Experiencing China

'Experiencing China' is about ordinary life in China and the wealing and dealing of a Dutchman in the Middle Kingdom. Marc works for DuoArts Consultancy and the Empowerment Foundation, travelling between the Netherlands and China.

Monday, February 27, 2006

China and Taiwan

A couple of weeks ago I met a Chinese from Taiwan. The funny thing is that, although I consider myself to be a China expert, I never really included Taiwan as part of this expertise. Though Taiwan certainly is of interest both professionally and personally.

Listening to what the lady from Taiwan told me about her country, culture is roughly similar to that of China, although Taiwan doesn't share the same history and institutions that were build to suit the recurrent political situation. In mainland China that is (socialist) bureaucracy. I've heard and read that Taiwan has a considerable bureaucracy as well, just like in the Netherlands, both countries being prosperous, democratic and capitalist in nature. Though one cannot compare Chinese socialist bureaucracy with Western or, probably also, Taiwanese bureaucracy.

Taiwan just might be a good opportunity for my business. China is coming up as the local power in the region (or already is), but I think Taiwan has certain advantages over China (yet). For example, a stable and well organized economy, qualitative high standard products, a educated workforce and less involvement of the state in business. This is what the mainland more or less still lacks. One day, I just might pass by... and look for opportunities.

In relation to China-Taiwan, many people ask me if there will be a war. This because China considers Taiwan to be an inseperatable part of its territory. This is true and because of the recent tensions (I'm talking about 6 months ago), when the Chinese adopted a ambiguous law that allows them to take back what they consider to be theirs, one might think of war. But I don't think this will be the case. China, on the one hand, knows that for maintaining its present course and development it doesn't need war but stable economic relations with the US, EU, Japan and Taiwan. Furthermore, economic ties between China and Taiwan are so interrelated that a war would jeopardize steady economic growth. On the other hand do the majority of the Taiwanese not reject reunification, which might sound as a surprize to non-Chinese readers. But it is true. In general, the Taiwanese are proud of their democratic and economic achievements, but at the same time feel Chinese. Eventually, reunification wouldn't be of a too big problem to them. Eventually! The current conditions still make reunification impossible but both ordinary mainland Chinese and Taiwanese believe that China eventually also will liberalize politically, which will make this reunification more feasible.