shedding light on business dealings in China

I’m very glad to see the recent spate of news about Sean Lien’s 連勝文 financial dealings.  It’s not so much that I care about Lien personally (though that is interesting), it’s more that I want to know much more about how Taiwanese politicians are personally investing in China.  I would like to see a lot more stories like this one, and I’d like to see stories about political figures who are involved in policymaking even if they aren’t planning on running for mayor.

One of the things I am concerned about is whether China is systematically corrupting Taiwanese politicians, especially from the blue camp.  It bothers me tremendously that the very people who are involved in negotiating on Taiwan’s behalf with China are often the recipients of sweetheart business deals within China.  This goes all the way to the top, with former SEF Chair P.K. Chiang 江丙坤 having extensive business dealings in China.  The KMT’s official position is that there is nothing improper about these business interests.  I tend to think that Ma Ying-jeou might do well to heed his own admonition to Tsai Ing-wen over her involvement in the Yu-Chang Biologics case.  In one debate, Ma scolded Tsai that she should have known that there are some things that politicians just shouldn’t get involved in, even if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety.  It was good advice.

However, I fear that the problem is the fact of impropriety, not merely its appearance.  Corruption is very hard to define; my quick and dirty definition is that turning public power into private money is corruption.  Why are the KMT elite getting all these lucrative business opportunities?  It probably isn’t because they are brilliant business leaders.  More likely, Chinese interests are paying them because of their political positions.  How, we might ask, does someone like P.K. Chiang or Sean Lien repay all this good fortune?  They would probably answer that they don’t, because they have not actually gotten any special treatment.  I am skeptical.  Either way, I’d love for the media to throw more light on the subject.


One Response to “shedding light on business dealings in China”

  1. Pat Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what affect this has on the election next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ma attempts to use this as a pretext to block Lien’s candidacy, but that may hurt the KMT in the long run given how formidable an opponent Ko is turning out to be for them.

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