Sunday, December 30, 2007

Does China have fuels reserves for Taiwan Attack?

Andrei Chang, editor of the Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, offers this assessment of China's ability to wage war on Taiwan for an extended period of time.
By calculating the amount of fuel oil required by the Chinese navy and air force in a large-scale attack across the Taiwan Strait under high-tech conditions, it becomes apparent that such an assault could not be sustained for an extended period.

For an attack on Taiwan, China would likely mobilize 10 fighter divisions of the PLA Air Force. In fact, only one to two regiments under each division are armed with third generation fighter aircraft. According to reliable sources, the total number of Su-27, J-11A and Su-30 fighters now stands at 281.

Each Su fighter can carry up to 9.4 tons of fuel, with a maximum combat radius of 1,500 kilometers. Since the Su series are mostly deployed at second-front airports, it can be roughly estimated that each sortie would consume about 9.4 tons of oil. As a result, sorties by the full third-generation fighter fleet would consume 2,641.4 tons of fuel. In a high-intensity confrontation, if China launched two rounds of large-scale air raids, fuel consumption by the Su aircraft alone would likely double to 5,282 tons.....

After calculating the amounts China's air force, army, and navy might need, the article concludes:

What is the total annual fuel consumption of the Chinese armed forces? A report published by the PLA General Logistics Department in 2007 says that the PLA forces saved 55,000 tons of oil in 2006, approximately 5.1 percent of their total consumption. Based on this figure, the total would be over 1 million tons, about 2,954 tons on average per day. It can be concluded that fuel consumption in a 15-day large-scale assault operation would surpass 20 percent of the annual total consumption of the Chinese military.

The hard fact is that China has only 7 million tons of oil reserves available for a period of conflict. The country has set its 30-day oil reserves at 10 million tons for civilian consumption, an average of 330,000 tons per day. During a 15-day assault, the country would require 4.96 million tons. The conclusion is that China's current oil reserves could sustain a high-intensity assault operation against Taiwan for no more than 15 days.

Thought-provoking? Your comments welcome.

Presbyterian Church in Taiwan's UN Declaration

Jerome Keating passed me the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan's UN Declaration. Here it is in two languages -- spread the word:


Declaration of the Right for Taiwan to Join the United Nations

To the member states of the United Nations, the peoples and nations of the world who love justice and peace, and to all churches around the world.

On the eve of the fifty-ninth anniversary of the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and in the spirit of our 1977 “Declaration on Human Rights” and our 1985 “Confession of Faith”, we declare:

Since the end of World War II in 1945, colonized peoples of the world have been exercising the basic human right of self-determination, thus becoming independent nations. The 23 million people of Taiwan remain the exception in that their inalienable right to statehood has been ignored or even actively opposed by member states of the United Nations. Clearly, the spirit of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” has not been implemented worldwide. This overt neglect is an injustice and an outright violation of the human rights of the Taiwanese people.

Though the Taiwanese people had been successively ruled by foreign colonial powers, in 1996, they were able for the first time to directly elect a president in a democratic procedure that achieved a bloodless and peaceful revolution. Moreover they were even able to complete a peaceful transfer of power in 2000. A native Taiwanese administration led by the Democratic Progressive Party replaced the Chinese Nationalist (KMT) regime which had implemented their colonial rule over Taiwan for several decades by means of martial law. As a result of this change the Taiwanese people today express a strong demand to join the United Nations using the name “Taiwan”.

However, China, the superpower to the west of Taiwan, has repeatedly exerted its emerging influence on the international community to violate, suppress, and isolate Taiwan in a way that has brutally oppressed the Taiwanese people and their fundamental rights. Despite being grieved and incensed by this degradation, we stand on the belief that human rights are ordained by God and that Taiwan has the right to membership in the United Nations so that the dignity of the Taiwanese people will be upheld by the international community.

Therefore we solemnly make this appeal to the world. We urge all to courageously support the Taiwanese people, who have been left on the outside, and open the door to United Nations membership so that hand in hand together we can promote justice and peace throughout the world.

"The Lord has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)

May God bless the United Nations, peoples and churches around the world. Amen.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
Moderator: Rev. Dr. James Kheng-chiong Phoann 潘慶彰 (signed)
General Secretary: Rev. Andrew Tek-khiam Tiunn 張德謙 (signed)
December 7th, 2007











議 長 Phoann Kheng-chiong. 潘慶彰 (signed)

總幹事 Tiunn Tek-khiam 張德謙 (signed)


Friday, December 28, 2007

New China Labor Law to Gobsmack Taiwan Businesses There?

In the last few weeks the media has been chronicling a swelling anxiety among Taiwanese firms in China that a new Chinese labor law is going to make it extremely difficult for Taiwan firms to do business there. Taiwan Journal recently offered a piece on the issue:

Many Taiwanese businesses in the Pearl River Delta area of China may soon shut up shop, in order to dodge surging labor costs brought on by China's new Employment Contract Law. The new law is widely believed to contain the world's most complete regulations governing labor-related issues, and is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2008.

"The situation will be miserable," predicted a Taiwanese businessman on condition of anonymity. "Big firms will take the lead in calling it quits, followed by their suppliers of raw materials and other supporting factories," he added Dec. 20.

An unofficial survey shows that one third of the Taiwanese firms in the area either have halted their operations or plan to do so in the near future. The area of the Pearl River Delta includes such regions as Dongguan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai.

With the implementation of the new law on the horizon, businesses in the area are worried about the impact on their bottom lines. Taiwanese firms already have to bear various welfare costs, including pension allocation and medical insurance.

Industry insiders estimate the new law will boost manufacturers' labor costs by an extra 20 percent. In addition, the new law stipulates that employers must offer open-ended labor contracts to employees with over 10 years of service. Employers must also provide severance pay in case of mass layoffs.

The article is also one of several recently to claim that Taiwan firms in China may be returning to the island. According to the article, there has been an increase in demand for land in Taiwan's industrial districts. The Financial Express had a more detailed report earlier this month:

“To be frank, in the processing trade here, the biggest advantage was cheap labour. But now that’s going to change,” said Hsieh Ching-yuan, vice-president of the Taiwan Businessmen’s Association in Dongguan, an industrial hub in the Pearl River Delta in southern China. Calvin Chang, general manager of Jinghua China Investment Consulting in Shenzhen, said the law could increase labour costs by 8% next year. He expects many firms to shift to inland provinces like Jiangxi and Hunan or countries such as Vietnam. “Hundreds of small-sized Taiwan-invested firms in Dongguan and Shenzhen will be dead next year due to the new law,” he said.

