Oct 14

It has not been a good year for China. From the google censorship issue, Cheonan, Iran, Taiwan issue, Yuan appreciation/export issue, ASEAN, Diaoyu Islands, Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel prize winner, China’s foreign minister is working overtime to convey the message of the Chinese government but may not be getting its message out in a positive way. In this electronic global Media era, getting your message correctly is the key and use all forms tools of channels, whether it is economic, media, or trade is the key. Getting mad at other countries and making outrageous commendations and cutting off ties is not the way to go. Here’s how I rate China’s diplomatic issues so far this year.
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Jul 06

Once per year, Freedom House releases its annual report covering the levels of freedom throughout the world. I’ve included their reports for China, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. They issue two scores, one for Political Rights and one for Civil Liberties, along with a Freedom Status. The lower the number, the higher the rating.

China (2010)

Capital: Beijing

Population: 1,331,398,000

Political Rights Score: 7
Civil Liberties Score: 6
Status: Not Free

Explanatory Note

The numerical ratings and status listed above do not reflect conditions in Hong Kong or Tibet, which are examined in separate reports.
Jun 26

The ECFA – where next for China and Taiwan?

Written by: Raj | Filed under:economy, General, Opinion, politics | Tags:, , ,
94 Comments » newest 2011-02-07 00:32:51

The ECFA trade agreement between China and Taiwan looks like it will be signed in the near future.

It is hard at this point to be sure of who will benefit the most from it economically. There are concerns in Taiwan that there will be a net loss of jobs as a result of the agreement. Whilst Taiwan will be able to ship goods to China with fewer trade barriers, this does not mean that increased trade will employ more Taiwanese than lose their jobs due to an increase in Chinese imports. After all, some Taiwanese bosses may just pocket increased profit, though others will see increased demand and need to employ more workers. It will be easier to consider the impact of the agreement after it has been in place for a year or two.

But now that the ECFA has been agreed upon, where do Sino-Taiwanese relations go from here? The Wall Street Journal has a suggestion.

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Apr 22

Mainland Chinese students can’t attend Universities in Taiwan?

Written by: guest | Filed under:-guest-posts | Tags:, ,
1 Comment » newest 2011-02-07 00:34:51


Taiwanese Students studying in China is hardly a controversy, so much so that China doesn’t consider them as well as Hong Kong Students as “foreign.” So as a goodwill gesture between KMT and Beijing to allow Students from the Mainland to go to China, it has been met with some opposition from the DPP. Considering that there is such a shortage of students in Taiwan that they are considering to shut down some universities and this will help with Taiwan’s economy, this move by the DPP is like shooting themselves in the foot.

Apr 12

Taiwanese Pop Music

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General, music, video | Tags:, , , , ,
58 Comments » newest 2013-07-18 14:57:28

In the past, I’ve written posts about indie music in China, Taiwan and other Asian countries but I haven’t spent much time on pop music since it isn’t really my thing. But I feel it is time to include what is most popular in these countries and I’ll start off with Taiwan. What inspired me to do this? Well, I recently discovered that my brother-in-law’s wife’s cousin (Wen Shang Yi 溫尚翊 also known as Monster) is the lead guitarist and leader of a band called Mayday 五月天 that is quite popular in Taiwan. So as a loyal brother-in-law, I needed an excuse to feature them!

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Apr 09

minipost-Taiwan’s Version of Whitney Houston

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, media, music, video | Tags:, , , ,
20 Comments » newest 2010-04-25 04:43:58

Lin Yu Chun is a contestant on Taiwan’s version of American Idol called Super Star Avenue. He’s quite young, a bit chubby with a bowl haircut, not the most likely candidate for stardom. But he does a dead on impersonation of Whitney Houston and has gone viral on You Tube with over 2 million…  5 million hits.

Feb 08

As the Chinese New Year approaches, I think I should write some lighter posts.  So here is something funny I stumbled across on WSJ’s China Realtime Report: Continue reading »

Jan 31

China-US relations at all time low?

Written by: guest | Filed under:-guest-posts | Tags:, , , ,
142 Comments » newest 2013-05-06 11:13:29

About 5 months ago, Jon huntsman was interviewed by Wall Street Journal and seems positive to bring China-US relations to the ‘next level’ as mentioned in my piece here.


January was a bad month between China-US relations. First there was the google incident. Then the US announced the $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan. Now China wants the beloved panda Tai-Shan back (I’m kidding about the Tai-Shan part.) Though the arms sales seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you go to Chinadaily’s website, there is no less than 10 articles and opinions about this spat.


It is strange that most European countries seems to be non-involved in this issue between the 2 countries, but I can safely say that Huntsman career as a diplomat in China is largely a waste.

Jan 07

minipost-Public Opinion in Taiwan

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, General, Opinion, politics | Tags:, , ,
46 Comments » newest 2011-02-07 00:45:51

I recently came across an opinion poll from the Global View Survey Research Center concerning present public opinion in Taiwan on a range of subjects. In the past, many of us have commented on the state of affairs in Taiwan, not only in terms of her relationship to China but also involving the political thought within the nation. Rather than draw any conclusions, I thought I’d make this same data available to our blog members and see what you think.

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Nov 09

The Ambassador of Taiwan His Excellency Mr. Wenchyi Ong said that beside its unifying force a good film can easily strike a chord in the viewer. He was formally inaugurating the festival of films from Taiwan at Asian Academy of Film & Television. Family value, respect for the elderly, belief in democracy and diversity, working as a team and attaching importance to spiritual life are the dominant commonalities between the people of Taiwan and India he added. In his introductory remarks Prof. Sandeep Marwah said that watching films from Taiwan would indeed be a refreshing experience for the students. The Ambassador disclosed that he has invited the well known Taiwanese Director Ang Lee to make his next film in India and hoped that collaboration with Indian film producers will lead to making great films to tell the world remarkable stories of both India and Taiwan. The Ambassador of Taiwan accepted the life membership of International Film & Television Club on this occasion. Later he spoke to Noida people through Radio Noida 107.4 FM.

