sunflower movement was beneficial to the Taiwanese biotech industry because the CSSTA trade bill would have produced detrimental to the Taiwanese biotech industry, also pointing to high investment during the height of the movement and the raising of the GDP growth forecast during the movement. Perhaps, but it might also be pointed out that behind the Sunflower movement lurked the question of what Taiwan’s economic relations to China would be in the future in an future era perhaps defined by Chinese economic power—this was something freely remarked upon during the movement by student protestors themselves, who often during demonstration speeches pointed to their own lack of economic expertise but their ability to ascertain that the CSSTA trade bill would not be beneficial to Taiwan’s future. Indeed, it was certainly not as though there were a corps of student economists behind the actions of the Legislative Yuan occupiers, but these broader questions of Taiwan’s role in the international socioeconomic, geopolitical sphere remain to be worked out.