Posts tagged ‘surveys’

Thursday, September 20, 2012

People’s Daily Online on Economic Sanctions against Japan: “Don’t Hurt the Friends, don’t Please the Enemy”

The following is a translation of an article published by People’s Daily Online (人民网) on September 18, 2012.

Links within blockquotes were added during translation.

The article focuses on two levels of sanctions: government-level (with a very cautious attitude) and “non-governmental boycotts” (with an “understanding” attitude).  In terms of business, the article addresses losses that China would incur in terms of technological progress if it took comprehensive “countermeasures” against Japan. Further down, the article suggests that rare-earth sanctions against Japan had basically backfired, in or since 2010.

Rather than expressing an editorial stance of its own, the article quotes a number of academics. The subtitles within the following translation are not part of the original article.

Main Link: 打经济战 中国承受力定比日本强? – People’s Daily Online, September 18, 2012

Economic Sanctions: Not while Japan maintains its Technological Edge

[…] Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei said recently that the so-called “islands purchase” by Japan (Diaoyu Islands) made it hard to avoid negative impacts on Sino-Japanese trade relations.


In Chinese public opinion, voices sympathetic to terrorizing Japan by economic sanctions have emerged, which say with certainty that Japan’s economy was more dependent on China than vice versa. Even if economic and trade confrontation had the killing power of weapons on both sides, China’s ability to bear that was far stronger than Japan’s. However, to “play the economic card needed to be done  cautiously, and the two countries’ abilities to bear this be judged by seeking the truth in the facts, and this issue be dealt with rationally and objectively”. Recently, a scholar with a good knowledge of Sino-Japanese economic and trade issues talked with this People’s Daily Online reporter.


Japan’s economy entered a long-term depression in the 1980s, with exports as the main driving force in economic development. Although European and American markets were the main factors in influencing Japan’s economy, China’s influence was no insignificant factor either.


China is currently Japan’s biggest trading partner and its biggest export market. According to Japan’s Ministry of Finance statistics, Japan’s trade with and its exports to China stand at 19.7 percent and 20.6 percent respectively, in its total amount of foreign trade. After the European Union, America, and ASEAN, Japan is China’s fourth-largest trading partner.


Analysts have pointed out that Japan’s economy is more dependent on China than vice versa. Even if economic and trade confrontation had the killing power of weapons on both sides, China’s ability to bear that was far stronger than Japan’s. Once China started economic and trade sanctions against Japan, this could lead to a Japanese economic crisis.


Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the National Japanese Economic Research Institute, told this People’s Daily Online reporter that taking economic countermeasures against Japan’s economy could have a greater than on China in theory. “However, the so-called ability to bear” is no mere matter of numbers.


Feng Zhaokui says that since 2002, in Sino-Japanese trade, China has always recorded a trade deficit, mainly because much of the trade was in the field of production. The levels of bilateral import and export differed, and the weight of technological content differed. In the industry chain, Japan stood at the high end, and China mainly imported key core technological components from Japan, with high technological content, much added value, and if these imports were affected, the industrial chain would see disrupture, which would damage China’s production. Even as Sino-Japanese trade was gradually transforming from a vertical division of labor to a horizontal pattern, Japan generally was the side with goods of high technological content, high added value and maintained an edge there.


According to surveys, Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) in China in 2011 was at 6.35 billion US dollars, an increase of 49.7 percent compared with the previous year. This was abut 40 percentage points more than the increase in what China attracted in overall FDI (9.72 percent). Japanese investment in China supported Japan’s economic recovery and growth; it also contributed to China’s economic development. Hasty economic sanctions against Japan could lead to Japanese companies withdrawal from China.


“China’s economic growth this year is voluntarily restricted to eight percent, which is to say that we are approaching the lower limit”, says Feng, as China adds twenty million new workforce annually. Our country has entered a period of accelerated promotion of economic transformation, it faces growing pressures from the global economy which complicate the external environment, with growing uncertain factors such as if the economy can maintain needed growth, and the job market may suffer blows. “Therefore, the economic card must be played cautiously, and the two countries’ ability to bear this be judged by seeking the truth in the facts, and this issue be dealt with rationally and objectively”.


The Rare-Earths Card

Among the economic-sanction measures discussed recently, limiting exports of rare earths to Japan has been most frequent. Many people say that when it comes to rare-earths resources, Japan will continue to depend heavily on China in the near future, and therefore, China should play the “rare-earth card”.


According to the Nihon Kezai Shimbun, Japan’s imports of rare earths frm China have fallen by 3007 tons during the first six months of 2012, i. e. 49.3 percent of Japan’s total imports. These imports were reduced by fifty percent within half a year. Before 2009, 90 percent of Japan’s rare-earths imports came from China.