Oct 05

Mind as well dress all these musicians in panda costumes. :)

Sep 13

Ma’s ECFA – a win-win policy or selling out local business?

Written by: Raj | Filed under:General | Tags:, ,
8 Comments » newest 2009-09-16 17:05:11

Given the recent post on the verdict in former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-Bian’s case, I thought another topic on Taiwan would be a good idea. The proposed China-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement is a key piece of legislation for Taiwan’s future and therefore worthy of discussion.

A question I’ve increasingly asked myself is whether this is a win-win agreement for Taiwan as the KMT and other Pan-Blues would have it, or actually win-win for a handful of big companies and lose-lose for smaller, local businesses. AFP have an article on the ECFA and its potential impact on this part of Taiwanese industry. Continue reading »

Sep 12

In the continuing saga that is Chen Shui Bian’s colorful life, a trial court in Taipei sentenced Chen to life in prison yesterday as the first phase of his dramatic corruption and embezzlement trial came to an end. Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-chen, received a life sentence on corruption charges. Their son and daughter-in-law, convicted of money laundering, received relatively lenient 2 1/2 – and one-year terms. Continue reading »

Aug 28

Dalai Lama is set to visit Taiwan next week. The Dalai Lama has been invited a group of local DPP officials representing several southern counties – where DPP support is especially strong.

The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan twice, once in 1997 and 2001. However, soon after Ma took office on a platform promising to amend ties with the Mainland, a request for the Dalai Lama to visit was turned down by Ma, citing the timing as not proper. A Dalai Lama visit then could have derailed Ma’s plan for closer ties with the Mainland – and still has the potential to do so the same. Continue reading »

Aug 20

President Hu recently met with a delegation of ethnic minorities from Taiwan, and pledged further support from the mainland for whatever help Taiwan may need.  Ethnic minorities in southern Taiwan, living often in remote villages, were the hardest hit group in Taiwan by the recent typhoon. Here is a translation of a story on the People’s Web by China News Wrap:

Hu meets delegation of ethnic minorities from Taiwan

Hu meets delegation of ethnic minorities from Taiwan

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Aug 20

Typhoon Morakot – A More Objective Report

Written by: Allen | Filed under:General | Tags:, , , , ,
26 Comments » newest 2010-02-10 10:14:42

I have been critical of a previous post by Steve, which (from my perspective) seemed sympathetic to those who may be jockeying for political gain on the back of people’s misery in the wake of the recent Morakot tragedy in Taiwan. I don’t have time to translate all the reports I read or see on T.V., but here is an article by Cindy Cui that offers a more balanced perspective regarding both situation on the ground and current political fallout (Cindy has written many DPP leaning articles in the past, by the way).  I am quoting her article published today in Asia Times in full: Continue reading »

Aug 17

From August 6-9, southern Taiwan was hit with the worst typhoon in 50 years. Per the Associated Press story:

“Morakot dumped more than 80 inches (two meters) of rain on the island last weekend and stranded thousands in villages in the mountainous south. A total of 15,400 villagers have been ferried to safety, and rescuers are working to save another 1,900 people. The storm destroyed the homes of 7,000 people and caused agricultural and property damage in excess of 50 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.5 billion), Ma told the security conference.”

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Aug 13

Cross Cultural Dating

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, education, General, language | Tags:, , ,
165 Comments » newest 2013-08-18 11:00:11

17m Now that many non-Chinese have moved to China and many native Chinese live throughout the world, cross cultural dating has become far more common. For someone leaving mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and moving to a western country, what are some of the cultural pitfalls and traps you need to avoid and adjustments you need to make? For someone moving to any of those four areas, the same questions apply. Are the “rules” different for Chinese women dating outside their culture as compared to Chinese men doing the same?

My direct experience isn’t too pertinent since I met my wife in Phoenix and she had already been living in the States for nine years, but there were still many adjustments we (mostly I) had to make. She was the first Asian woman I had ever dated so I didn’t fall into the “yellow fever” category. However, when I was living in mainland China and Taiwan, I had a chance to observe, ask questions and learn more from others involved in cross cultural relationships.

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Jul 15

This is the full session between Niall Ferguson and James Fallows at the recently held Aspen Ideas Festival. Allen had posted excepts and we promised you the complete discussion as soon as it became available. Niall Ferguson had coined the term “Chimerica” to describe the symbiotic relationship between the economies of China and the United States. He currently sees this relationship as being in jeopardy, while James Fallows feels the relationship is far stronger the most realize. This video is slightly over 75 minutes.

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May 06

minipost-Taiwan and the WHO

Written by: Allen | Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, General, News, politics | Tags:, , ,
140 Comments » newest 2013-07-18 08:38:28

The last time Taiwan tried to apply for observer status in the WHO, China slammed it down.  When the SARS crisis arose and China offered Taiwan help, Taiwan denied and declined.

That was 2003, when President Chen of the DPP still governed Taiwan.

Fast forward now six years – how things have changed! Continue reading »

Feb 17

When Chiang Kai-Shek retreated with the Nationalists to Taiwan, he brought with him over 600,000 pieces of artefacts removed from Chinese imperial palaces during wartime. These artefacts are now stored at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both China and Taiwan have claimed title to these Chinese imperial treasures.
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