The results have been predictable:

Companies from IT equipment makers to liquor producers have been playing a “fire and hire” game, rushing to terminate existing contracts and rehire staff on new contracts to start the clock ticking anew on their length of service.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd made headlines by requiring some 7,000 employees with more than eight years’ service to “voluntarily resign” and reapply for their jobs.

According to reporters, the purpose of the new law is to force companies to upgrade production technology, and stimulate domestic demand by putting more money in workers' pockets, as well as give labor a greater share of the disproportion of returns that are currently going to capital. Given the status of "law" in China, I'm skeptical that the new law will be widely applied. More likely that a few chickens will be executed to scare the monkeys, and it will business as usual for most firms.

Ma Ying-jeou Walks

Apologies for the light blogging, but I just spent probably the most disheartening week of my life in Taiwan... But the dark hours have passed....and so it's back to the blog....

Speaking of dawning light, Ma Ying-jeou was found not guilty of stealing the government money that he had downloaded into his personal account and used for private uses in the all-important appeal of his case to the high court. Kathrin Hille of the Financial Times reports:

“This verdict removes the main risk the case had posed to our campaign,” said Ho Hung-jung, a senior campaign aide of Mr Ma. “Although it is not final, any further appeal will take too much time to hit Mr Ma before the election. That puts him in safe territory.”

Mr Ma had a monthly mayoral allowance wired directly into his personal bank account from 1998 to 2006 and used most of the funds for personal purposes. Prosecutors had therefore accused him of corruption.

But the High Court took the view that there was no clear definition in Taiwan whether such allowances – which are common – are public funds or part of politicians’ private income and that therefore Mr Ma was not guilty.

Prosecutors had also accused Mr Ma of breach of trust, a charge that they hoped would be easier to establish than the corruption charge. A guilty verdict on that charge could have carried a final sentence of more than ten years and would have barred Mr Ma from running for president.

Hille points out that Ma is under investigation for similar acts in previous positions, and Hsieh is under all sorts of investigations. Since everyone took the cash as an entitlement -- its purpose was to corrupt the bureaucracy and co-opt it into the System -- it follows that no one can be convicted if Ma is not convicted -- at least in a legal system where reason and precedent held sway.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Medley of Madness

Lots of people enjoying this perfect depiction of Taiwanese politics. The Foreigner noted:
Best Taiwanese photo of the year, IMHO. And the kicker is that someone told me the shot was taken when KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou was having a serious discussion with reporters about Sino-Taiwanese relations.

(Because nothing, but nothing says, "Gravitas," to voters more than a politician talking foreign his bright red Santa suit.)

Also served up this week was this tale of a local blogger awaiting a verdict in a lawsuit against him for satirizing a politician. Sued for $50 million NT. Could lose. Can anyone say "chilling effect?" Brrrr....

Finally, I must give some good blog love to this heart-warming story of the city of Changhua's quest to become our nation's capital, starting with this conference...

The Changhua County government began efforts Wednesday with an academic conference to promote the central Taiwan county becoming the capital city of the country.

The conference on issues concerning the Changhua bid and national development was attended by governmental, industrial and academic representatives, including Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen, National Changhua University of Education President Chang Huei-po and Mingdao University President Wang Ta-yung.

In his address, County Magistrate Cho Po-yuan introduced Changhua as enjoying a significant position in Taiwan's history, noting that its Lugang township was once the second largest city on the island, following Tainan in southern Taiwan.

I actually had my students do a paper as an exercise on the topic of where the capital should be moved to. Nobody picked Changhua....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Income growth remains stagnant

Income continues to stagnate, says the DGBAS:

Taiwan's average basic pay and substantive regular monthly pay witnessed an annual growth of 2.17% and 1.78%, respectively, in the first 10 months of this year, both were the highest of their kinds in seven years and, according to the statistics released by the Cabinet-level Directorate General of Budget, Accounting & Statistics (DGBAS).

However, if deducting the inflation of 1.35% in the same period, the annual increase in real regular monthly pay was merely 0.43%, even lower than that posted last year to show stagnant employee salaries over the year.

Economic growth and unemployment are doing well, but the income issue makes KMT complaints about the economy credible to voters, since they jibe with everyday experience.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Waiting for Ma Dough

Xinhua reports on the upcoming verdict in the appeal of KMT Presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's acquittal for in the embezzlement case, due out the 28th of this month. Since Ma is their fair-haired boy, naturally they are anxious -- if Ma is found guilty, he can't run for president. Hasn't made much noise though... Does anyone out there actually believe the verdict will be overturned? Color me blue on that one.

While you're contemplating the possibilities for Ma Ying-jeou, you can enjoy the squabble over the remains of dictator Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo, as reported in the pro-Green Taipei Times:

The fate of the mausoleums of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) descended into family squabbling yesterday after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), a son of Chiang Ching-kuo, said he did not support relocating the tombs to China.

"Those who don't understand Taiwanese politics should not get too involved in the issue. He or she should speak with caution," he said while visiting the mausoleums at Tzuhu (慈湖) and Touliao (頭寮) in Taoyuan County yesterday.

John Chiang was apparently referring to Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡), the wife of Chiang Hsiao-yung (蔣孝勇), the third son of Chiang Ching-kuo.

Chiang Fang Chih-yi said on Sunday that the family had reached a consensus on sending the remains of the two men back to their hometown in Zhejiang Province, China, consistent with Chiang Ching-kuo's wishes, rather than relocating the remains to the Wuchihshan Military Cemetery (五指山軍人公墓) in Taipei County as the family had previously requested the government do.

Despite its light-hearted moments, the tomb issue shows the way the family cult, imperial cult, and politics are intertwined in Taiwan, especially where the KMT for so many years cultivated a quasi-religious cult around Chiang Kai-shek.