China got a lesson, in terms of economic sanctions”, Feng believes. In 2010, Japan had illegally detained the captain of a Chinese trawler. Although China hadn’t openly acknowledged the use of economic sanctions, practically, China temporarily halted rare-earths exports and created temporary difficulties for Japan at the time. “But in fact, Japan mainly cried out, and had already got prepared. Their inventories were ample.


China holds only one-third of the global rare-earth reserves, but currently supplies some 90 percent of the worldwide quantity. “There are countries rich in rare earths, too, and their technological ability to produce them has increased” Feng Zhaokui says. After China had restricted imports of rare earths in 2010, Japan resumed research of resources policies, and especially decided that it couldn’t depend on only one country for rare minerals and rare metals. These days, Australia, Malaysia and other countries rare-earth projects are developing very smoothly.


“As far as our talk about having a monopoly position on rare earths, other countries have caught up, and we haven’t increased our technological content, and we haven’t upgraded the industrial change. Our competitiveness in the field of rare earths has been greatly affected.”


Feng believes that rare earths won’t restrain Japan anymore, and that they are no longer a card that could be played. If one wanted to impose economic sanctions, one had to take the rare-earths lessons into account.


In the wake of the heightened temperatures from the Diaoyu Islands’ issue, another popular surge in “boycotting Japanese goods” and even a low in travels to Japan are inevitable. Information from all travel agencies say that since September, the number of group travels to Japan had gone down drastically, and some travel agencies have stopped Japan travel services altogether. Numbers released by the Chinese automotive industry on September 10 show that compared with last year’s same period, August sales of Japanese cars had dropped by two percent. From August, Japanese goods such as household appliances had also gone down in China.


Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei said on a press conference that given Japanese violations of Chinese territory, Chinese consumers had a right to express their position in reasonable manners, and that we should express understanding for that.


“Reach for the wine when friends arrive, and reach for the gun when enemies arrive”, China Academy of Social Science Japan Institute director Gao Hong told People’s Daily Online reporter in an interview. The Chinese people have shown patriotic enthusiasm, and spontaneous boycotts of Japanese goods was a right which gave no cause for criticism. “However, we need to distinguish between the non-governmental and the governmental level when it comes to the economic card. At the government level, more economic policies need to be adjusted to each other.”


Liu Gang, professor at the Okinawa University, pointed out in a number of media that to sanction a country, other countries’ support was frequently required. To mobilize international sanctions against Japan, these needed to be adopted by the United Nations. That’s how so-called sanctions would be legitimate. If one country high-handedly reached for the big stick of economic sanctions, this didn’t only deviate from WTO principles, but also give rise to gossip and a series of other side effects.


“As for economic sanctions, I believe that generally-speaking, it isn’t China’s position that they should be a tool in handling international relations”, Qu Xing, director of the China Institute of International Studies, clearly points out.


Gao Hong also told the People’s Daily Online reporter that as far as countermeasures were concerned, these were meant to subdue the other side. Countermeasures needed to correspond with the other side’s provocation. If Japan didn’t continuously act provocatively on the economic level, countermeasures on a governmental level could usually not be carried out. After Japan’s so-called “nationalization” [of three of the Senkaku islands – JR], China had announced its points about the Diaoyu territorial seas, institutionalized the dispatch of naval patrol boats, and submitted material and cartography to the United Nations, etc.. These “combined punches” had already hit Japan where it was vulnerable.


Liu Gang believes that Japan’s established policy of swallowing the Diaoyu Islands is an international problem, and China didn’t need to oblique references to that. The best approach would be tit-for-tat, to confine oneself to the facts, to make representations when needed, and to let strength and actions speak – to learn from Russia meant to use strength as a backup, with less talk and more action.


The Diaoyu issue is inherited from history, as many experts say. The struggle for the Diaoyu Islands is a long-term one and can’t be done overnight. This is only the first round of the struggle, and the struggle needed long-term preparation. China’s departments in charge also state clearly that they reserve the right to all kinds of action. Since a long-term struggle was needed, strategies needed to be made, orders [of approaches], and sequences of goals. Nothing should be done on the spur of sentiments, and not in a way that would “hurt friends and please the enemies”.




» Making Patriotism Useful, Sep 17, 2012
» The Nine-Dotted Line, Foarp, Sep 30, 2011
» Collision with Sth Korean Coast Guard, Dec 18, 2010
» A Nefarious Turn, Sep 25, 2010


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Behind the Red Door – Sex in China

Red doors are about attracting luck, and when you do an online search about red doors in Chinese – hong men or 红门), you will get tons of fengshui and home-decorating commercial offers to that end. Family happiness is probably as universal a catchword in China as is the pursuit of happiness in America. But here lies the difference: in China, family happiness depends on each and every family member. Red doors may be helpful, but if you, a daughter or son, achieve in contributing to your family’s happiness, or if you inflict pain on your family – your parents especially, but on your grandparents and wider family, too -, will usually depend on the family you are going to build yourself, as a Chinese individual in his or her twenties. It will depend on the wife or husband you are going to marry, and the child you are expected to have.

