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Taiwan, HK shouldn't quit roles as China culture shapers

Public sentiments in Taiwan and Hong Kong have recently been boiling in anti-China localism. In Taiwan, the worry of mainland Chinese influence has been the main rallying point in the student-led Sunflower Movement. The warning “Let not Taiwan become another Hong Kong” can be heard in the Sunflower protests, referencing the loss of the “authentic” Hong Kong to the influence of mainland Chinese politics, capital and tourists.

In Hong Kong, a row over a mainland child urinating in public during his family's visit to the city recently escalated the already simmering local discontent against some unruly Chinese tourists into a divisive open conflict between Hong Kongers and mainlanders. It happened months after some Hong Kong protesters confronted a group of mainland tourists outside a luxury store, calling them “locusts” and “Shina” (a term used by the Japanese to describe Chinese people during the World War II occupation).

While there are genuine causes of grievance and concern in both Taiwan and Hong Kong, their strong reactions underline their sense of insecurity and fear for their culture under an increasingly assertive mainland China. In this context, the localist — and protectionist — sentiments in both places are signs not of strength but of their lack of confidence. The urge to distance Taiwan and Hong Kong from China has become a mainstay in recent protests.

Such drive for de-sinification, however, is misplaced because both regions underestimate their own cultural and political significance in the global Chinese consciousness. Taiwan and Hong Kong, which have been leading the trend of Chinese culture for the past decades, should not just give up their say in all matters Chinese to the mainland.

While many see Chinese history as the story of the Middle Kingdom, modern China has always been influenced by people living outside the mainland. It was true from the very beginning. The Republic of China was founded by revolutionists led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who studied and practiced medicine in Hong Kong and Macau before becoming an expat in the U.S.

That trend has become even more obvious in the past decades. One of the biggest Chinese icons in recent history is Bruce Lee, who was born in the U.S. and made his name in Hong Kong. In fact, the whole Chinese kung fu movie genre was invented by the late Hong Kong film mogul Run Run Shaw.

April 29, 2014    skylarjones@
There's also Gu Long whose novels are just as influential as Louis Cha's, he wrote from Taiwan.
April 29, 2014    harry@
"Taiwan and Hong Kong, which have been leading the trend of Chinese culture for the past decades, should not just give up their say in all matters Chinese to the mainland"

Not in all matters, no, but they should be willing give up their freedom, right?
April 29, 2014    hsushia@
You wrote: One of the biggest Chinese icons in recent history is Bruce Lee. Excuse me? I mean: using Bruce Lee to illustrate how Hong Kong can be a culture shaper for China? What does this have to do with eradicating the "genuine causes of grievance and concern in both Hong Kong and Taiwan"? What beautiful imaginary pan-Chinese universe do you live in? One in which my family, at least, does not wish to join you in.
April 29, 2014    jonathanhsh@
….their strong reactions underline their sense of insecurity and fear for their culture under an increasingly assertive mainland China…

Sorry, but no.
Our strong reaction underlines our sense of being sold out to China by an egotistical autocratic self-delusional leader of Taiwan. This editorial underlines your deep-blue sense of insecurity and fear of our increasing assertiveness.
April 29, 2014    my5cents@
What Taiwan is genuinely concerned about is this.
Chinese investment in Taiwan in the first quarter fell 90.83 percent to US$12.75 million from a year earlier. Meanwhile, Taiwanese investment in China grew 28.97 percent in the first quarter from a year ago to top US$2.8 billion, the commission said.

Yes! Chinese investment has reached $12.75 million, or about what my in-laws spent on liquor at the last wedding in the family. Meanwhile capital that could be growing Taiwan is still flowing into China as China continues to be the abyss into which Taiwan's future is poured.

CP, please give us your opinion piece on this kind of factual information. Thank you.
May 2, 2014    carltanong@
my5cents@ wrote:
What Taiwan is genuinely concerned about is this.
Chinese investment in Taiwan in the first quarter fell 90.83 percent to US$12.75 million from a year earlier. Meanwhile, Taiwanese investment in China grew 28.97 percent in the first quarter from a year ago to top US$2.8 billion, the commission said.

Yes! Chinese investment has reached $12.75 million, or about what my in-laws spent on liquor at the last wedding in the family. Meanwhile capital that could be growing Taiwan is still flowing into China as China continues to be the abyss into which Taiwan's future is poured.

CP, please give us your opinion piece on this kind of factual information. Thank you.
COMMON SENSE

When our businessman invest in the Mainland. That is good fortune to earn huge profit from their investment.

Remember. If we don't go in. Other country will go in. And already they are in.

Did u hear the news that France have requested the Mainland to send policemen to help their French policemen to protect the Chinese tourist that FLOCK into France. That means France earn profit from Chinese tourist.

As your per say "$12.75 million, or about what my in-laws spent on liquor at the last wedding in the family". You are so exaggerating.

When we attend wedding and birthday party from the big shot here. More or less they just spend is around 20M PESOS or 450K $ foods and liquor.

May 3, 2014    my5cents@
"When our businessman invest in the Mainland. That is good fortune to earn huge profit from their investment" (2 May)

Yes, only to bring in more money to the 1% of Taiwan's population that's already swimming in it.

"As your per say "$12.75 million, or about what my in-laws spent on liquor at the last wedding in the family". You are so exaggerating"

Are you incapable of understanding irony??

That part about France: Are you ok (i.e. healthy)?
May 3, 2014    kingarthur@
I agree with My5cents. Both ECFA and the current services pact are projects that benefit the Very Rich Few in Taiwan: Big finance, Big corporations, and Organized Crime.

In acknowledgement of this, Taiwan's the official stats bureau announced earlier this week that it is going to stop publishing the ratio between the top and bottom of Taiwan's income groups.

It will now become more difficult to discuss income inequality in Taiwan. That ratio of top/bottom incomes is a powerful indicator of the level of income inequality in Taiwan, a worsening problem which is linked to two major trends since 1990: financial liberalization, and closeness to China, both of which have been massively beneficial to the Very Rich Few.

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