週五 2014年03月21日, 5:17 下午【點此取得本文短網址】
2014/03/21 作者: 林孟潔
Christopher Hughes教授十分猶豫到底應不應該把這張照片上傳到個人網頁。他的研究興趣聚焦於中國外交政策、兩岸關係與國族認同，每年都會飛到東亞待一段時間做研究。禮拜四是他固定的OFFICE HOURS，本周正逢台灣服貿抗爭風波，作為研究兩岸關係、剛與馬總統會面的英國政治學者，他對此表達了觀察與想法。
但中國並不是這樣的地方，你能夠數出多少真正具有原創性和創新的產品/技術是完全源自中國？中國擅長的地方，是吸引外資，以及量產(非原創性)商品，研究發展部門(Research and Development)是羸弱的，雖然在近些年有好轉，但仍然遠遠不及美國、日本與歐洲。但好的人才、有能力創新的人才，大部分都不願意留在中國，他們都去了別的地方。為什麼要留在中國？很重要的一點是，對於那些有創新能力的人才而言，他們甚至不能夠自由的呼吸。媒體、言論、民主等自由是不可能置外於追求經濟創新的整體環境的。例如，科學家也不是總是待在實驗室裡，晚上他們可能會想去散步、去看戲去聽音樂會、呼吸新鮮空氣，希望他們的孩子在安全的環境下長大。並不是單單把錢砸在研究機構裡就可以。中國砸了多少錢在研發創新部門但卻不能夠達致相對應的成效，關鍵便是肇因於此。
I couldn’t recall the detail of the conference I attended in Taiwan last year, but I remember that there was this big discussion about ECFA. I was quite skeptical about ECFA. Was it necessary? Why do you even need ECFA, really? Even if you look at KMT, the impact on GDP is relatively small, much smaller than predictions. And there are a lot of political arguments made about it. There are a lot political than economic I think, both sides, for and against. For the Ma administration, they had to show some progress on the cross-strait relations to get some support from Beijing. The arguments they made were that we have to compete with South Korea. This is not really an argument. If you’re competing with South Korea, it’s hopefully high-technology. Now that is already covered by WTO.
The big problem for Taiwan is not economic. I’m not an economist, but I speak in an economic sense. I’m not from Taiwan, you know…you know more about Taiwan. The problem is domestic, the structure of Taiwanese industry, the business practices, and financial sectors. The fact that it’s very easy for Taiwanese businesses is to use cheap labor and land in China. It means that there’s no incentive to upgrade Taiwanese industry, so the more businesses in China, the less incentive to actually restructure Taiwan’s own domestic industry. And so essentially, Taiwan is losing its technology now, very little, in terms of new developments in products. And you have a lot of advantages in the language and so on. It’s much easier for Taiwanese businesses to work in China, much easier than South Korea.
So the argument they hold, you know, that the South Korea got this trade agreement with China. If we don’t have one we’d be frozen up. I don’t think these arguments really stand up, they’re more political. That was one of the big arguments Ma’s administration made over ECFA constantly. And during the election in 2008, it was a big part of Ma’s campaign that South Korea signed FTA with China, and have much easier access to China’s market and we’ll be frozen up from south east Asia. I don’t think it’s really economical thought, it’s much more political. It diverts the real attention away from the real problems, which is Taiwan itself. Domestics, manufacture, R&D. Also the financial sectors were still not properly reformed.
I think if you look at those issues, Taiwan has had a lot of advantages. Still, with china, the economy. Going back to… it wasn’t KMT who started, it was DPP. They speak open a lot to Chinese mainland economy. That was very easy. I mean it couldn’t go wrong, even I could run a business like that, I guess. So In some ways, it was good for Taiwan’s economy, but it was a bit too easy. It made Taiwan’s economy become very dependent on China. Not enough effort was put into the global aspect, with the EU, with the US. And all its attention is China, China, China. And that led to dependency, distortion, in economy.
So now the trade services agreement. You have to ask what is the need for this, who is going to really benefit from this? So who are the winners and losers? But it also deliberates political issues… what are the political implications for Taiwan. We’re all looking at Hong Kong, of course. And you can see there, what happens when you become dependent on Chinese economy. And it’s used for political leverage. To press freedom, to control the media, the academic freedom… all of these things are reflected by this huge economical leverage.