Mr Wang's REAL life is quite different.

Mr Wang’s REAL life is quite different.

When I started reading Richard Burger‘s debut book, Behind the Red Door – Sex in China, I became aware that I actually knew very little about the topic. I was aware of the pressure on Chinese colleagues of my age to get married and to have children, and I also got impressions on how the terms were being negotiated between children and parents – even marrying a partner from a different province is considered a flaw by some elders. But what makes Burger’s book particularly insightful is a review of how the outer edges of sexual behavior and identity in China “deviate” from family and social norms, and the troubles in coming to terms with these differences – or in living with them without coming to terms with them.

Behind the Red Door begins with a chapter on sex in imperial China, continues with one on dating and marriage (including marriage between Chinese and foreigners), and a chapter on the sex trade. In many ways, the chapter after these, “The Family”, constitutes a hub to everything else. Neither chapter comes without references to the individuals’ families, anyway. Sex workers will rarely let family people know about their business. One may guess that if a family wanted to know, they would know, but that’s not how psychology works. Gays and Lesbians – they are the topic after the chapter on family – rarely come out to their family people. And few transgendered will even apply for a gender-changing operation (let alone get one), because this would leave them without any chance to keep their sexual identities hidden from their families – and those who are looking on, i. e. basically everyone in the wider family, colleagues, the neighborhood, village, or town.

There is one section where Burger interprets the impressions and trends described in the books actual seven chapters: that’s in his parting thoughts, on the last fifteen pages. It’s the weakest part of the book, in that it unintentionally seems to confirm Burger’s own intuition described as early as in the introduction: arriving at a neat conclusion is impossible. But that attempt is an – unintentional, maybe – practical demonstration of just that fact.

The strengths of Behind the Red Door lie in the way it makes China speak from old and contemporary sources. It builds a narration from imperial times, with instances of traditional societal liberalism towards sex that doesn’t only serve procreation but rather seeks pleasure, even among lower classes, to a strongly puritan (Republican, Maoist and Dengist) modernity, and once again to growing relaxation during the most recent decades – even as traditional family values, and party orthodoxy, continue to linger in sometimes unpredictable areas. Behind the Red Door – and this is much more “political” than what I expected to read, discusses links between sexual liberalization and political control, too.

Burger is highly aware of China’s many political and personal realities, and writes in an engaging style. It isn’t only the author himself who speaks to the reader; it’s Chinese individuals just as well – a few out of millions of “ordinary” Chinese men and women of all ages who – willingly or of painful necessity – test the limits of what is “permissible” in terms of sex and in their relationships – people who deal with varying numbers of disintegrating illusions before and after wedlock – and who, in unfortunate cases, arrive at the comprehension that family happiness, “classical” or not, may not come their way.


Behind the Red Door, by Richard Burger, 2012, at Amazon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CASS Blue Book: Widening Gaps, Modern Metropolitan Agriculture Development

The Beijing Times (京华时报) covered the message from an “urban development blue book” by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) on August 14. Enorth (Tianjin) republished the Beijing Times’ article on August 15:

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Urban Development and Environmental Research Institute published an Urban blue book, “China Urban Development Report (2012), yesterday. The blue book points out that within the coming twenty years, China will have nearly 500 million farmers who need to become urbanized, and that this will come at a cost of at least 40,000 billion to 50,000 billion Yuan.


The blue book points out that the transformation from rural to urban society spells singular and major social change.If future urbanization in China push on at a rate of 0.8 to one percentage point in the future, China’s urbanization rate will be at more than 60 percent by 2020. This also means that within the coming twenty years, China will have more than 200,000,000 farmers who will need jobs and places to live in cities and towns, in addition to farmers who came there during recent years and haven’t yet completed urbanization. In future, the country will see 400 million to 500 million farmers who need to achieve urbanization.


According to reliminary calculations, solving social insurance and public services issues alone will cost at least 100,000 Yuan per capita. Within the next twenty years, costs at at least 40,000 billion to 50,000 billion Yuan will arise.


Researcher and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies’ deputy director Wei Houkai said that currently, needs in places far away from the cities were still very different. Seen from the ways of life and living standards, a great number of migrant workers, of farmers who lived in urban outskirts without permanent residence, and the large numbers of farmers who lost their land in the urbanization process, hadn’t really blended into the cities, their ways of life and consumption patterns remained retained the rural ways of life and characteristics, and their degree of urbanization was low.


