China · Taiwan

Random thoughts – new leaders, on the run in Taipei, and mass shootings

Just have some quick thoughts on recent news.
First is that it’s never good when murders happen, and it’s certainly never good when mass murders of kids happen. As many know, last Friday, terrible school tragedies occurred in both the US and China. In the US, 26 kids and teachers in a primary school were killed by a lone gunman who then killed himself while in China, a guy knifed over 20 kids in a school as well. The kids in China all survived though, which was in part due to the fact the guy only used a knife, in start contrast to the US attack, where the murderer used automatic guns. A lot of talk has broken out recently on the need for more gun control in the US, with even the president Baraka Obama having some strong words on this issue. I would think this is long overdue. The US is famous for its lax, or relaxed, private gun ownership rights which allow civilians to buy automatic weapons almost as easily as if buying something at the supermarket (Michael Moore’s Bowling in Columbine illustrated this problem excellently). The US has had many mass public shootings in the past 2 decades, including several this year already.

Japan elected an old leader to be their new leader Sunday, which means China, the US, and Japan all have new leadership regimes. OK, the US leadership isn’t new since Obama got reelected, but there will likely be new faces in his Cabinet, especially to replace Hillary CLinton as Secretary of State. Meanwhile Japan gets a new leader practically every year so it’s not a certainty that Shinzo Abe, who was previously premier in 2006, will last long. Already he’s come out with some tough talk about China and the Diaoyutais, and is promising economic reforms. Whatever happens, I feel it’s likely that China’s new leadership will be in power longer than Japan’s. Incidentally South Korea will elect a new leader tomorrow as well. Come to think of it, Taiwan also had presidential elections this year (with incumbent Ma Ying-jeou repeating his win in 2008) and Hong Kong got a new leader too in July. It’s interesting that Japan’s political situation is so messed up, as supposedly is its economy, yet the country remains prosperous, stable and peaceful. On the other hand, it’s clear that its prosperity is receding as its big companies lose their competitive edge and market shares, and its economy remains stagnant. One wonders if Taiwan will share the same fate. Japan is still miles ahead of China in many aspects such as living standards and international brands of course, but slowly and surely, China is closing the gap. Abe’s tough talk aside, can he do anything to change this? It’ll be interesting to see how he does.

And here’s a random interesting news from Taiwan today- a big mainland Chinese businessman was arrested hiding in Taipei, of all places, while on the run from police in China. Apparently he was hiding in Macau, where he picked up a Taiwanese mistress who then helped him come to Taiwan secretly. She also, in a very generous gesture, helped his wife come over to Taiwan too. This is quite extraordinary because one, mainlanders cannot easily come to Taiwan, mainly just for study, travel, or as spouses to Taiwanese and for this guy to come to hide out in Taiwan was really ballsy. Two, he had a Taiwanese mistress, usually it’s the other way around, so I’m a little glad to see this, who helped him and his wife. Talk about threesomes.

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