Thoughts on China’s Political Development

The end of history
Starting with The End of History, where it is argued that variation of liberal democracy will be the final form of government. One key premise in that thesis is: successful industrialization will inevitably create an educated middle class that demands democracy. An indicator of when they will happen, as noted by Francis Fukuyama is when the country have around USD6,000 purchasing power (in 1992 PPP USD). This premise has largely been correct since its pronouncement, with the exception of Singapore and a handful of resources-rich states where purchasing power could increase purchasing power without actual industrialization. As of now China is at USD7,400 per capita PPP which is the equivalent of about USD4,700 in 1992, the index base of the USD6,000 figure. While there is some low-level movement towards democracy, its has largely been negligible. Freedom house gave China the exactly the same score in 2002 and 2010: political rights 7 and civil liberty 6 (7 being least free, 1 most free). Some have suggested (as have Fukuyama) instead of democracy, Chinese communist party (CCP) might push towards a soft-authoritarian political system akin to Singapore, the only industrialized exception to the stated premise. Continue reading


Why is Taiwan so in love with Japan?

This is going to be a short and “speculative” post, meaning i am not going to do the research to back up my claims. its all going to be base on my impressions and general understanding. Why? Because its 9am and i havent slept.

So, what is Taiwan so in love with Japan? was one of many topics discussed last night. I personally  have heard this question asked quite a few times, and its almost without exceptions from a Japanese.

my speculative answers to the question below:

1. Its because Japan were better colonial rulers than the subsequent Chinese KMT*.
This claim is of course base on my impression. It is also possible that such impressive was fueled by propaganda from the anti-KMT movement.

2. Its because Taiwanese nationalist like to empathize their Japanese and dutch colonial history to build a Taiwanese national identity that is distinguished from the mainland Chinese. Every wonder why the name “Formosa” is used as much as it is? Because its a name given to Taiwan from their dutch colonial masters. The cable news channel launched  by senior member of the pro-independent nationalist DPP is of course named Formosa TV.

3. As the first Asian country to industrialize, Japan is able to start their culture development first. That means Japan compare to other Asian countries have a more developed fashion industries, pop culture industries, and have a domestic market that is in general more culturally sophisticated. When post-industrial Taiwan can afford to pay attention to culture and other sophistication they look to the United States and Europe then Japan as the only non-western alternative culture center.

*I distinguish the post-colonial KMT as Chinese and foreign because it was not democratically elected by people of Taiwan. Obviously time have changed, KMT in its current state is unquestionably Taiwanese, not Chinese.