The blue book also shows that in 2011, urban population in China was at 691 million, an urbanization rate of 51.27 percent, and that urban population therefore exceeded rural population. That urbanization exceeded 50 percent was a historic change in Chinese societal structure. It showed that China had moved past the era of rural-based society, and had started entering into an era of mainly urban-based society.


Good luck, city: I'm on my way

Good luck, city: I’m on my way!

China Daily, a propaganda paper for foreign consumption, quotes the blue book as saying that the ratio of urbanites’ disposable income to rural residents’ net income reached 3.13 last year, but given that about 40 percent of farmers’ net income was used to purchase chemical fertilizer, pesticide, seeds and other means of production [and given that no similar costs arise for urban citizens, apparently], urban income in China was actually about 5.2 times that of the countryside. That income gap figure was about 26 percent higher than that of 1997, notes the report.

Basically in the context of these reports, Liaoning Daily (also republished by Enorth) reports on Dalian’s (Liaoning Province) official reaction to the challenges:

To adhere to a perfect urbanization, the building of new industries (新型工业化), urban wisdom and agricultural modernization, a civilized, modern international city will be built in an overall plan for these “four modernizations”1), for the improvement of our city’s comprehensive competitiveness. These are the Dalian Municipal Committee’s thoughts on the continuous strengthening of Dalian’s development stamina through an overall plan for coordinated interaction.

本报讯记者刘国华报道“坚持全域城市化、新型工业化、城市智慧化和农业现代化,在‘四化’统筹、协调推进中提升城市综合竞争力,努力建设富庶美丽文明的现代化国际城市。 ”这是近日大连市委提出的通过“四化”统筹、协调互动,进一步增强大连发展后劲的城市发展新思路。

In recent years, Dalian, with scientific development concepts as guidance, firmly grasped the revitalization of the old northeastern industrial bases, and the two-fold opportunities of developing and opening Liaoning’s coastal economy, economic development, opening up to the outside world, and other aspects of achieving comprehensive improvement, rather good effects in raising Liaoning’s leading role in the northeastern region. This year, Dalian, in accordance with the requirements and on the foundations of “seeking progress in stability, and pace within stability”, by means of the soft-environment-building year and other measures, maintained economic and stable and rather rapid growth. During the first half of this year, the entire city achieved a regional total output value of 340.1 billion Yuan [more precisely, 340,090 million] Yuan (a growth by 10.1 percent), public revenues of 37.47 billion yuan (19 percent growth), social consumption products retail sales2) at 104.64 billion Yuan (15.2 percent growth), average disposable incomes per capita of 13,934 Yuan (14.1 percent growth), farmers’ average cash income of 9,262 Yuan (14.8 percent growth), with the main economic indicators achieving a “double-surpassing” of the previous [year-on-year?] half-year.


The Dalian Municipal Committee and the city government believe that by now, in competition between developed cities within China, raising their comprehensive competitiveness has become the main direction of impact. To cut new edges in the coming round of fierce competition, if it can solve difficulties, and always maintain a leading position, Dalian needs to cast its sight at the future and to clearly develop new ideas.


In July this year, Dalian city held the Perfect City Chemical Industry congress, and issued the “China Communist Dalian Municipal Committee and Dalian City Government Numerous Opinions concerning Acceleration and Promotion of Perfect Urbanization”, “Dalian City Implementation Plan for the Acceleration and Promotion of Perfect Urbanization, and “the “Dalian City Policies pertaining Acceleration and Promotion of Perfect Urbanization”. Perfection of urbanization and the city and countryside overall improvement plans are are important measures to solve the bottleneck problems. […] The focus on agricultural modernization is on urban modern agriculture.


The mutually supportive “four modernizations and coordinated promotion will surely promote Dalian’s economic and social development, and its leap to a new level.




1) a term based on the original concept of “Four Modernizations” first set out by Zhou Enlai, and again in 1978.

2) Social consumption is a term frequently connected with “ethical consumption” elsewhere – that’s not how it is meant here, and it most probably simply means household consumption. Your expertise is welcome; just use the commenting function for your definitions or explanations.



» Tianjin Municipal Committee, July 20, 2011


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sino-Russian Fishery Incident: An FMPRC Statement and its (apparent) Story

China News Service (CNS, 中新网) / Enorth, July 22, 2012, 07:04 Beijing time —

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Saturday evening that the incident of a Russian patrol boat that shelled Chinese trawlers was an isolated case, and expressed the belief that the case could be solved by the two sides in the spirit of Sino-Russian friendship. It was hoped that the people of the two countries would look at the incident objectively and with cool heads.