Q: Might Taiwan be the next Hong Kong after the Service Agreement is passed?
I would imagine that’s why those students are upset or worried. And I think there are a lot of good reasons for that, and it’s up to the government of Taiwan to ensure that it’s done properly with the safe guards. And I don’t think there’s any trust in Ma’s administration. I mean, what’s their intention? What does Ma really want? Group of advisors were around him.
The Agreement hasn’t passed (when I was in Taiwan), but it was being discussed last year. I go every year to Taiwan to do some research, to China as well, to see both sides.
You can’t separate economic influence from political influence because china’s policy is clearly to use economic influence for its political purposes. It’s China’s official policy to use economic influence to achieve unification. That’s an open public policy, there’s no secret about that. So there’s no separation. The question there is: how does Taiwan deal with that? Do you pretend, “oh there’s a separation, that these are purely pragmatic economic matters, we can separate it from politics.” You can’t state that. That’s not how they see it in Beijing at all. For them, economics and politics are the same thing. It goes back a long way for the Chinese communist party.
Q: Is the connection with other nations apart from China possible?
I think it’s possible, and it’s worth a try, but Ma’s administration hasn’t even tried it. Their policy all along… if you look at Ma’s policy, which really goes back to 2005, 胡連會, where they had the agreement. That’s really where this situation comes from. Ma’s policy in 2008, where he ran for the presidency, purely focused on the cross-strait relations. There was not really any foreign policy. There was only one page, you know, something… we’ll do something with America… but it was really nothing. If we can just get cross-strait relation right, that economic integration, would solve all out. And that’s what they thought it, and voted it… to give it a try. The idea was that if we have these good economic relations, we would build up trust with Beijing, then we will somehow gradually get more international space, but it was never explained how it worked or why would Beijing want to do this. It was really built on trust from the 胡連會.
Well, you know a lot of people believe that, and it may have worked in a short term to release some pressure on Taiwan. But it’s not a long-term strategy. It lacks a foreign policy, it lacks defence policy… there’s no real, I mean, where is the diplomacy? I mean, if you’re in London, what does the Taiwan office (台灣代表處) do? They have meetings where they talk about the Qing dynasty. Very interesting, they never mentioned Taiwan.
We all know the limits. The UK is not going to recognize Taiwan as a state, I wish we would, but we are not going to because China will stop that. But there’s a lot of grey area where in the past Taiwan was able to achieve quite a lot international space, not diplomatic recognition but joining international organizations. And often it did require some courageous diplomacy, but it requires calling Beijing’s bluff. And Beijing would always threaten to go to wars, but Taiwan didn’t back down at that time.
As cross-strait relations improved, there were also some more international space. That was 李登輝’s strategy, back to 1990s. And 陳水扁, but they would never trust him whatever he did. He did try that strategy, but they didn’t trust him. But with Ma, when he came in 2008, he had a good opportunity because whatever he did, he could have done a lot more, because the deep fear of Beijing was that DPP comes back to power. He could have pushed forward more in international space. He could have… he didn’t try. There was no foreign policy. I think he lost the opportunity for Taiwan. He could have come back to something like李登輝’s strategy. For the DPP, it is very difficult because the Beijing government just won’t trust them because their party committed to the independence of Taiwan. That may change the future, and we don’t know what will happen in 2016. If Ma and KMT are working for Taiwan’s interest, they’d been thinking in long-term, they’ll try to have cross party consensus, domestic consensus, which should really focus on Taiwan’s interests, but I don’t see that at all. I see a policy that only based on one thing, which is keep DPP out, whatever that takes.
And another thing that worries me is that lots of people in KMT are really Chinese nationalists. And their hearts are really toward China’s unification and China. And they’re quite high up in KMT, and Ma could be one of them. So that rouses another issue: what is their intention? Is he just incompetent? That’s why he didn’t use his opportunity, or his intention is really to get some sort of agreement with 習近平? Getting Nobel Prize for unification? The conference I attended didn’t reflect the public opinions in Taiwan. People from previous generation are still with this mindset. How influential are they? I know there’re younger people who don’t like that… And the personal links with China, and how much time they spent there, whom they talked to… there’s a network as well. That is very China focused. That’s the product of China’s policy since 1979.