Finally, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou showed a side that so many of us have trouble getting outsiders to see: the arrogant, patronizing Ma. Feiren over at Taiwan Matters has his latest bumptiousness:

The Taiwanese blogosphere and alert readers have caught Ma Ying-jeou on camera telling a community of aboriginal squatters on the Xindian River that

"I see you as humans and as citizens of this city. I'm going to educate you well and do a good job of providing you with opportunities. That's the place from which the attitude of aborigines needs to be that you've come here, you need to play by the rules here..." [emphasis added]

Ma's unbelievably patronizing comments were delivered on Dec. 8th when members of the community presented a petition to Ma at the appropriately named Chiang Kai-shek (Zhongzheng) Public Housing Community. You'll have to skip ahead to about 7:20 to hear Ma making these comments. Personally, I found his comments around 6:20 where he says that "it's not that their [aborigines'] genes have a problem, their opportunities have a problem" at least as offensive. Could this finally be the beginning of the end of aboriginal support for the KMT?

Aborigines are a key constituency of the ethnic coalition that the KMT has cobbled together. It's unlikely to be the end of anything, but it would be nice if it were.

UPDATE: Prosecutors questioned Honorary Chairman Lien Chan at his office this week, ahead of the Ma verdict. The special funds cases need to have a general amnesty, and an end must be made to the special funds.

Globe and Mail: Taiwan Flashpoint 2008 -UPDATED-

The Globe and Mail is doing a set of pieces on the major world flashpoints. Among them is of course the Taiwan Straits, portrayed here as made dangerous by the recklessness of the dastardly Chen Shui-bian. It's a good thing those forces for stability, restrained and prudent, are there to keep Mad Chen© in check! On to the fun....

It's a highly volatile mixture of ingredients: a fast-rising superpower, a rebellious island, an arms race, duelling missiles, claims of independence, and a spate of high-profile political events that could trigger a reckless reaction.

You've seen all this before -- breathless prose, dripping with It's gonna blow! The writer weaves his construction largely out of familiar media claims, and omits several key facts, as we'll see. Note the opening frame -- Taiwan is "rebellious." No pretense of balance on China's desire to annex the island is made. Taiwan is not, of course, "a rebellious island." The whole issue is exactly what relationship Taiwan has to China, and to use "rebellious" is to take a side in the debate. Sad.

China and Taiwan have been preparing for war for years, building up their arsenals of missiles, fighter jets, naval ships and other weapons. China has close to 1,000 ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwanese targets and the number is constantly rising. Taiwan has its own missiles ready to hit China, including its recently developed Brave Wind cruise missile, capable of striking Shanghai and other Chinese targets.

For the sake of enhancing the fear-value, the author makes it seem as if there is some equivalence between a nation attempting to annex another nation, and that nation fighting for its survival. The author also writes as if the 1000 missiles pointed at Taiwan are somehow balanced by handful of missiles Taiwan points at China. The fact is that Taiwan is preparing to defend itself -- it does not threaten China. The war threat is entirely from the Beijing side, and the writer should have made that clear.

The rhetoric on both sides has been ferocious. China's military often threatens to use force to prevent Taiwanese independence. Beijing has passed legislation to authorize violence against Taiwan if necessary. Taiwan's pro-independence President, Chen Shui-bian, has infuriated Beijing with his frequent talk of sovereignty.

As I've noted many times, "being infuriated" is a policy response, not a visceral reaction. Beijing uses them against pro-democracy actors in Taiwan, such as Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui, to gain leverage over international media presentations, as it has successfully done here.

Tensions have been high for years, but 2008 could be the most dangerous year of all. It is filled with potential trigger points, including two Taiwanese elections, a controversial referendum, the final days of Mr. Chen's presidency and the Summer Olympics.

Now after that slanted opening with its juicy OMIGAWD background, we come to the meat of the presentation. The writer says that tensions have been high for years, which is no doubt why a million Taiwanese have moved to China, completely unmolested by the Beijing government. Since tensions have been high for years, perhaps the writer might have discussed their location and development in the previous administration of Lee Teng-hui, and thus illustrated the context and continuity of Taiwan-China relations. Fact is, the same articles, with the same claims, were published throughout the Lee Teng-hui era, whenever Lee "provoked" China.

The piece discusses the "explosive" situation with the elections, and then observes:

Beijing is enraged by the referendum because it implies another step toward Taiwan's formal independence. China has recruited Washington to urge Taipei to cancel the referendum, yet Mr. Chen has vowed to push ahead with it, partly because it would help to galvanize his supporters and draw them to the ballot box.

It goes without saying: Beijing is enraged because it chooses to be enraged. Yes, the referendum's purpose is solely to drive election outcome: everyone knows it cannot possibly succeed. Since Beijing has a veto in the UN, nothing can ever come of the referendum in real world terms. It is simply a statement by the electorate. Note that this key fact is entirely omitted in the presentation, because if the writer had included it, readers would have wondered what all the tension was about and seen right through the writer's positions.

The anti-referendum rhetoric that Beijing asks for on the part of other nations is an attempt to manipulate the local election outcome. Washington is doing the same thing. Beijing has learned its lesson and is keeping the bombast down, and getting the Bush Administration to run interference for it.

For Beijing, the nightmare scenario is a victory by Mr. Chen's candidate in the presidential election and a victory for Mr. Chen in the referendum. "Beijing's reaction will be the million-dollar question," said Chao Chien-min, an expert on cross-strait relations at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. "The Taiwanese government has been warned over and over of the dangers, yet it chooses not to respond," he said. "They will do anything to win the election. Beijing is worried that the situation will get out of hand."

Here the writer cites pro-KMT analyst Chao Chien-min (we've run across him before) who simply regurgitates standard pro-China propaganda claims. Frank Hsieh is not "Mr. Chen's candidate" but the candidate in his own right -- it is purely a bit of Beijing propaganda to regard Chen Shui-bian as the evil genius and nemesis of Beijing. In fact, Chen's preferred candidate is generally acknowledged to be Hsieh's running mate, Su. Note that Chao presents Taiwan as reckless and China as restrained ("worried"). Fact is, Beijing is not "worried" but is simply using the situation to advance the interests of the KMT in Taiwan.

Further, the acutely intelligent Hsieh is widely considered conciliatory and moderate on China issues, and can hardly be described as a "nightmare." It is also curious that the writer reproduces Chao's quote "they will do almost anything!" without putting it in the context of China's military threats. People who threaten to plunge the region into war to annex a neighboring territory are the ones who will "do almost anything."

So you know what's coming next: the familiar Beijing rhetorical prop of Mad Chen©:

Beijing's nemesis, Mr. Chen, must step down when his term expires in 2008. But he will remain in office for two months after the presidential election. And if he is energized by victories by his pro-independence party in the presidential vote and the referendum, he could seize the opportunity to take a bigger leap toward independence, perhaps on the assumption that China will not dare to launch a war in the final months before the Beijing Olympics. (China, meanwhile, has warned that it is willing to take military action against Taiwan in 2008 even if it means sacrificing the Olympics.)

The idea that President Chen will take "a bigger leap" toward independence if the DPP is successful is entirely a bit of Beijing propaganda. A lame duck president, with no control of the legislature, in a population that prefers the short-term status quo, with a military whose officer class is largely pro-China? You'd have to be mad to imagine that. Or have a memory like the movie Memento -- when Chen came to power the military told him, as they did with Lee before him, that they would not defend the country in the event of a declaration of independence. This pattern of the President of Taiwan being depicted as a provocative troublemaker did not start with Chen. Again, it is a shame that all this context is entirely missing.

"I think there is a real danger of miscalculation on both sides," Mr. Chao said. "Both sides don't really understand the true feelings of the other. There's a huge gap of misunderstanding. The people of Taiwan don't really sense the danger of the referendum because we're so accustomed to the name Taiwan. And China, for its part, doesn't realize that the referendum is only domestic politics with little to do with sovereignty."

Except for the last nine words, this is misleading. China has an excellent grip on local domestic politics here -- note that China is using proxies and foregoing the urge to launch missiles and make threats -- and is assiduously interfering in them through pressure on the referendum, as is the US, which favors the KMT because of the Bush Administration's obsessive focus on the Middle East, and in various other ways. All of this information is publicly available -- I've discussed it incessantly on my blog -- and it is a shame that Chao's words are reproduced here without this context.

The writer then supplies a sturdy little fantasy about how a war could result.

Susan Shirk, a former official in the U.S. State Department, has recorded in detail how a small incident in Taiwan could quickly escalate into a global crisis. In a book published this year, Ms. Shirk outlines one of the most likely scenarios that could lead to disaster.

The crisis would begin with an accidental collision between a Taiwanese jet and a Chinese jet in the Taiwan Strait. The news is quickly flashed around the Chinese Internet, and the pressure of public opinion compels China's leaders to respond aggressively. China's army is mobilized and Chinese students march in the streets, demanding military action against Taiwan.

You probably already guessed that Shirk apparently has no serious Taiwan experience (the thesis is taken from her new book China: Fragile Superpower). Her expertise is China-oriented, a major problem of US observers of this relationship. It is highly unlikely that such a scenario could result in war unless China felt it was ready -- as I've frequently noted, China will make war when it feels the time is right, and not before.

With so much space devoted to the piece, so much more could have been said. Japan, for example, is not even mentioned, yet the emerging security relationship between Japan and Taiwan could be a major deterrant/determinant of war. As Steve Yates pointed out in his presentation, some Japanese observers consider Taiwan to be a testing ground for the kinds of tactics used against Japan later. Sadly, the author chose to forego any complex, nuanced discussion of the issues, to produce a shallow scare piece. Aargh...!

(hat tip to Marc A. in Taipei for the pointer to the article)


The writer of the article, Geoffrey York, has asked me to post his response to a similar email. Here it is. I've snipped my comments to save space:


Response: nothing in my article said that Taiwan is a part of China. I referred to it as an "island", not a "province of China." It is accurate to call it "rebellious" because it is rebelling against the majority of the world community, including China and the United Nations and most of its members, who refuse to recognize Taiwan's claim to sovereignty. The Globe and Mail does not take a stance on the question of whether Taiwan is sovereign or not. Nothing in the article stated that Taiwan is a part of China. Can you actually deny that Taiwan is fighting against the majority of the countries in the world, which officially regard Taiwan as a province of China? Any island that fights against the official views of a majority of the members of the United Nations can surely be accurately described as rebellious.

[preparing for war]

Response: I never said that Taiwan is not preparing to defend itself. I never said that Taiwan is preparing to attack China. I merely noted that both sides have armed themselves with the ability to launch attacks on the other. You somehow imagined that I was accusing Taiwan of planning to launch a war -- a statement that I never made.

[infuriated is policy]

Response: Are you actually saying that China is not angry by some of Taiwan's actions, and that there are no tensions between the two countries? If so, perhaps you have some ability to read the minds of China's leaders?

[2008 is year of tension]

Response: I never said that tensions (and the risk of war) have never existed before. Just because war did not happen eight years ago is certainly no guarantee that it cannot happen in the future.

[explosive combination of events]

Response: But the referendum is new, of course.

[nightmare scenario, Chao comments]

Response: I never wrote that Hsieh is a "nightmare" -- again you are twisting my article to fit your own views. I actually wrote that the nightmare scenario for Beijing is a whole series of events happening together: a victory by Hsieh, a victory by Chen on the referendum, and Chen using those two victories to push the envelope further on independence. As for Hsieh, he is certainly the candidate of Chen's party, which is the point of my article. Moreover, you are contradicting yourself by claiming that Chen and Hsieh have totally different views, and then suggesting that Chen's views are similar to "the vast majority" of Taiwanese. Which is it? First you say that Chen's views are those of the majority, and then you portray him as an ally of Su. Finally, you twisted the quote about "they will do almost anything" and deliberately took it out of context. The quote refers to Chen doing "almost anything" to win an election, not to start a war. Then you talk about China doing "almost anything" when China had nothing to do with the quote.

[chen will make leap toward independence]

Response: Your comment is a partisan defence of Chen. That's fine, but admit you are partisan. You're also attempting to guarantee his future behaviour, as if you can guarantee that he will never do anything reckless. But many people -- including the United States government -- are not nearly as confident as you. It's entirely fair for my article to report those fears. Finally, my article does not attempt to say that Chen is more of a troublemaker than China. You imagined that my article said that, but there's nothing in my article to justify this view of yours.

[china and taiwan don't understand each other]

Response: you claim that China and Taiwan have perfect information about each other, that there is no danger of conflict, and that there is nothing dangerous in the referendum. This is clearly your personal viewpoint, but you don't provide any evidence to support it. You're entitled to express your personal views, but don't expect everyone else in the world to repeat it blindly in their articles.

[susan shirk's scenario]

Response: Susan Shirk is a serious and well-respected scholar. If you look at her book, it is a careful and serious analysis. If you want to reject her argument, you have to provide some evidence -- you can't simply accuse her of "trying to sell books." Certainly you don't defeat her argument by mentioning other flashpoints in the region -- that's beside the point.

[summary criticisms]

Response: As I've explained above, nothing in the article was "breathless" or "wrong-headed." Clearly you have very strong personal opinions on these issues, but you don't seem tolerant of anyone who doesn't share your personal views.

UPDATE: York is the Globe and Mail's Beijing Bureau Chief.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sec Rice's Comments

Jerome Keating reminds that Sec Rice's comments that the referendum is a "provocation" may be responded to at the following email addresses:

Be nice when you talk to the Administration, I'm sure it will be a new experience for them..... Alton Thompson over at Conductor's Notebook has a good response:

Dear Secretary Rice:

Like many Americans living in Taiwan I think your recent statement is a provocative action. It unnecessarily raises tensions between the democratic ideals Americans cherish and the policies of your administration. The statement promises no real benefits on the international stage for the people of either America or Taiwan. Or even China.

The moment was not worthy of you, Ms Rice. History has recorded your name already as a crucial player in the advancement of democracy. You were your country's Russia expert during the fall of the Soviet empire. The people of central and eastern Europe did not achieve peaceful liberation from their nightmare because you or your boss sent mixed messages from your side. The motto then was peace through strength, not status quo.

I think the US has reached the point of self-defeating overkill -- which may in fact be the goal. This bombast-by-proxy policy may be intended to have the opposite effect than it conveys on the surface. Perhaps they are just subtle...

...but I sorta doubt it. It should also be noted that the Chinese wanted Bush himself to make a statement, and instead they got Rice. Since westerners often get rice when they want something else in Chinese settings, it's only natural that we return the favor. (badda bing!). Sec. Rice's comments were certainly uncalled for, but it could have been worse....

I wish Chen would stop misrepresenting the referendum:

Responding to Rice, Chen said the referendum was an engagement the government had made in response to the request of the people.

"The referendum comes from the bottom up, from the 23 million people of Taiwan. The people took the initiative to make the proposal and enthusiastically put their signatures on the petition to sustain the referendum," Chen said.

The referendum was initiated by the DPP and approved by the people. It was not initiated by "the people." This is a game that is beneath our dignity. It might also be wonderful if Chen would shut up until the election and step down as Chairman of the DPP, but I haven't seen any pigs flying outside my window lately.... one thing everyone is saying is that they are tired of Chen, who says things that everyone is thinking, but probably should not be said by any major politician ('there's no cap on the Pacific ocean'). Is the DPP's strategy to make everyone sick of Chen, then trundle out Hsieh to hit the big time for the last six weeks of the campaign?

Adventures in the Borderlands

A new eye on the things around our house....

My friend Drew took me around a vast swing through northern Taichung and up to Fengyuan, and then around to Shihgang today for a look at some of the relics of bygone eras that lie around our area, largely unknown to foreigners.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Daily Links, Dec 22, 2007

I enlarged it a little, but here is a wonderful bit of progress on The Beautiful Isle: installed wind capacity on the rise (from the latest issue of the Taiwan Journal).

JOB SEARCH: A bit of personal news: given the recent events at our university, I have decided to look into warmer pastures down south. If anyone in Kaohsiung knows of a full-time university position in an AFL department for a Chinese-speaking foreigner, I'm interested in it.

What's out there on the blogs this week?

  • ROC the Boat points to a fine article on China's military build-up and also has a great report on the Heritage meeting on the UN referendum.

  • A-gu has another good post on the two-step referendum ballot. A-gu also rubbishes Ma Ying-jeou's hilarious and insulting claim to have been on the KMT blacklist and shows that Ma really does plan to sell out the island.

  • Formosa Neijia on the mafia presence in local martial arts and its sad results.

  • Johnny Z on the Hai An Road Temple celebrations. With pics. Fili on the same.

  • Scott discusses the survey on salaries for university students.

  • Taiwan Matters on the former government official who threatened Chen Shui-bian being released on bail.

  • Talking Taiwanese on bilingualism and diglossia in Taiwan.

  • The lovely Adelita reviews a veg restaurant in Taipei with some nice pics.

  • The Foreigner puts Taiwan's corruption in perspective.

  • Save the humpback dolphin blogs on the world's dirtiest power plant at WuChi in Taichung. I must have moved here for the reassuring familiarity: I used to live in Indiana, Pa, near two of the largest and most polluting power plants in the US, one built right atop a coal mine.

  • MEDIA: The CFR has a roundtable on the falling dollar. Nobel Laureate Lee laments Taiwan's lack of a sci-tech ministry. Despite KMT fables that our economy is failing, exports shot up 17% last month. Our industrial output is also up 11% on the year. Even as Condoleeza Rice was crapping on Taiwan's head, Sec of Defense Robert Gates was criticizing China's explanation for the Kitty Hawk affair as "specious" -- and that as our policy of engagement with China scored another success as China inked a major energy pact with Iran, totally undercutting Bush Administration policy there. I'm looking forward to the sequel to Memento, which I understand will be about US China policy.....

    Stray Media on Taiwan's Int'l Relations

    The always insightful Ting-i Tsai has a commentary in the Asia Times on the recent decision by the US to take a step back on the referendum. He argues that the US has reluctantly decided to live with it:

    Burghardt's approach, which deviated from that of other US officials in recent months, may have signaled that Washington has reluctantly decided to change course after concluding that its efforts to compel Taiwan's ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to drop the referendum were futile.

    Washington now appears willing to "tolerate" the referendum but is hoping to encourage its failure so that it will not be over-interpreted with expansive and elaborate statements on what the referendum means.

    Some US-based analysts believe that Burghardt's comments reflected a shift in attitude, prompted by Washington's realization that it could not have high expectations that Chen would drop the referendum.

    Bonnie Glaser, senior associate at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said she sensed that Washington had shifted to acceptance of the referendum after a meeting with a senior US official a few weeks ago.

    The view is echoed by Richard Bush, former chairman of the AIT and director of the Washington-based Brookings Institution's Center for Northeast Asian Policy Study. "The attitude [of Washington] has been shifting for some time," Bush said, as the US government has known for a while that the chances were pretty low that the DPP would abandon the referendum.

    The train of US officials speaking out against the referendum reached another high with Sec. Rice herself labeling it "provocative" in remarks yesterday, the day after she received a letter from two Congressmen asking the Administration to stop this unseemingly behavior. The BBC reports:

    At an end-of-year news conference at the state department, Ms Rice said: "We think that Taiwan's referendum to apply to the United Nations under the name 'Taiwan' is a provocative policy.

    "It unnecessarily raises tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and it promises no real benefits for the people of Taiwan on the international stage."

    Beijing has attacked the referendum, calling it a precursor to attempts to declare independence.

    It has consistently threatened to use force if that happens.

    Driving this wave of Bush Administration self-expression, I suspect, is the belief that Taiwan's voters actually correctly receive, interpret, and act on, warnings from the US. Tom Christensen, who has been particularly active in elaborating this policy of attacking the referendum on China's behalf, seems to hold this belief. Do people really care what the US says? How can they see what it is saying when everything that is reported here goes through the pro-Blue media's distortion machine?


    Max Hirsch of Kyodo News, consistently one of the best reporters on the island's affairs, has another insightful piece on the emerging importance of Japan in the domestic political battle here. I've been observing over the last couple of years how Japan's Taiwan policy has undergone a shift in response to China's challenge to Japan, a very favorable shift for Taiwan. Hirsch's piece elaborates on how this has affected Taiwan's internal struggles. Interesting bits highlighted (now in the Japan Times):

    Such is the significance of Japan to Taiwan's Mar. 22 presidential election, in which tacit support from the vital trading and strategic partner could make or break the diplomacy platforms of Ma and Hsieh. Hence, Japan has emerged as a key battleground in the political fight for Taiwan's top job, as both frontrunners scramble to curry favor with Tokyo.

    ''Obviously...both candidates put Taiwan-Japan relations front and center in this race,'' says Andrew Yang of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, a Taipei-based think tank.

    Concern in Tokyo over whether Taiwan's next president will ''exercise an independent voice'' for the island ''while avoiding miscalculations with Beijing'' is behind Tokyo's keen interest in the race, Yang says.

    Taiwan's growing interest in Japan, meanwhile, is obvious.

    Amid booming trade and tourism links, Japan's importance to Taiwan on security hit a zenith in 2005, when Tokyo joined Washington in referring to Taiwan as a ''common strategic objective'' -- a veiled reference to likely intervention by the United States and Japan in a Taiwan Strait conflict.

    China views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be united with the mainland, by force if necessary.

    Beijing's threats to attack the island have spurred Hsieh to capitalize on Japan's 2005 statement -- issued by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi -- by seeking U.S.-style security guarantees from Tokyo during his trip.

    However, fears abound in Taipei that the current prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda -- known for his ''China-friendly'' stance -- will back off of commitments to the island to soothe Beijing.

    ''We have a poster of Junichiro Koizumi tacked up in our office, but not of Prime Minister Fukuda,'' says DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim, who serves in Hsieh's campaign and runs foreign affairs for the DPP.

    ''It's not that we don't like [Fukuda]; it's just that we connect more with leaders like...Koizumi,'' she adds.

    All the more reason, then, for Ma and Hsieh to court Fukuda's administration. Bullish economic ties further explain why wooing Japan is more important in this race than in past races.

    Taiwan's trade with Japan, for example, totaled nearly US$63 billion last year, a record high allowing Japan to overtake the United States as Taiwan's second largest trading partner, after China. Taiwan for its part ranks fourth among Japan’s trading partners, while the two exchanged some 2.3 million tourists last year -- another record high.

    That both frontrunners sent their running-mates to the United States on goodwill visits before visiting Japan themselves, undermines another piece of conventional wisdom -- that Washington mainly arbitrates the island's geopolitical fate.

    Ma's trip to Japan was apparently very successful. The DPP places such importance on its relationship with Japan that its website is available in both Anglais and Japanese....


    Finally, from a blogger where the south polar star is found comes this tale of growing Chinese influence in the Cook Islands....

    Given the paucity of news in New Zealand media about events in our South Pacific neighbours, unless it is about coups, riots or cyclones, I’m not surprised there has been virtually no news here about the wonderful benevolence of China in the Cook Islands. But I am surprised there has been no coverage whatsoever here of the farewell speech given in Rarotonga a few days ago by the departing New Zealand high commissioner John Bryan, which received considerable publicity in the Cooks because of his candid thoughts on the China connection. It’s not as if our media did not know he was leaving – they have been speculating he will be replaced by NZ First MP Brian Donnelly.

    As the daily newspaper, the Cook Islands News, put it, career diplomats seldom express their views on important issues in public, so Bryan’s comments were all the more remarkable and worthy of reporting by the New Zealand media.

    “People are saying there is no such thing as a free lunch so what do the Chinese want in return for the assistance they are providing?” Bryan said. “There are lots of ideas floating around, including them wanting access to Cook Islands fishing grounds, the establishment of a fishing fleet in the northern group and the facilitation of migrants. May be there is an ounce of truth in that.”

    But what John Bryan believes to be China’s main interest is the Taiwan issue. There is great rivalry between China and Taiwan, the province that broke away after Mao’s communists took over the mainland in 1949 and which was recognised by most Western countries as the “official” China until the early 1970s. Some countries still recognise Taiwan rather than China, including Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. Almost unnoticed by the New Zealand media, China and Taiwan have been quietly competing for influence in the region, in much the same way, though not as nakedly, as Japan has been trying to buy the votes of Pacific nations at the International Whaling Commission. This makes it all the more disappointing that the New Zealand media missed John Bryan’s speech.

    Let me report what he said: “I think it comes down to the bitter rivalry that exists between China and Taiwan in securing diplomatic recognition across the Pacific. China advocates, and most members of the United Nations agree, that Taiwan is still a legitimate province of the mainland. Taiwan likes to think they are ‘autonomous’ and can operate accordingly. Several Pacific nations agree with them and they all have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. China would, of course, prefer these countries to respect the one China policy and they continue to try and persuade them to change allegiance. Some argue that this situation is the cause of what is commonly referred to as ‘chequebook diplomacy’ in the Pacific, where the one with the highest financial offering tends to win the battle for diplomatic recognition. Naturally China is concerned that the Pacific island countries that currently support China, including the Cook Islands, might also be courted by Taiwan and be persuaded to change diplomatic recognition. That is why I think they are enhancing their relationship with the Cook Islands and offering tangible assistance. Also, China sees the Cook Islands as having a very good reputation in the region and that they might have the ability to influence those Pacific countries who currently acknowledge Taiwan to change their diplomatic position towards China.”

    This is important stuff indeed. An almost unnoticed battle between Taiwan and China for diplomatic influence in our own backyard. These views are presumably what John Bryan was reporting back to Wellington, and what would have been reported from our other diplomatic missions in the region. The Cold War is long over, thank goodness, and China is our friend. But so is Taiwan. We have excellent relationships with both, and we are seeking a free trade deal with China, the first it is likely to sign with a Western country. This makes activities such as China’s and Taiwan’s in our region of more than passing interest, as we could easily be caught up in them. As reported last Sunday by The Hive, Niue has established diplomatic relations with China despite New Zealand being responsible for Niue’s foreign affairs. The Taiwan issue is apparent there, too.

    John Bryan’s opinions are of somewhat greater importance than what Lucy Lawless, Hollie Smith and Marcus Lush emote about whales, which the capital’s morning paper saw fit to make its page one lead yesterday. It would be nice to see his cogent, relevant views also get an airing in the mainstream media.

    Wow! I would have thought the NZ media would be more interested in South Seas nations, especially since the foreign relations of so many of them are entangled with New Zealand's.

    Friday, December 21, 2007

    Last Two Nelson Reports: Taiwan Highlights

    Chris Nelson of the Nelson Report is back from surgery and once again passing around insight into the Beltway Mind. Here's his latest excerpt on Taiwan affairs:


    It sounds like the private Chinese discussions of late mirror almost exactly much of the substance of concerns aired at Heritage, including what Taiwan law may require in the event either of the UN membership referenda are passed.

    Both US and Chinese experts seem increasingly convinced that one or the other will pass, although no one can predict that a DPP presidential victory automatically means the DPP referendum also will be approved...and vice versa for the KMT.

    But the real concern in both Washington and Beijing, at least, is that the DPP's Frank Hsieh will be president-elect, and also be faced with a successful DPP referendum AND a legal claim by President Chen that it has the force of law, no matter what Chen promised AIT's Ray Burghardt. [MT: This was corrected in the subsequent report: last night's Report (12/18) we mistakenly wrote that Taiwan president Chen Shuibian had already contradicted his promise to AIT head Ray Burghardt that the DPP referendum...if passed in March...would not have the force of law.

    We seem to have misunderstood a press question at the excellent Heritage Foundation discussion earlier in the day, and thought that a "what if" actually was a "he just said" problem.]

    The US has long been concerned about China's propensity for actions which seem disproportionate to the practical reality of DPP actions in a real world...see the Anti-Secession Law, especially.[MT: this would seem to imply that the State Department's position is that if it doesn't talk at Taiwan, China will launch fighters.]

    And China has long been concerned that even though it appreciates the strong rhetorical position of the Bush Administration toward DPP actions the US considers to be a risk to the peaceful status-quo, the US continues with manifestations of support (especially arms sales) which undercut the tough US line.[MT: But Jimmy Carter revealed last month that the Chinese had privately agreed to US arms sales in 1979. Isn't it time someone reminded them? ]

    So, in a sense, both China and the US now worry about what China may feel compelled to do, perhaps against its enlightened self-interest, in the event of a DPP sweep of the presidency and referendum votes.[MT: Yes, we heard this rhetoric in 2000. And in 2004. Four years later, a millon Taiwanese have sunk $150 billion into China and everyone moves freely in and out. China can send a concrete signal any time it likes by acting against Taiwanese interests in China. Instead, it has successfully transferred the costs of deterrence to the US-Taiwan relationship. ]

    The Bush/Yang, and now the Sun Yafu private meetings all seem aimed by China as spurring the US, and Bush personally, to even greater efforts to head-off the referendum vote.

    We asked Amb. Joseph Wu about that after his eloquent, even passionate defense of his president and the referendum at Heritage, and Dr. Wu frankly warned that at this point, there is no turning back...the vote on both the DPP and KMT referendum will take place as scheduled.

    Among the practical risks being incurred by Taiwan, discussants agreed, is that whatever one may think of the justice of the cause, the DPP policy puts in motion a dynamic in which China will feel justified in...for example...pressing for a UNGA [UN General Assembly] vote specifically endorsing Beijing's policy on "one China"...and perhaps even more likely, accelerating Beijing's "Dollar Diplomacy" against Taiwan's remaining formal diplomatic recognition partners around the world.[MT: It is highly unlikely that China will ever strip the ROC of its remaining diplomatic partners. That would isolate Taiwan and leave it unconnected to any version of China, encouraging further independence moves. A UN General Assembly vote is, from the propaganda standpoint, a thing to be feared.]

    At risk of getting ourselves into trouble, we felt it was notable that discussants John Tkacik, Harvey Feldman and others, even though clearly sympathetic to the thrust of the international space and Taiwan identity goals of the DPP, frankly warned that the referendum battle was counter productive to Taiwan's international position, and especially its relations with the United States.[MT: Note two things: first, Taiwan needs to find a way to fix this problem pronto; and second, all of the discussants and pro-Taiwan types are conservatives or Establishment scholars. There is no Dem China policy, and there is no progressive discussion of Taiwan. Start talking, readers: what can Taiwan do to fix this mess with the US? ]

    All discussants agreed that the Bush Administration has missed chances to actively sponsor Taiwanese international memberships in ways defined as acceptable to the PRC.
    A current example...China's notification to the ICAO of two new air routes which just happen to go down the center of the Straits and which could have the effect of curtailing Taiwanese defense interests (and therefore US interests).

    Despite having two major international airlines, Taiwan has not been supported for ICAO membership by the US, it was noted.


    UPDATE: ESWN has a link and translation to a blog in Chinese about the Heritage Meeting. Note how the events emphasized in the blog in Chinese are completely meaningless in the meeting account given by Nelson.

    Tancredo to Rice: Stop Interfering in Taiwan's Elections

    Tom Tancredo's (R-COL) office just forwarded me a copy of his latest effort on Taiwan's behalf: a joint letter of Tancredo and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to Sec of State Rice asking the Administration to stop its interference in Taiwan's elections. Go Tancredo! Here's the letter in its entirety:


    The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
    U.S. Department of State
    2201 C Street NW
    Washington, DC 20520

    Dear Secretary Rice,

    We are writing to ask that the State Department cease its repeated efforts to affect the outcome of the upcoming elections in Taiwan, and specifically, the outcome of the planned referendum on membership in the United Nations. Your department has already made its objections to the referendum quite clear, and we are concerned that continued public criticism of the measure by U.S. officials will only contribute to the perception that the U.S. is playing political favorites in Taiwan.

    Administration condemnations of the referendum have been numerous and public. In June, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack publicly urged people to reject the proposed U.N referendum. In August, John Negroponte arranged to appear on a Chinese television station to express U.S. opposition to the plebiscite, dangerously mischaracterizing it as “a step toward a declaration of independence.” A few days later, a National Security Council spokesman also blasted the referendum. Our AIT director in Taipei, Stephen Young has repeatedly criticized the proposal. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian affairs suggested that the “DPP referendum” is “inconsistent with President Chen’s inaugural pledges” (disregarding the fact that President Chen’s pledges were contingent on China not threatening to use force against the island). And just a few days ago, Raymond Burghardt publicly panned the upcoming vote as an obstacle to “develop[ing] relations across the Taiwan Strait.”

    One or two public statements would be quite sufficient to convey the Administrations position to Taiwan’s elected officials on this matter. It is not necessary to continue dispatching an endless parade of U.S. officials to denounce and attack the proposal over a six month stretch while parroting the terminology used by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Doing so is not just unseemly, it is totally unnecessary. Given the vibrant debate on the issue inside Taiwan and the widely varying opinions on the wisdom and efficacy of the referendum among Taiwan’s numerous political parties, the Department’s sustained interference will do little more than contribute to what has already become a troubling – and unfortunately quite understandable – perception in Taiwan that the U.S. government is choosing sides in their elections.

    We hope the Administration will refrain from orchestrating any further interference in the referendum question and will instead allow Taiwan’s political leaders, political parties and people to make this decision on their own. The people of Taiwan have earned the right to conduct their elections without coercion from our government, the government of the People’s Republic of China, or anyone else – and we should respect their right to do so.


    Tom Tancredo, M.C.
    Dana Rohrabacher, M.C.


    "One or two public statements would be quite sufficient to convey the Administrations position to Taiwan’s elected officials on this matter. It is not necessary to continue dispatching an endless parade of U.S. officials to denounce and attack the proposal over a six month stretch while parroting the terminology used by the Chinese Foreign Ministry."

    Yup. Good stuff, gentlemen.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Day here and night there

    Last week did a bit of walking.....but didn't use these boots, which my student assured me were really useful when she was bored in class.

    Drove over to Hsin Tien ("new field") between Tanzi and Fengyuan for some enjoyable hiking on the trails in that area with Jim of Sponge Bear fame.

    The road to the hiking area is on Fenghsing Rd. across from this cute police station....

    ...and up this road.

    A sign points the way.

    There's a large parking lot....

    ...with the inevitable KTV next door. Although it was only 8:30 am, singers were already going strong...or perhaps they were left over from the previous night.

    Trails criss-cross the area, all accessible from the trailhead lined with vendors.

    The walkways are in good condition and well developed.

    Not very steep, in most cases, except for the intial ascent to the ridgeline.

    If the day hadn't been so hazy -- a hazard of late fall and winter when the weather in Taichung is sunny and typhoon-free, the views would have been excellent.

    As it was, there was plenty of wildlife...

    ...and small farms in the valleys. And finally, we reached that fabled spot, long rumored to exist somewhere in the mountains of Taiwan, where KTVs cannot be heard.

    Taiwan's trails are filled with senior citizens, all of whom are in better shape than I am, judging from the ease with which they blow by me on the stairs.

    After we descended from the ridge, we ran across this fellow making off with a load of old tires he'd rescued from a pile near the side of the road.

    The road wound through the usual collection of irrigation canals and betel nut groves.

    One thing not so common anymore: furniture dumping. Years ago, when I lived in Taipei, people used to routinely dump old furniture on roadsides or off of bluffs and cliffs. That behavior seems to be on the wane.

    We came to this lovely bridge which led.... nowhere.

    Last week I also had a good time walking around Tainan in the evening.

    At dinnertime the bus stations and trains are filled with high school and junior high students making their way home. Taiwan's 14 hour working day begins in junior high school.

    No! Don't eat that!

    A small shopping center in Tainan lit up at night.

    A well presented selection of edibles.

    Across from a small vocational high school, students gather at tea stands.

    A large store and theater complex.

    Tainan's alleys are just as mysterious by night as by day.

    Speaking of mysterious, why did someone leave (1) glasses, (2) a hat; and, (3) a die atop this transformer?

    A temple by night.

    Children at play.

    The Indian restaurant in Tainan. Haven't tried it yet.

    Monks chanting in a local temple.

    A market, silent at night.

    Mother and child vanish into the darkness....

    A small stir-fry place sets out its food for the evening rush.

    Stopping for a bowl on a warm winter evening.

    A temple at the end of an alley.

    Laying down the concrete.

    The Hangout, a local bar.

    Get tanned in Kenting instead. It's more fun.

    Cosby's in Tainan. Most of the food is forgettable, but the NY Strip Steak is not to be missed.