Welcome to the first day of the 三伏天, the dog days of summer. It certainly feels like it here in DC. Two big things are on my radar today: There has been a remarkable public airing of a debate between officials of the PBoC and the Ministry of Finance. It appears that the growing economic stress is also pressuring Liu He and the finance and economic bureaucracies over which he presides. Policy disagreements are not necessarily unhealthy but this kind of public airing may point to some continued underlying dysfunction;
apologies for the typo in the email headline, fixed here
All politics is ultimately domestic, and I fear the western media / scholar generally seem to ignore that for Taiwan, and merely see it through a prism of their own wishful thinking and/or in the grander geopolitical context.
The ridiculous National Taiwan University intrigue remains unresolved and we're now over 13 months without an official Principal for the highest profile (and most politically sensitive) University in Taiwan. The process basically saw 2 Minister of Education step down within 2 months and there was another month and a half period where they didn't even nominate a minister (they eventually moved the Interior minister over now in a minor reshuffle.)
Meanwhile it seems like the DPP is projected to lose pretty badly in the November election, and all sorts of rumors are flying that the DPP won't nominate Tsai for re-election.
We should note that the "Status Quo" is very open to interpretation, one could easily argue that the Ma period the "Status Quo" was "Moving towards opening further" and now their interpretation is "we'll stop exactly where we stand and not a inch further."
I think the general western audience seems completely oblivious to the below the official surface actual arguments in Taiwan, in an irony that may be even worse than their take on Mainland, the general populist wave in the world democracy has hit Taiwan for far longer and stronger, and the danger is far more realistic. Everything is fine now on the surface, but extreme political rhetoric and theatrics are getting more pronounced and escalating in a hurry, at the end of the day, any political system and law is only good as long as people generally believe them, this is as true for Democracy as it is for Authoritarian regimes, something that again, the western world seem to collectively convince themselves otherwise.
Prediction: the Chang Kai Sheik memorial hall will be a major flash point sooner rather than later, and it will end up in serious violence one way or another. at which point the western media may need to confront some ugly realities, or just convince themselves that a very large segment of the Taiwan population is the equivalent of Palestinians in Israel.