A reporter asked: A few days ago, a Russian patrol boat fired at Chinese trawlers which [had]  crossed the border into Russia’s exclusive maritime zone, and a collision with a Chinese trawler occured in the process, which resulted in the missing of one Chinese seaman. The Russian Northeastern Federal Security Service border patrol says that the Russian side the pursuit and capture of the Chinese trawlers in Russian maritime territory, that to open fire  was legal, and that a request for prosecution had been made to the Chinese Fishing Ministry. What is the Chinese side’s comment?


Hong Lei said that China had made representations to the Russian side, concerning one Chinese fisherman going missing in Russian border security authorities’ arrest of Chinese fishermen fishing in the Russian exclusive maritime zone.


Hong Lei said that in the next steps, the Chinese side will continue to maintain close communication with the Russian side, and make effots to handle the issue as quickly as possible, and appropriately. The aforementioned incident was an isolated one, and it was believed that the two sides would be able to solve the issue in the spirit of Sino-Russian friendship. It was hoped that the people of the two countries would look at the incident objectively and with cool heads. China was now exploring consultations to establish an emergency and early-warning mechanism with Russia to avoid the occurrence of similar incidents in the future, to avoid [them] affecting the overall picture of friendly relations between the two countries.


The foreign ministry published the same CNS article last night.

So did Huanqiu Shibao; without an opportunity for its readers to comment. On an emoticon board, at the time of writing this post, 58 votes express amazement or shock, 1,402 express anger, 74 express sadness, 21 express joy, and 229 feel that the news is ridiculous.

Two days earlier, on Friday, Huanqiu Shibao had reported that China was dissatisfied (不满) about the shelling, and demanded the release of the fishermen. Chinese vice foreign minister Cheng Guoping (程国平) had expressed this dissatisfaction in an emergency meeting with Russia’s chargé d’affaires in China [apparently Alexander Kozlov]. Russian violent law enforcement (粗暴执法) and use of military force had led to the Chinese crewman going missing.  Chen had demanded that the Russian side should investigate thoroughly, communicate the results to the Chinese side immediately, guarantee the safety of the arrested crews, and treat them in accordance with their legal rights and humanitarian standards. The crews should be released as quickly as possible, and every effort be made to find the missing crewman (合法权益和人道主义待遇,尽快放船放人,全力搜救失踪人员).

Under that article, the commenting function was enabled.

China’s foreign policies are too weak. Even small countries like Vietnam and the Philippines dare to challenge. Of course, Russia doesn’t need to care about China – 中国在对外政策上太过软弱,连越南 菲律宾 这等小国也敢挑衅,俄国当然不会把中国放在眼里,

wrote one commenter, and

Russians are like polar bears – they have no bit of humanity. When interacting with Russia, one shouldn’t regard them as people – 俄罗斯像北极熊,没有一点人性。与俄罗斯打交道,不能把它当作人看待,

suggested another.

But there were efforts to maintain the spirit of friendly relations with Russia, too. Apparently, there had been traitors among the crew who had been bought by America or Japan – […] 很明显,那些越界捕捞的渔民有被美、日收买利用的嫌疑,或许是被美、日收买利用故意破坏中、朝关系,中、俄关系的特务、汉奸,同时敬请中国渔民自律、自爱,自觉以国家利益为上!不要贪图个人利益而损害国家利  explained a Hidden Star Dragon (伏星龙) who states his birthplace as “Hsinchu, Taiwan Province”.

Huanqiu Shibao is a state-owned paper with a readership which appears to be particularly quick to (nationalist) anger, but Beijing appears to searching for a middle way between the need to maintain friendly reations (or a strategic partnership) with Russia, and to satisfy a nationalist audience at the same time, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP, Hong Kong).

A rather soft statement from the Chinese consulate in Khabarovsk had been posted on the consulate’s website, which basically reflected the Russian side of the story. The consulate also initially stated that noone was reported injured. The Chinese foreign minister confirmed a day later that one fisherman was actually missing, according to the SCMP. This led to vice foreign minister Chen Guoping summoning “a senior Russian diplomat” (apparently Kozlov, see above) on Thursday. FMPRC spokesman Hong Lei’s statement on Saturday evening was only the latest step in the process, and once again a try to de-escalate the issue.

According to Xinhua, the two trawlers hail from Weihai, Shandong Province.



