Erenlai - Governance and Its Discontents 世界需要新藍圖
Governance and Its Discontents 世界需要新藍圖

Governance and Its Discontents 世界需要新藍圖


Good governance requires blending and satisfying opposing views. What rules of conduct and transparency should apply to enterprises, nation-states and international organizations? Does globalization require new models of governance? The materials here throw light on the world of developmental politics.


週五, 29 六月 2012

Got Beef with President Horse?

Is Ma Yingjiu truly the son of Satan?

Upon being reelected in the 2012 presidential election this January, Ma Yingjiu (or Horse England Nine1, as one of my former students called him), must have felt the calm satisfaction of a job well done. He had just defeated a fairly strong opposition by a very tight margin, and would have four more years of control to shape Taiwan the way he saw fit. Little did he know that just five months down the line, he would be the target of (almost) everyone’s criticism.

週四, 07 七月 2011

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Sequel

“Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, written in the 14th century, is the most popular Chinese historical novel, based on the tumultuous history of the country during the second and third centuries. A cultural icon, it has lost nothing of its evocative power, revived through TV series, mangas and videogames. Throughout the centuries, its over-complex plot has also provided the Chinese political scene with endless analogies, helping politicians and commentators to assess power relationships, strategies and claims to legitimacy.

No wonder that the “Three Kingdoms” metaphor is still in use. And it serves today to describe the somehow subdued battle going on between the three main ideological forces that divide the Chinese intellectual spectrum, all of them trying to define policy making and future institutional transformations. Roughly speaking, the “Three Kingdoms” are now referred to as Confucianism, Christianity and a populist form of Maoist revival.

Let us start with the latter “Kingdom”: Bo Xilai (薄熙来), Party secretary of Chongqing Special Municipality and a scion of a prominent Communist family, has built up his popularity on the eradication of local mafias (or its substitution by new factions), the building of scores of social housing, and the chanting in group and on TV of revolutionary songs of the past. He has somehow reshaped a “spiritual civilization” based (a) on the comfort of small groups fostering mutual support through chanting together and participating in community activities, (b) on nostalgia for less corrupt times, and (c) on the reassertion of the quasi-religious nature of the Party.  Strangely enough, the model has proven effective, and is now embraced by a growing number of national and local cadres, making the ones who embrace the revival of the Party and the enshrinement its history leading contenders in the political battles to come. For sure, the ultimate motivations behind Bo’s launching of the “Red songs campaign” remain unclear, but it any case it has initiated a movement that has implications going beyond his personal political future. Current dissatisfactions as to inflation and unemployment may give more impetus to this peculiar form of populism.

Confucianism fits better the mind of the leaders and intellectuals who envision the future of China as a continuation and refinement of the current model: meritocracy is the core value, a meritocracy mainly based on technical and administrative expertise; virtue is to be extolled, along with obedience and sense of order; “scientific development” associates with uncritical reverence for China’s long past (while the Populist-Maoist model relies more on generational nostalgia and short-term memory); caution and wisdom anchored into the ruminating of Chinese classics have to predominate over daring attempts at change, so prone is the country to disorder and division.

Finally, “Christianity” is fostered by the rapid growth of Christian churches, joined by people aspiring to a spiritual experience anchored in both personal and community life; at the same time, it clearly posses political undertones as it goes with aspiration to personal freedom and rights understood in the Western sense; such aspiration ultimately implies to relax or even to overcome the Party-State’s overall control on society. “Christians’ are thus often assimilated to people aspiring towards a Western-leaning model, and such people can also be found in leading circles. An example is the one provided by the economist Zhao Xiao (赵晓), who has equaled the historical achievement of the West with its adhesion to Christian beliefs and has converted to Christianity. During the last few years and months, spiritual and political values have been more clearly associated than was the case at the beginning of the “religious fever’ tide, with tensions and debates consequently growing.

“Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is characterized by the intricacy of its plot and the innumerable changes of alliances and fortune that occur. It would thus be unwise to see in the three “Kingdoms” now emerging the sole actors of an ever-evolving drama. But the understanding of the Characters who appear on the stage at a given moment of time might help all observers to better follow the plot yet to unfold.

Photo: C.P.

