Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cats and Dogs

So I'm going to be going to China for Chinese New Year's (fitting isn't it?). A friend from NYC is meeting me in Hong Kong on 2/11 and then we're going to fly up to Beijing from February 13th until the 20th ...then back to Hong Kong and returning to Taiwan on the 20th. I'm interested to see the differences between China and see how 'the other side lives' so to speak. It's impossible to live in Taiwan without constantly hearing about China. The last few weeks the news has been particularly China-focused.

There are two issues about Taiwan and China relations that have been pushed to the forefront recently: Economic agreements, and military ones.
On the economic front, China and Taiwan are currently engaged in negotiations regarding a trade agreement similar to the one China has signed with Korea. If signed, it will mean closer ties between Taiwan and China, but also closer dependency. Some people see this deal as inevitable given China's size and market growth. Others see it as a means for China to further strengthen their influence over Taiwan. It's not my place to say which side is, I'll leave that to the Greens and the Blues to figure out.

The other aspect is U.S. Arms sales to Taiwan. The U.S. has recently announced plans to sell arms to Taiwan, which has understandably caused some tension with China. It'll be interesting to see how the Taiwan issue moves to the forefront as China's economy and military might continue to grow. Obviously it's been big news here.
This editorial demonstrates the complexities involved in the arms deal.

It should be an interesting trip to China given these current happenings. However I read this aarticle about eating cats and dogs in China. It makes me a little worried about what I'll encounter over in the PRC. The most telling indication of China's rise to power for me, is that 10 or 15 years ago, China was doing the same things it is now (eating cats and dogs, threatening Taiwan, violating human rights and privacy)...but these things rarely made headlines (at least in the U.S. anyway). Now that China is a "rising power" all of these issues are international news. It seems to me that eventually things will have to come to a head. Maybe Google's decision to leave China is the starting point.

I'm glad I live in Taiwan where, as far as I know, no one eats cats and dogs. Thankfully the nastiest thing available to eat here is fermented or "Stinky" tofu. It's tofu that has been fermented and then cooked in a soup. It tastes and smells like a dirty gym bag. If I had to choose between cat soup and stinky tofu, I'd have to chose a big heaping bowl of stinky tofu...despite it's obvious flaws, it still beats cat soup......hands down.


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