» Beijing criticizes FSB action, Ria Novosti, July 20, 2012
» China “strongly dissatisfied”, Maritime Connector, July 20, 2012
» Unacceptable, China Daily, July 18, 2012
» Greater Japanese Awareness (including a Huanqiu poll), July 15, 2012
» Hit and Tow, June 10, 2011
» FSB sinks Chinese freighter, Febr 19, 2009


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Huanqiu Online Survey: “Save Euro, but with Strings Attached”

Merkel's China visit, Huanqiu topical page

Merkel's China visit, Huanqiu topical page

From a Huanqiu Shibao online survey (19:40 GMT):

1. What is your Position about the Eurozone seeking Chinese Help? (欧元区因深陷债务危机向中国寻求救援,您对中国出资救助是何态度?)

Support Rescue without Conditions 1.0% 244 votes
Support Rescue with Strings Attached 72.7% 18,195 votes
Neutral 2.5% 615 votes
Against Rescue 23.3% 5,840 votes
Not sure 0.6% 145 vote

2. If China is to help, for which reasons should it do so? – you can give more than one reason  (如果中国要救援欧洲,您觉得救援的理由是什么?- 可多选)

In an environment of global economic integration,
helping the Eurozone also helps China
36.7% 12,989 votes
For confidence in the Eurozone’s economy 5.6% 1,979 votes
It’s a good time for investing in the Eurozone 24.1% 8,521 votes
To show the world the power of China 19.4% 6,855 votes
Other reasons 7.8% 2,747 votes
Not sure 6.4% 2,278 votes

3. If China helps Europe with strings attached, which conditions do you think should be made? – more than one choice is possible (如果中国有附加条件地救援欧洲,您觉得应附加哪些条件?- 可多选)

Immediately lift the arms embargo 19.2% 19,256 votes
Immediately recognize China’s status
as a market economy
20.1% 20,100 votes
Provide credit guarantees for China 15.2% 15,719 votes
Immediately stop interfering in China’s
internal affairs
15.7% 15,719 votes
Withdrawal of trade restrictions and anti-dumping
cases against China
13.3% 13,359 votes
No interference into China’s relationship with
neighboring countries
14.7% 14,757 votes
Others 1.5% 1,530 votes
Not sure 0.3% 253 votes % votes

4. What would be your main reasons to oppose Chinese help for Europe? – more than one choice (你认为反对中国救援欧洲的原因是什么 -可多选?)

They should solve their domestic economic
problems; we don’t have the extra strength to
help other countries yet
25.7% 14,771 votes
Europe is able to solve the crisis
by itself
6.7% 3,869 votes
Help from a low-level welfare state for high-
level welfare states makes no sense
23.3% 13,422 votes
Economic help won’t solve the debt crisis 12.9% 7,448 votes
No confidence in Europe overcoming the crisis 6.6% 3,799 votes
Some European countries are no friends, or
against China
21.8% 12,540 votes
Others 1.7% 952 votes
Not sure 1.3% 740 votes


7. How old are you?

[Note: read one year less, as day of birth counts as first birthday in China – JR]

Younger than 18 25.7% 14,771 votes
18 – 29 6.7% 3,869 votes
20 – 29 23.3% 13,422 votes
30 – 39 12.9% 7,448 votes
40 – 49 6.6% 3,799 votes
50 – 59 21.8% 12,540 votes
60 – 69 1.7% 952 votes
70 and older 1.3% 740 votes

8. Your gender is

male 96.0% 24,026
female 4.0% 1,005

9. Your educational background is

junior middle school 5.0% 1,241
high school, vocational school 20.0% 4,998
college 25.5% 6,389
under-graduate 37.9% 9,489
master’s degree and above 9.0% 2,258
no reply 2.6% 663



» 中国网友提“有附加条件”援欧, 环球网, Febr 2, 2012
» Ehrlicher Meinungsaustausch, Bundesregierung, Febr 2, 2012


Monday, January 2, 2012

UDN Editorial expects Tsai Victory

United Daily News (UDN, 【聯合報), a pan-blue Taiwanese paper, explained in an editorial earlier today why Tsai appears likely to win the presidential elections on January 14. Echo Taiwan translated several paragraphs, republished UDN’s original editorial in full, and added some analysis of his own.



» If King Ma never Returns, Oct 4, 2011

Related tags: Ma Ying-jeou; Tsai Ing-wen.



» Post-Election Prospects for Taiwan’s Short-Term Energy Security, Taihan, Jan 1, 2012


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Taiwan’s Presidential Election Trends, according to the Prediction Future Markets

I’m not sure if Taiwanese opinion polls benefit experienced Taiwanese readers – to someone like me, who is no close observer, most of them seem to be of little use.

Look at those included in the chart underneath, for example. They are all pan-blue sources: the China Times, United Daily News, and Apple Daily. The Apple Daily may not be very China-friendly, but according to Wikipedia Chinese (as of today), they are said to have close connections to president Ma Ying-jeou‘s staff, and Apple Daily’s numbers of December 3 would seem to confirm that.