What does Taiwan do to balance that? Under 李登輝and 陳水扁, they tried to build democracy and constitutional reform, changing education system. This is a good strategy, to solid the Taiwanese democratic system and its identity. What does Ma do? Changing your textbooks’ facts, so you’re all Chinese! Constitutional reform? Where’s the strategy? Apart from saying: “Let’s be nice to China, they’ll be nice to us.” That’s not a strategy. He’s trying to deal with the pragmatic issues, economic issues… but we leave the political issues to the future. If you’re going to do that, you need a balancing strategy. To release a much better foreign policy, domestic policy, political policy, cultural policy, education policy, and defence policy. All of those issues are a mess in Taiwan. Defence policy doesn’t exist. You’re trying to develop volunteer services but it’s not working.
Trade is not the most important thing to national security. You need a well function political system. Democratization in Taiwan is not finished in the past 30 years. The constitution is a mess. The elections are free elections, but they are not fair elections because of the party financing. While KMT has sufficient wealth, DPP has very little. The last round of the political reform in the sea boundary was very unsatisfactory. It’s almost impossible for the DPP to win the elections. There are lots of problems still. Any democratic system needs reform constantly. Taiwan has pretty serious problems with the democratic system. Just to have votes and elections is not really democracy, is it? It’s a very uneven play in Taiwan, if you look at the party financing. Ultimately there’s the issue with the constitution because it’s a constitution written for China, not for Taiwan. Obviously it’s hard to change that, but it’s possible to find ways, like additional articles. Every time there’s a change, like finance or presidential elections, China threatens with attack but they didn’t.
As for the social situation, I don’t think it’s a strong society if everyone has to work very hard all the time, to pass the exams, to try to be productive and efficient but not allowed to do anything political at all. This is not a strong society. It may look strong on the surface but it’s very weak underneath. And Taiwan has a lot of strength building up its society, this was the consensus until recently. And it’s a shame if your generation feels that it’s making it weaker. I wouldn’t make judgment myself, but you’re from Taiwan, you should judge. I was just saying you have to be careful to make that judgment. I guess you could compare Taiwan with the US, the people there are more lazy, and more wasteful. And they spend even more time on politics, but they have very efficient economy, very productive.
Taiwan is at a different stage of development. One of the big problem still experience 1980s and 1990s. The economic growth very fast, just like in China now, people felt richer and richer every week. No economy can carry on like that for more than a period of time. Taiwan has passed that stage. What Taiwan is focused on is the service sector, like tourism, art and culture. And creative industry, which means also technology, and creating environment in which brilliant young scientist can really have the freedom to innovate and to make mistakes and do stupid things as well as things that are successful. That’s what Americans do. And we try to do it here, but in China it’s not like that.
How many inventions come from China? The one thing China is good at is getting foreign investment and producing large quantity of goods, quite high quality. Research and development is not good. It’s getting better but it’s still nothing like the US and Japan or Europe. Anyone who is a great scientist would immediately leave China and go somewhere else. First of all, he can’t breathe. Media freedom, democracy all go together. Scientists are human beings, too. They don’t always stay in the laboratory in the evening. They might want to go to a play, some music, go for a walk and get some fresh air. Children can grow up in a healthy environment. Beijing’s not like that. No matter how much money China invests in R&D, there’s no result. Now Taiwan is one of the best places to live in Asia. Any foreigner, businessmen, diplomats, wants to live in Taiwan because of the safe environment. You don’t have this communist party looking at you. Multi-nationalists prefer to live in Taiwan for their R&B, and that’s what Taiwan needs to build.
DPP has not been in power since 2008, and it’s not normal, so they still need to do a lot of work. The normal courses are distorted by the China factor. The tide is not on Taiwan’s side. If one party is in power for a long time, we can live with it. It’s not really healthy, but we can live with it, you know, some of the other parties will come back in. In Taiwan, with this China factor constantly distorting, one party is out for a long time. It develops different kinds of problems, so that makes a difference. So this is hard for Taiwanese democracy to function properly. The Chinese effect distorts everything. It requires very creative thinking to change the situation. Not going too far, but… not just giving in, and having no strategy at all. It’s very unclear what Ma’s strategy is, where his heart is, or what his intentions are, if he has any.
Perhaps you should be telling me what’s going on in Taiwan. You’re from Taiwan. You know much about it than I do. And it’s about your generation. What’s going to happen in your generation?