Archive for July 18th, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tourism: Carrots and Sticks

Apparently as a reaction to the Dalai Lama‘s visit to Kaohsiung, Beijing told Chinese tour groups to call off planned trips to the southern Taiwanese city in September 2009. The China Times quoted unnamed tourism operators as saying the Dalai Lama’s visit to Kaohsiung was the main reason for the cancellations, causing an estimated six million Taiwan dollars (185,000 US dollars) in lost revenue. Beijing also voiced concerns over Kaohsiung film festival’s plan to show “Ten Conditions of Love” on Kadeer.

Beijing makes regular use of an agreement of 2008 that allows Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan as travelling groups, to put economic pressure on Taiwanese activities it dislikes.

Apparently in the wake of a visit by Rebiya Kadeer‘s daughter to Taiwan this week, Xinmin Net (Shanghai) carries a story about Frank Lin Fu-nan (林富男), a man with functions, among others, as the Kaohsiung Tourism Association’s Honorary President, leader of an alliance of tourism-related businesses in the Kaohsiung and Pingtung areas, and as an advisor with the KMT Central Headquarters (中國國民黨中央黨部).

Travel groups of the mainland’s second-largest company of everyday-use articles (5,200 employees) visited Taiwan from July 14 to 18, with the potential of creating 300,000,000 New Taiwan dollars’ trade opportunities, but Kaohsiung got no share in this “big piece of cake”. Lin Funan of the Gaoxiong-Pinggu Tourism Association said in an interview that this was an “alarming message” (“警讯”) to Gaoxiong’s tourism industry, and a blow, too.

One batch of the travellers will stay for seven, another for nine days. The tour of seven days includes Yehliu, the Taipei 101 Building, the Shihlin and Feng Jia night markets, Hsitou, the Sun-Moon Lake and other tourist destinations, and the nine-days tour adds Kenting, Hengchun, Cape Eluanbi and other southern Taiwanese travel routes.

The first travel group entered from Kaohsiung Siaogang Airport on July 14 without staying in the city, and immediately entered the travel coach to Kenting (Pingdung County, 屏东垦丁) to stay there for two nights, then transferred to Taizhong, leaving out the two important southern cities of Gaoxiong and Tainan.

Gaoxiong-Pinggu Tourism Association’s Lin Funan believes that although a portion of mainland tourists has actually started coming back to Gaoxiong now, the fact that such a big travel group goes to the lengths of staying two nights in Kenting but doesn’t even arrange for a one-night stay in Gaoxiong shows that the prejudice among them that the atmosphere is shrowded with the “Rebiya” and “Dalai Lama” events is still not completely gone.

Lin Fulin says that usually, Gaoxiong hotels are cheaper than Kenting hotels, and with the summer holidays now, the Kending prices are higher than Gaoxiong’s, and hotel rooms harder to book than in Gaoxiong. By experience, one could say that mainland tourists stayed in Kenting for one, and in Gaoxiong for another night, and opportunities for staying in Kending for two nights weren’t great. That another mainland travel group had left Gaoxiong out was an alarming message for Gaoxiong.

He said that Kaohsiung’s city government should strengthen the promotion of Kaohsiung, and secondly, there wasn’t sufficient investment in in touristical scenic spots. Besides, he suggests that mainland tourists should be encouraged with package measures and premium programs.

I’m not sure if I got all the numbers right – the number of Chinese tourists who can travel to Taiwan at the same time is limited to some extent (but regulations are continuously being liberalized). Lin Fu-nan didn’t let the Chinese boycotts of Kaohsiung corrupt him, but if Beijing controls the travel routes of Chinese tourists in accordance with its political agenda, his suggestions for additional measures to make Kaohsiung more attractive in terms of tourism – for Chinese tourists in particular – seem to make little sense.

If Kaohsiung has the potential for more tourism – and there are voices which suggest that -, it may be a good idea to invest further in the city’s attractiveness – but for tourism in general. Incentives for Chinese tourists will only make sense once Beijing drops its – direct or propagandistic – “political guidance”.

Besides, if other cities in Taiwan get rewards from China for being opportunistic, Kaohsiung could cultivate its role as a city of free speech, and politically uninhibited cultural events. There wouldn’t even be a need to discuss the “timing” of such events.

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Related:
Spying Suspect released one day after arrest, Taipei Times, July 18, 2010
ECFA: China’s Primacy of Politics, July 3, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rebiya Kadeer: Taiwan is a Free Country

Rebiya Kadeer has been on a three-year blacklist in Taiwan for some time, as Guts United Taiwan (GUT), an organization which blends the promotion of movies, music, and political goals, reportedly found out last week after inviting the exiled Uyghur leader to attend screenings of the Ten Conditions of Love (愛的十個條件) documentary.

Rebiya Kadeer

KMT: Beware of the Muzzymonster

Kadeer’s daughter, Raela Tosh, is currently in Taipei. On Sunday, she told a news conference that her mother, who was barred from visiting Taiwan for three years last year, believes she will be allowed to visit Taiwan some day because it is a free country. Tosh said that she wanted to help Taiwanese people understand that the seemingly peaceful scenes seen in Xinjiang were false.

AFP writes that a decision by the Taiwanese ministry of the interior (MOI) to deny Rebiya Kadeer entry was made in September last year.

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Related
Richard McGregor “perversely flattered”, The Australian, July 19, 2010
Ma Zhaoxu: Very Thought-Provoking Question, Nov 2, 2009
Vitaly A. Rubin (1976): Thoughts do not Die, Nov 29, 2008

Sunday, July 18, 2010

China’s Neighborhood, July 2010

1. Typical Cold-War Thinking

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang‘s (秦刚) Regular Press Conference on July 15, 2010

Q: The ROK and the US are planing to hold joint military exercises both in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, with the US aircraft carrier participating in the drill to be held in the Sea of Japan. How do you comment? Second, US government officials said that US aircraft carrier George Washington took part in the military exercise in the Yellow Sea last October, which did not draw open objections from China. What is the difference between the situations now and then?

A: On the two questions, our position is consistent and clear. We firmly oppose any foreign military vessel or plane conducting activities in the Yellow Sea and China’s coastal areas undermining China’s security interests. Under the current circumstances, we hope relevant parties exercise calmness and restraint and refrain from activities that would escalate tension in the region.

问:韩国和美国打算在黄海和日本海同时进行联合军事演习,特别是美航母将参加在日本海的军演,中方对此有何评论?第二,美国政府官员表示,美“乔 治·华盛顿号”航母去年10月份曾参加过在黄海举行的军演,当时中国并没有公开反对,去年10月份的情况跟现在有什么差别?

答:对于你提到的这两个问题,我们的立场是一贯的、明确的。我们坚决反对任何外国军用舰机在黄海以及其它中国近海从事影响中国安全利益的活动。我们 也希望在当前形势下,有关各方保持冷静和克制,不做加剧地区局势紧张的事情。

[…]

Q: If the US and the ROK forge ahead with the exercise in July, will China and the DPRK hold exercises in the western coast of the Korean Peninsula  in response?

A: I wonder whether this question represent your own opinion or some media’s view which I have already read. This is a typical Cold-War thinking, dividing Northeast Asia and Asia-Pacific into different military blocs and viewing regional security from a confrontational even antagonistic perspective. Now, the situation has changed so much that no single country or military bloc can resolve regional security issues alone which ask for joint efforts of regional countries. Countries should enhance mutual-trust and strengthen cooperation through dialogue and negotiation so as to jointly safeguard peace and stability of the region.

问:如果韩国和美国在7月举行军演,中国和朝鲜是否计划在朝鲜半岛西部海域也举行军演?

答:我不知道这个问题反映的是你自己的观点还是一些人或一些媒体的观点,我确实也看到这种观点见诸报端。这是一种典型的“冷战”思维,把东北亚地 区、亚太地区分割成不同的军事同盟,用冷战那种对立、对抗的眼光看待本地区安全。现在时代已经变化、发展了,没有任何一个国家或军事同盟能够单独解决地区 安全问题,这需要本地区各国共同努力,通过对话、谈判增进互信,加强合作,共同维护地区的和平与稳定。

English: http://www.mfa.gov.cn/eng/xwfw/s2510/t717494.htm
Chinese: http://www.mfa.gov.cn/chn/pds/wjdt/fyrbt/t717282.htm

2. India’s Total Collapse

China entered Pakistan’s nuclear market with a civilian nuclear co-operation agreement in June, to build two reactors there, in addition to two existing civilian ones and one for military use. Pakistan would like a similar deal with the US, according to reports quoted by the BBC, but continued fears over its proliferation record remain a major stumbling block. Harsh V. Pant, researcher at King’s College London, concludes that China is trying its best to maintain nuclear parity between India and Pakistan. Harsh provides his tally of Chinese arms supplies to Pakistan, and points out that

In the last two decades, the two states have been actively involved in a range of joint ventures including JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, K-8 Karakorum advance training aircraft, and Babur cruise missile, the dimensions of which exactly replicate the Hong Niao Chinese cruise missile. The JF-17 venture is particularly significant given its utility in delivering nuclear weapons. In a major move for China’s indigenous defence industry, China is also supplying its most advanced home-made combat aircraft, the third-generation J-10 fighter jets to Pakistan, in a deal worth around $6 billion. Beijing is helping Pakistan build and launch satellites for remote sensing and communication even as Pakistan is reportedly already hosting a Chinese space communication facility at Karachi.

Harsh suggests that

[t]he Pakistani nuclear weapons programme is essentially an extension of the Chinese one. Despite being a member of the NPT, China has supplied Pakistan with nuclear materials and expertise and has provided critical assistance in the construction of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.

All that, plus Chinese guarantees for Pakistan’s security, thus preventing India’s dominance of South Asia by strengthening Pakistan. As India was rising in the global hierarchy, and America tried to carve out a strong partnership with India, China’s need for Pakistan was likely to grow further, writes Harsh. Therefore,

Indian policy makers would be well advised to disabuse themselves of the notion of a Sino-Indian rapprochement. China doesn’t do sentimentality in foreign policy, India should follow suit.

Ni Qiuluo (泥鳅罗), a Chinese blogger and military enthusiast, translated Harsh’s article, and delivers his own conclusion in a devastating headline:

India's Total Collapse

India's Total Collapse

India’s Total Collapse: Sino-Pakistani J-10 fighter jet trade volume amounts to six billion US dollars (印度彻底崩溃:中巴歼10的交易总额达60 亿美元).

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Related
Make America Collapse, Febr 14, 2010

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