Opinion Polls, all Pan-Blue Sources, Nov. 16 to Dec. 7, 2011

Opinion Polls, all Pan-Blue Sources, Nov. 16 to Dec. 7, 2011

Yes – 47.04 per cent of the interviewees would vote for Ma Ying-jeou, 36.9 per cent for Tsai Ing-wen, and 12.11 per cent for James Soong Chu-yu, according to Apple Daily, which published a poll completed on December 3 (see Ma’s best number ever in the chart above – if Wikipedia quoted them correctly).

For the numbers included in the chart, and beyond (back to July 1, and including sources other than pan-blue), see “Three-Way Race, Wikipedia”.

Polls seem to be much more part of the “spin-doctoring” in Taiwan, than they are in most European or North American countries. 47.04 per cent for Ma Ying-jeou – not even a distant watcher can take that forecast serious.

Evidence so far suggests that prediction markets are at least as accurate as other institutions predicting the same events with a similar pool of participants, Wikipedia (English) of today suggests.

So there might be alternative sources. And there are prediction markets forecasts for Taiwan’s presidential elections in January, too. Here, the picture is very different: there, Tsai has been more likely to win the elections of the time, ever since October 26, 2011 – the  market forecast is run by the National Chengchi University (國立政治大學). What looks particularly plausible there is that Ma’s chances fell, just as Soong Chu-yu’s were rising. This would seem plausible because Soong’s People-First Party is “bluer” and closer to China than Ma’s KMT, and unlikely to draw support from any other party than the KMT.

The Economist, not necessarily a fan of Tsai Ing-wen, quoted the Chengchi University numbers, too, on November 19:

A prediction market run by National Chengchi University, accurate in the past, says the probability of his winning the election dived from over 59% on October 16th to under 42% on November 14th; Ms Tsai stands at 49%. Opinion polls in the island’s media, which usually leans towards the KMT, also show slumping popularity, though Mr Ma still leads by a few percentage points.

[Update, Dec 13: XFuture and the National Chengchi University prediction markets are basically identical, according to Echo Taiwan]
Echo Taiwan has also turned to a future market for clues (there are links within his paragraph – see there:

Xfuture, the future market website, claimed to be more accurate than most opinion surveys conducted by media in Taiwan, is conducting surveys in the form of stock exchanges for the upcoming legislative and presidential elections. There are 3 contract groups for the president election. I am sharing the timeline of one of them, The Estimate of Vote Percentage (2012總統選舉投票率預測), for all three candidates: Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, DPP), Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九, KMT) and James Soong (宋楚瑜, PFP). The data covers the period from 9/1/2011 to 12/2/2011 for both Tsai and Ma. Soong was not included into this contract group until 11/4/11. At the time of preparing this post (12/2), the data show a profile of Tsai : Ma : Soong = 51.0% : 37.1% : 12.5%.

Here, too, Ma’s rate is falling, as Soong’s is rising.

Echo Taiwan’s post also contains guesses and clues as to which events of the past two months may have led to the shift in Tsai’s favor, plus links to further posts by other bloggers. Just as there, the Economist’s Nov 19 article attributes some cause for Ma’s troubles to events prior to Soong entering the race:

But Mr Ma’s popularity was falling even before Mr Soong’s formal candidacy. He dropped a bombshell on October 17th by saying that he favours signing a peace treaty with China within the next decade, provided the public and parliament supported it. It was the first time that Mr Ma had given a timetable for negotiating such a hugely sensitive issue, and it has whipped up alarm in the media and among a China-wary public. The DPP accuses Mr Ma of steering the island towards unification. Mr Ma later backtracked, suggesting, among other things, that a treaty would need a referendum.

Only to backtrack once again, shortly after that. Ma had apparently become dizzy.

Early in October, political commenter Wong Chong Xia warned the KMT that

Ma Ying-jeou’s support rate never exceeds a ten-percent lead over Tsai Ing-wen, and the pan-green camp’s voting rate has always been stronger than the pan-blue camp’s, and past experience shows that when it is a one-on-one race, and the pan-blue camp’s lead isn’t better than ten per cent, it is the loser when the ballots are counted on election night.

I don’t know if the future markets include reflections of the phenomenon observed by Wong, and I can’t tell Wong’s observation itself is correct – but at the moment, Tsai looks like the more likely winner of next year’s presidential elections.



» Closing in on the Presidency, Nov 25, 2011



» Election Campaign Coverage in China, Taipei Times, Dec 12, 2011
» Presidential Debate, PTS TV / Youtube, Dec 2, 2011


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

If King Ma never Returns… it may not be James Soong’s Fault

Wong Chong Xia (黃創夏) isn’t exactly one of DPP presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen‘s biggest fans (at least, that isn’t what the following article , written by him and  published by the China Times on Tuesday, would suggest). The China Times (中國時報) itself is considered to be pan-blue-leaning, even if more moderately so than another pro-KMT paper, the United Daily News.