週五, 23 十月 2009















週三, 21 十月 2009

The Four Year Development of Tourism in Taipei County

Wei Ding-Lung outlines Taipei County’s tourism vision for past 3 years and this year.

Attached media :
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週三, 02 九月 2009

The Aftermath of Typhoon Morakot

On August 7-10, Typhoon Morakot’s torrential rains devastated southern Taiwan. At least 600 people died under the giant mudslides triggered by the typhoon. More than three weeks after the disaster, the psychological and political aftershocks are still felt throughout the island. The raging debate has become increasingly multilayered:

- The first debate has been about the dismal performance of the forecasting system, unable to predict the deluge that has engulfed the southern part of the island.

- The second one, and the most damaging politically, has focused on the slow response of the central government. President Ma Ying-jeou, it has been argued, has shown that he was not a strong and capable leader. From the start, he had appointed a cabinet of technocrats insensitive to real life issues and popular feelings. And he has focused so much on bettering relationships with China that he has forgotten to tackle Taiwan’s everyday concerns. Whatever the fairness of these allegations, they have suddenly altered drastically his public image, with consequences so far-reaching that they are still difficult to predict.

- Though they have not taken the brunt of political criticisms, local governments have not fared much better than the Center. They sometimes have been slow to request external help. Roads and other public facilities might have been so inadequate because public works contracts are given out by local powers in dubious fashion; however, the “Green” counties of the South have been keen to shift the blame towards the central government.

- Quite logically, the attention now focuses on the poor quality of public works, deforestation and general neglect of environmental imperatives, which might explain the amplitude of the mudslides. Political leaders are not the only ones to blame. The strife towards rapid profit and Taiwan society’s indifference to long-term issues account for the rapid ecological deterioration, especially in mountain areas, which might trigger similar disasters in the future.

- The prayer tour conducted by the Dalai Lama has opened up a new front: political motivations have been invoked, as the invitation made by Green local leaders is deeply embarrassing for Ma Ying-jeou, who could not reject the Dalai Lama’s application without further political consequences but has now to deal with China’s anger. Meanwhile, not all Taiwanese religious leaders have reacted enthusiastically to the coming of the Dalai Lama: many victims from the mountainous area were aborigine, thus probably Christians. Taiwanese Buddhist leaders fear the growing influence of Tibetan Buddhism on their own flock; and Chinese religion associations have pointedly underlined the “efficacy” of traditional memorial services and rituals…

- Once avidly watched, medias have also suffered from a backlash: their unbridled sensationalism, the relentless flow of often meaningless reports and interviews and the competition among TV channels have illustrated once again the very poor quality of information service in Taiwan. Medias now appear as the main profiteers of a national disaster.

- One positive effect of the disaster has rarely been noticed: Civil society has very quickly taken up relief work (from the outset of the disaster in fact), without public support, and newly relying on Internet Social Networks, especially through Plurk, preferred by many young Taiwanese activists to Twitter. Once again, Taiwan has shown that its main strength lies in its robust civil society that works independently from the public and media apparatus. A positive inheritance from the way Taiwan’s democratization came about.

The typhoon has thus proven to be a social and cultural revelation. Taiwanese have experienced once again the ills that come with short-term vision and concerns, and have strongly expressed their political disillusions. At the same time, their natural gift for self-introspection and for self-organization has been as remarkable as has been the case in previous circumstances, such as after the massive earthquake that happened ten years ago. The problem is now to draw the right lessons from the disaster, and to resolutely orient Taiwan towards sustainability and proper use of land resources. A global challenge that new social networks might help to spell out for the greater good of a traumatized society looking for meaning, purpose and unity…

週四, 20 八月 2009


圖片來源/台大批踢踢實業坊 Emergency板










週三, 12 八月 2009














週三, 12 八月 2009





事實上,諸如拉斯維加斯、澳門等大型賭場的收入並不僅來自博弈,因其多屬綜合性度假村(Integrated Resort, IR),其利潤僅三到四成來自博弈,其他多來自表演、會議、餐飲、購物等。且博奕事業合法化不僅可將地下經濟化暗為明,亦可豐富地方與國家財源。如澳門的國內生產毛額之成長主要來自賭場收入,進而附帶提升娛樂、旅館、當舖、珠寶、房地產等等。此種模式讓澳門在2007年的博奕產業總收入達到92億美元。










週三, 29 七月 2009


口述/朱賢哲 整理/林思慧 攝影/林勝發

得獎紀錄:2007 南方影展最佳紀錄片
2008 入圍台北電影節 台北電影獎
2008 台灣國際紀錄片雙年展 【國際競賽短片】優等獎

2005年,我從新聞得知SARS期間被媒體封為「落跑醫師」的周經凱醫師(註) 的一件官司在法院獲得勝訴。這個消息引起了我的興趣,透過管道我拜訪到周醫師,才知道原來在那個時候,周醫師是SARS期間和平醫院封院過程中受到最重懲處的人。我感到荒謬,和平封院是何等大事,如果必須追究責任,怎麼會是如周醫師這樣層級的人來負擔?這個疑惑,激起了我拍攝《穿越和平》的念頭。接下來的一年半,我開始走訪和平封院時期的相關當事人,為拍片作準備。










週五, 12 六月 2009

The Resilience of the Party-State Model

It is now official: from July on, Ma Ying-jeou will add to the position of President of Taiwan, that of Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT). The move is hardly surprising: Ma has difficulties in controlling his own party; he needs stronger leverage over the parliamentary group, to impose nominees during the next elections, and to make his policies prevail, notably when it comes to relationships with China. Furthermore, presiding over the KMT should allow him, eventually, to meet with Hu Jintao – and such a meeting will be one between two party chiefs, thus putting aside many embarrassing questions about protocol and Taiwan’s international status.

This might be a smart political move – but hardly a laudable one. It shows how resilient remains the model of the Party-State in Taiwan – a stain in an otherwise democratic political culture. Both the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party structures were shaped according to the Leninist model, which draws out a way of controlling and monopolizing power, independently from any ideological content. The Party-State model has even inspired the party that was founded to oppose the Kuomintang’s dominant position, i.e. the DPP. During the time of the Chen Shui-bian‘s presidency, Chen was sometimes the party’s chairman, and sometimes not, according to circumstances. Also, the DPP showed some disquieting signs of trying to substitute itself to the control of the State apparatus as was done previously held by the KMT. Due to the minority position of its internal division on the Legislative Yuan it was prevented from doing so. Its revival and moral status as an opposition party will largely depend on its capacity to fully modernize its political outlook and to further contribute to Taiwan’s democratization. There is no “providential man (or woman)” who will save the DPP and Taiwan by concentrating all powers between their hands, as some supporters still seem inclined to believe.

In a fully democratic culture, a Chief of State should not preside over a political party (though of course he often unofficially retains ultimate control over the one from which he comes.) The Chief of State has to keep the moral capacity of being a referee in times of troubles or national division. Conversely, in a parliamentary regime, the Prime Minister can be the chief of the party holding the majority: a Chief of State, who only enjoys limited powers, still incarnates the State’s legitimacy. This might sound like a formal requirement, but it has profound significance, and the fact that Taiwan’s Presidents are still prone to double-up as party chiefs, is a sad remanent from the political past of the country.

There is another reason to lament the taking-over of the KMT’s chairmanship by Ma Ying-jeou: Clearly, China is in favor of developing party-to-party negotiations. The reconstitution of a Party-State structure, even if mitigated by Taiwan’s otherwise democratic institutions, makes it easier for China to engage Taiwan in a political agreement on its own terms. Should Taiwan play its hand by mimicking the Party-State structure that is at the core of China’s system, or should it remain faithful to the spirit that has made it the most vibrant Asian democracy, and thus continuing to offer to China the insight that comes from its political experiment?

Clearly, the new atmosphere that reigns between China and Taiwan has many beneficial aspects, and is conducive to changes not only for the nature of the cross-strait relationship but also, potentially, on China’s political system. However, there is a question mark about the course on which Taiwan is ready to embark further smoothen the relationship and about the nature of the concessions it is ready to make to that effect. The fact that the Chief of State will become once again Chairman of the KMT is bringing back a strong stench of the past, and is sending the wrong signal.

(Drawing by Li Jinyuan)

週二, 12 五 2009




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週五, 01 五 2009

From City Network to Network City

Jürgen Rosemann introduces here the the transformation of the Randstad Holland. Click on the right part of the presentation to go to the next page (click on the left part to go back to the previous page).

Attached media :
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