King Ma, the Confident Campaigner

King Ma, the Confident Campaigner

Given the China Times’ (supposedly) moderately pan-blue background, the following article seems to express a lot of frustration with the way incumbent Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou‘s re-election campaign is conducted – frustration felt by Wong Chong Xia – the author – himself, and possibly the paper’s frustration, too.

The article was apparently first published as a blogpost, and the headline reads Without Soong Chu-yu, Ma Ying-jeou may still Lose (沒有宋楚瑜,馬英九也會輸).

My translation isn’t doing justice to the original, and input to improve it will be welcome.

[Update – December 10, 2011: the China Times link seems to be broken, but the article is still available here.]

[Main Link:]

Preface: Can they only act the  “stooge”, can they only go on and on blaming Song Chu-yu (or James Soong), can they only keep comparing themyourselves to Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan’s worst and most corrupt president, to find that they are “not that rotten after all”, and, proud just like “creditors”, arrogantly believe that the voters should “reciprocate for Ma Ying-jeou’s fairness”, and, like useless little boys, complain – the way  Ma Ying-jeou did to his elder sister Ma Yi-nan after the Morakot disaster -, that “good people weren’t rewarded!” ?? These are the essential reasons for Ma Ying-jeou’s self-destruction.


Surprise! Tsai Ing-wen’s shadow is already emerging in Japan, but this time round, King Pu-tsung’s inseparable shadow hasn’t yet been spotted there?


That’s the way to do things! Six feet tall and stalwart, full of dignity, well-fed and nothing else to do, rushing in the wake of a woman, she turns east, so does he; the woman turns west, so does he, just like another Deng Tuzi, only a prig demonstrating what a strawbag he is.


Facing the 2012 elections, the two Ying camps [Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai (Y)ing-wen]  are without rhyme or reason, the ruling party with all the advantages on its side, should be in a position to remain calm and composed while handling their affairs. As the opposition is in difficulties in all respects, they [the ruling party, KMT] should be firing on all cylinders. But in Taiwan, the winner chooses the loser’s strategy, in hot pursuit on all fronts, as the loser applies the winner’s strategy, handling things with cool heads.


This strategy will become a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. When the rulers self-fulfilling prophecy is a “loser’s pattern”, they won’t gain at the others’ [the opposition’s] expense, but add to [the opposition’s] momentum instead.



Just as it was today! Tsai Ing-wen was the one who looked like the KMT’s “leader” – Tsai gave her opinion, and Ma Ying-jeou “followed right at her bottom”, aping her at every step, like a political Deng Tuzi without convictions of his own. Apart from real hardcore Ma fans, who would still dare to vote for such this a “stooge” without values, who would still vote for Ma Ying-jeou?



More importantly, the pan-blue camp keeps believing that the Soong Chu-yu factor was causing them trouble. Look at the surveys more closely. Ma Ying-jeou’s support rate never exceeds a ten-percent lead over Tsai Ing-wen, and the pan-green camp’s voting rate has always been stronger than the pan-blue camp’s, and past experience shows that when it is a one-on-one race, and the pan-blue camp’s lead isn’t better than ten per cent, it is the loser when the ballots are counted on election night.


Soong Chu-yu isn’t the problem, stupid! Soong is playing a “political werewolf’s” game of schemes and political tricks, acting as the defender of Taiwan’s fruits of democracy – everyone can beat the drum to go on the attack. But even without the Soong factor, Ma Ying-jeou may lose to Tsai Ing-wen, and this is what the “King-Ma command center” should seriously reflect upon.


Can the King-Ma command center only act the  “stooge”, can they only go on and on blaming Song Chu-yu (or James Soong), can they only keep comparing themselves to Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan’s worst and most corrupt president, to find that they are “not that rotten after all”, and, proud just like “creditors”, arrogantly believe that the voters should “reciprocate for Ma Ying-jeou’s fairness”, and, like useless little boys, complain – the way  Ma Ying-jeou did to his elder sister Ma Yi-nan after the Morakot disaster -, that “good people weren’t rewarded!” ?? These are the essential reasons for Ma Ying-jeou’s self-destruction.


You people there, smart folks like King Pu-tsung and Ma Ying-jeou, wake up! Let Taiwan see a future with a sense of direction and a sense of responsibility, and you won’t need to remain “Deng Tuzis” behind a woman’s rear, and above all, you won’t need to hide behind Bei-bei Soong’s back where you will only be pitied!




» Tsai seeks Ally in Japan, VoA, Oct 4, 2011
» Ma no Persian Cat, August 23, 2011
» Wong Chong Xia’s blog, info


%d bloggers like this: