Our latest fortnight selection of press articles on what is making the news in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. For print-friendly version, download here.
Keywords: China’s Good Samaritan Law, the Rap of China, shutdown of online LGBT forum, rising number of internet crimes, New Southbound Policy.
1. China’s Good Samaritan law goes into effect on 1 October
Having undergone three amendments since December 2016, the Good Samaritan law – publicly known as “Good Person law” (好人法) – was finally introduced and went into effect on 1 October. Under the new legislation of the General Provisions of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, people who voluntarily offer emergency assistance to others in need (i.e. physical injury, danger to life) will not bear any civil liability (“因自愿实施紧急救助行为造成受助人损害的，救助人不承担民事责任。”). To avoid situations where “heroes shed blood (for helping people out) and tears (for being blackmailed)” (英雄流血又流泪), the Article 184 responds to fraudulent scams causing bystanders’ reluctance to help for fear of being accused of causing the injuries. This rise in public distrust is reflected in, for example, the tragedy of a two-year-old girl – known as the Little Yue Yue incident (小悦悦事件) – who was run over by two cars in Foshan, ignored by passers-by, and died of delayed medical treatment in 2011. Although the nationwide legislation was generally well-received and welcomed by Chinese citizens, critics are skeptical of the law’s effectiveness in solving the problem given its lack of instruction on prosecuting scammers. For example, Donald Clarke, a professor specializes in Chinese law, suggests that the actual problems lie in the police and judges for being credulous and not demanding evidence, as well as “a general tendency of Chinese tort law to look to anyone connected to a loss to share that loss, regardless of that person’s level of fault”.
- //在中国法制史上，无论是数十年磨一剑的《民法总则》，还是顺应民心的“好人法”条款，都将留下浓墨重彩的一笔。特别是后者，“无条件”免除救助者的民事责任，为见义勇为者解除后顾之忧，体现了立法者的时代担当。对于民事侵权行为，传统法律一般主张“过错责任”，而这也造成了现实中“救人未果反被追责”的诸多尴尬，毕竟客观的“过错”就摆在那里。在惯性推动下，之前的民法总则草案免责条款中，仍添加了“除有重大过失外”的限定条件。然而，与“无条件”免责立法的社会效果相比，取消“重大过失”的成本几可忽略不计。如果没有无条件的免责立法为善行者“背书”，谁又能断言，在见义勇为的紧急关口，自己不会出现“重大过失”？ […] 如今，“好人法”终于落地生根，国家立法在持续“升级”中，传递出弘扬正气、挽回善心的强烈讯号，回荡着时代的法治强音，也激励更多人见义勇为、多做善行，让冷漠不再有托辞。// Source: The Paper, 28 September 2017.
- //利用人們的好心來訛詐錢財的做法固然可恨，但某些訛詐好心人的騙徒（主要是指事故中的傷者）也有「逼不得已」的苦衷。畢竟醫療費太貴，難以獨力負擔，無奈之下，被逼出此下策。當然，這種做法決不可取，但不健全的制度卻難辭其咎。不健全的制度除了間接引人犯罪外，更無形中增加了救人的風險。除了有被訛詐的可能外，也有不少見義勇為的人在救人的過程中不幸地受重傷甚至喪命。那些被救之人為免承受沉重的經濟損失，往往都會昧着良心地否定施救者的救命之恩。結果，施救者不但一無所有，還要以自己和家人的下半生的幸福為自己的義舉「埋單」。 […] 事實上，這條法律對鼔勵「見義勇為」的作用十分有限。因為它既並沒有嚴懲詐騙者，也沒有對施救者因救人而導致的經濟損失作出補償。因此，中國政府現階段必須針對相關的問題對症下藥，制訂出相應的配套，否則「好人法」就只會淪為一紙空文。// Source: The Storm Media, 15 October 2017.
- //However, this new nationwide Good Samaritan law has drawn criticism for going too far the other way, providing legal protection to anyone who tries to help, even if they have no idea what they are doing. Back in March, Donald C. Clarke, a law professor specializing in Chinese law at The George Washington University Law School, wrote that this extremely broad protection was very much the NPC’s intention: Article 184 provides, somewhat startlingly, that those who attempt to aid others in emergency situations shall never be liable under any circumstances. If I see you coughing, assume you are choking, and attempt a tracheotomy with a butter knife despite a complete lack of medical training, your next of kin cannot sue me. // Source: Shanghaiist, 13 October 2017.
- //It’s a weird kind of Good Samaritan law, though, because it doesn’t solve the problem people in China were worried about and instead solves a problem nobody seems to have. The problem people in China have been worried about (at least if popular culture is any guide) is that of people who help an injured person and are falsely accused by the victim of causing the injury. This, we are told, is why we see so many scandalous stories of injured people lying on the road for hours while everyone just walks around them and nobody stops to help. How would this problem be solved? By having police and judges be less credulous and demanding more by way of evidence. The problem seems to lie in a general tendency of Chinese tort law to look to anyone connected to a loss to share that loss, regardless of that person’s level of fault. […] Article 184 does nothing to solve this problem. Instead, it solves a problem that I have never seen complaints about: well-intentioned people being made liable for injuries they cause in the course of attempting to help an injured person. This is a totally different matter from the first situation described above. Here, there’s no factual issue: the helper did cause the injuries, and caused them after stopping to help. The policy question is, should the law grant them some kind of exemption from liability in order to encourage people to help, even though they might make a mistake and make things worse? // Source: The China Collection (Blog), 10 October 2017.
1. Success of The Rap of China puts hip hop music to national spotlight
Reaching 100 million views in four hours since it first aired, The Rap of China (中國有嘻哈), a 12-episode reality show produced by produced by iQiyi (the largest online video platform in China) and claimed to be the most expensive reality show ever made (200 million yuan), is considered a huge success in the history of Chinese television. Showcasing young contestants engaging in rap battles in front of celebrity judge, the show is credited for mainstreaming hip hop in China where the music genre had “never really managed to take centre stage”. While the show was accused of “having an unfair selection process that favoured some contestants” and being “strikingly similar to the South Korean hip hop reality TV show Show Me the Money”, it is generally believed that it was the show’s focus on “drama” rather than music that accounted for its popularity. Other than understanding The Rap of China as an industry phenomenon, considering the vastly diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the contestants, producers, celebrity judges producing “Chinese hip hop”, such as MC Jin (American rapper of Hong Kong descent), Chang Chen-yue (Taiwanese aborigine rock musician), Hanjin Tan (Singaporean singer-songwriter), and Al Rocco (Hong Kong-born rapper based in Shanghai), critics have moreover called our attention to the show’s cultural politics in relation to its configurations of Chineseness.
- //「其實《中國有嘻哈》做到了很好的宣傳效果，以最基本的『HIP HOP』二字為例，節目真的將它帶給了普羅大眾，讓他們都能夠接觸得到。同時它雖然是一個 Rapper 的比賽，卻包括了娛樂性於其中，所以它的剪接效果才會如娛樂節目般，如它在要宣有誰人將會被淘汰時便完結，讓人有追看下去的意欲，而這樣的娛樂性能讓大眾容易去『消化』節目內容。它令到全球有亞洲人的地方都在留意這件事發生，都在說『你有 Freestyle 嗎？』，是很厲害的！同時這節目的好處，更是讓一小撮不太了解但曾經接觸過 HIP HOP 的人帶來新定義。」// Source: Hypebeast, 25 September 2017.
- // Yet in a society that doesn’t encourage self expression, the rebel spirit of hip hop never really managed to take centre stage but stayed in its own ecosystem. For most rappers it has remained a hobby – some would even pay out of their own pockets to record albums. […] Although the show provided money for hip hop music to grow, “it’s not real hip hop that is in the show,” Al Rocco complains. He thinks the programme focuses on drama rather than the music itself so people who didn’t know about hip hop would tune in to see it. // Source: BBC News, 13 September 2017.
- //爱奇艺自制网络综艺节目《中国有嘻哈》成为了今年夏天最火的综艺节目。这档以大型嘻哈（HipHop）选秀为故事主线和背景的真人秀剧集，截至第8期（共12期），已取得16.2亿播放量；豆瓣评分7.1分，是同时期综艺类节目中最高分；微博话题27.4亿阅读量、984.2万讨论量，连续17天高居微博网络综艺节目实时榜榜首。爱奇艺高级副总裁、《中国有嘻哈》总制片陈伟，因用“剧情真人秀方式打造嘻哈文化推广节目”，上榜《快公司》“2017中国商业最具创意人物100榜单”。目前中国视频平台市场呈现“3+1”的格局，即爱奇艺、腾讯视频、优酷和芒果TV。自制网综是视频平台竞争命脉之一。2016年前后，自制内容成为视频平台的新争夺点。相比烧钱的版权购买模式，在自制内容上建立的商业模式更独立，也更能形成护城河。业内资深网综制片人告诉《财经》记者，自制内容分类里，平台流量基准线是电视剧划的，而流量波峰一般靠网综牵引。// Source: Caijing, 20 August 2017.
- //容我們先稍微擱置對原真性的執著，承認一個事實：在中國，確實有一群年輕人對「嘻哈／hip-hop」這個標籤有投射及認同，並且已經成為他們與同伴相認的暗號。下一個問題就是：如果《中國有嘻哈》的主旨是宣稱「中國」「有」「嘻哈」，並以此在主流音樂稱霸的樂壇中成功分眾，建立粉絲群，那就必須完成至少兩項工作：一、證明自己唱的就是嘻哈，並具備某種（即便是幻想中的）足以和美國嘻哈相提並論的原真性；二、證明自己唱的與美國嘻哈不一樣，是有中國的原真性。顯而易見，這兩項任務之間具有微妙的張力：前者強調的是中國嘻哈和美國嘻哈的「同」，以塑造和主流音樂的「異」；而後者恰恰要確保中美嘻哈的「異」，以突出節目主旨中的「中國性」。 […] 雖然《中國有嘻哈》以普通話為中心[…]，但節目對中國嘻哈原真性的塑造，顯然是以整個華語世界為企劃對象的。不過，節目中實際上出現的來自台灣、香港、新加坡的嘻哈，非但沒有被命名，而是被統統收編入一個「中國」的大標題之中——這就打造了一個以中國國族為中心、繼而去收編邊緣的文化網絡。換句話說，藉MC Jin學中文這一關鍵環節（所有人都心繫中文—中華—中國—嘻哈），《中國有嘻哈》在節目進程中似乎逐步形塑了一個「中國嘻哈共同體」。// Source: 香港01週報, 3 October 2017.
2. Report observes a growing number of Hong Kong women and other emerging trends in cross-border marriages
A report recently published by the Hong Kong Ideas Centre observes that there are over 480,000 cross-border marriages in the last 20 years, constituting more than 40% of the total marriages in Hong Kong. The report has moreover identified four emerging trends in cross-border marriages, namely 1) the growing number of Hong Kong women marrying mainland Chinese men, 2) the apparent improvement of educational attainment, 3) the shrinking age gaps between spouses, and 4) the growing number of mainland spouses working in Hong Kong. Compared to 1997 where marriages between Hong Kong women and mainland Chinese men constituted less than 10% of the city’s total marriages, the number is increased to more than one third in 2016. In addition to the changing gender-geo-ethnic patterns in cross-border marriages, the educational attainment among spouses constitutes another significant trend. The proportion of mainland spouses who have completed university or above education rose from 4% in 2001 to 17% in 2016 and 19% in the first half of 2017. The report suggests that the overall transformation in Hong Kong-mainland marriages reflects the rapid economic development and rising living standard in mainland China over the past ten years.
- //研究指出，過去的跨境婚姻多半呈現「老夫少妻」，內地女性認為香港男士較富有，同時也希望取得香港居留權。但隨著內地、尤其是鄰近香港的廣東省經濟起飛，兩地差距持續縮小，不少當年「南嫁」的內地女性因面臨文化差異等生活壓力，反而渴望回鄉。如今，跨境婚姻逐漸回歸到以愛情為基礎，夫妻地位日趨平等，也有越來越多的優秀香港女性開始「北上」尋真愛，香港理工大學社會政策研究中心主任鍾建華說，以往香港女性對內地男性的印象是「土氣」、教育程度低，但隨著交流變多，香港女性對內地男性的觀感轉好。北京、上海、深圳等大城市的生活水準也與香港日趨接近，打破了香港女性的心理障礙。// Source: The Storm Media, 27 September 2017.
- //隨著近年內地經濟顯著發展，與香港差距逐漸縮小，兩地往來交通愈趨便利，不少受訪者都考慮移居生活成本較便宜、空間較大的內地城市。其中，五成半受訪者表示，樂意考慮在“粵港澳大灣區”內的城市長遠定居。[…] 報告分析指，過往香港人與內地人結婚，幾乎“一面倒”會申請內地配偶來港團聚；隨著兩地經濟差距縮小，加上香港居住環境比內地擠迫，現在內地配偶未必喜歡移居香港。此外，隨著過關口岸不斷增加，兩地往來交通愈趨便利，不少受訪者都考慮移居生活成本較便宜、空間較大的內地城市。當中，有“出嫁從夫”思想的香港新娘尤其有此傾向。// Source: 中國評論新聞網, 27 September 2017.
1. Online LGBT forum forced to shut down due to “irresistible factor”
Being one of the most frequented online platforms where Chinese LGBT people interacted and discussed homosexuality-related issues, Yilu tongxing (一路同行), a discussion board of the popular forum Tianya (天涯), was shut down on 30 September due to “irresistible factor” (不可抗因素) as stated in an official order. Since its establishment in 1999, the discussion board has accumulated over 730,000 essays and 21,000,000 messages. It is believed that the shutdown was due to the Administrative Provisions on Internet Forum and Community Services (互联网论坛社区服务管理规定) which went into effect on 1 October, as well as the increasing internet censorship before the Communist party congress. Under the new Provisions, internet users are required to provide their real names and verify their phone numbers before they are allowed to participate in online discussion.
- //距離召開中共十九大，還有不到一個月的時間。中國政府執行管制愈來愈嚴格，上月頒布了《互聯網論壇社區服務管理規定》，規定每名用户都需要「實名制」證認身份，10月開始生效。[…] 而論壇的子版塊「一路同行」在大陸一直都是同性戀的重要聚集地，開版18年來累積了73萬篇文章，超過2,100萬則留言，可以說見證了大陸新一代同性戀，從隱蔽到漸漸開放的過程。[…] 消息在網上流傳後，不少在網友都紛紛表示可惜，「禁得了文字語言，禁不了嚮往自由的心。我的愛情取向，生活選擇，由我自己做主」、「愈是弱勢群體愈無法發聲嗎？」、「你關上這扇通往外界的大門，那我就爬牆，沒想到現在不僅門關了，牆也越砌越高」。// Source: ET News, 30 September 2017.
- //在如今这个互联网时代，各种状况瞬息万变，即便是十几年二十几年的老网站关闭似乎也不十分让人意外。而如今已经风光不再的天涯论坛里的”一路同行“版面提前两天通知关闭却让人有些意外。[…] 据检索，该版面于1999年4月20日创立，开版至今已有18年之久，内容主要为同性情感故事及文学作品。天涯官方仅仅笼统的说由于不可抗因素，具体原因并未言明。虽然如今随着各种制度的健全，网站主动或者被动的关闭并不稀奇，但是在主站尚在并且影响力已经大不如前的关于某个话题的分版块被关闭，所传递的信号还是非常明显的，此类话题或成禁忌。// Source: Sohu, 30 September 2017.
2. Rising number of internet crimes reflects increasingly organized operations
During the first nine months of 2017, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) recorded 334 cases of internet crime (e.g. cyber attacks, cyber gambling, rumour-spreading, blackmailing…) involving 710 people (respective growth of 82.5% and 80.7% from last year), and 8,257 cases of telecommunication fraud involving 22,268 people (respective growth of 88.6% and 118.6% from last year). Other than the rising number of internet crimes, the Procuratorate has moreover observed emerging trends where, compared to the past, the offenders tend to be younger, more covert, and organized in groups, and the crimes are much more severe, diverse, and likely to be committed transnationally. The Procuratorate’s announcement states that it is faced with a number of challenges in tackling the unlawful uses of the internet such as the difficulty in collecting evidence and the lack of specialists capable of handling the cases.
- //对此，全国检察机关加大了打击力度，重点打击电信网络诈骗，出售、非法提供、非法获取公民个人信息，非法生产、销售、使用“伪基站”“黑广播”、手机恶意程序等违法犯罪活动，也依法批捕、起诉了一批利用互联网实施的非法吸收公众存款、集资诈骗等犯罪案件。同时，最高人民检察院还与公安部联合挂牌督办两批典型计算机网络犯罪重点案件，其中就包括社会广泛关注的“徐玉玉被电信诈骗案”、北京“4•13”特大电信网络诈骗等涉案人员多、作案地域广、证据收集固定难度大的案件。会上，最高人民检察院新闻发言人王松苗介绍，当前计算机网络犯罪呈现以下发案特点和趋势：第一，犯罪主体日趋年轻化、专业化；第二，犯罪形式日趋隐蔽；第三，犯罪手段日趋多样多变；第四，犯罪活动日趋组织化、集团化；第五，犯罪后果日趋严重。// Source: 界面, 16 October 2017.
- //全国检察机关将提高四方面的工作能力,维护国家和个人信息安全,推动互联网治理法治化常态化。一是深入研究计算机网络犯罪的新特点,提高惩治计算机网络犯罪针对性。二是研究制定证据指引,提高办案指导和法律适用的实效性。三是积极参与网络社会治理,提高防控计算机网络犯罪的治理能力和治理水平。四是加强国际司法协助,建立健全情报共享和交流培训机制,提高惩治计算机网络犯罪的国际化水平。同时,尽可能地通过各种方式,及时追回赃款赃物并做好返还工作,最大限度弥补被害人损失。// Source: 正义网, 17 October 2017.
Chinese authorities ban Uyghur and Kazakh-medium textbooks in Xinjiang schools
On 10 October, the Education Department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has imposed a ban on using Uyghur and Kazakh-medium teaching materials in schools. According to Ming Pao, the ban specifically targeted textbooks used in language, history, and morality and law classes since they contain anti-China ideas such as Pan-Turkism and de-Sinicization (去中國化). Although the textbooks had been in use in Xinjiang schools in the last seven years, the contents were only recently discovered by Chinese authorities after Chen Quanguo commenced his duty as the head of the Education Department in August. It is believed that it was Sattar Sawut, the former head of the Education Department, who took advantage of Chinese officials’ lack of Uyghur and Kazakh proficiency and added such contents when editing and compiling the textbooks in 2000 and 2009. Commentators have suggested that this sudden ban has undermined the bilingual education policy in Xinjiang that was implemented since 2004.
- // 沙塔爾·沙吾提自2000年7月獲任命為新疆教育廳廳長，在任期間，其利用漢族官員不掌握維吾爾文的優勢，在2000年及2009年其主導編寫新疆版維吾爾文等少數民族《語文》教材及教輔材料時，宣揚不利於國家統一及民族團結的「泛突厥主義」思想及存在「去中國化」的排漢論述。新疆自治區黨委書記陳全國去年8月主政新疆後，發現了維文教材有嚴重政治問題，且已經存在了六、七年卻未被發現。今年2月，新疆檢察院經審查決定，對沙塔爾·沙吾提以涉嫌受賄罪立案偵查並採取強制措施。目前，該案偵查工作正在進行中。新疆教育系統一名知情人士對本報稱，沙塔爾·沙吾提被視為「兩面人」，在教育系統受到批判。新疆官方為了杜絕「口頭擁護統一、民族和諧，背地裏卻煽動分裂中國散佈民族仇恨」的兩面人，自今秋起，除了要求在9年義務教育階段必須全面使用官方語言（漢語）及官方法定文字（漢字）教育外，不論漢語教師還是維語教師，在授課時，均可能被抽查或安排其他老師同步監聽。// Source: Ming Pao, 17 October 2017.
- //新疆自治区教育厅早在2014年就出台限制少数民族语言授课的相关政策。随后，和田地区教育局要求各校在实行国家通用语言文字教学，即汉语教学，并禁止在教育系统内、校园内使用只有维吾尔语言的文字、标语和图片。直到最近，当局更决定停用少数民族《语文》辅助教材，一律使用汉文。 这也遭到一些质疑。有少数民族人士表示，中国民族区域自治法曾列明尊重少数民族的语言、文字及风俗习惯，但是当局用了数年时间，将少数民族学校并入汉族学校。“现在数学、物理、化学，数理化都是汉语。语文科还是维吾尔文、哈萨克文，但慢慢的哈萨克文、维吾尔文就没有了，就教汉语了。民族自治法规定的，现在都不执行”。 针对网上流传的未来新疆将禁止辖区内所有学校维吾尔族、哈萨克族《语文》辅助教材使用本民族语言这一消息，一位不愿具名的少数民族人士称，当局正在试图将少数民族同化，最终消灭（他们的）民族文化。 和田地区制定双语教育五条规定，加强中小学双语教育。根据第一条的规定，依法坚持全面普及国家通用语言文字、加授本民族语言的双语教育根本原则。实施“双语”教育是中共中央、自治区为促进少数民族教育发展采取的措施，是为了更好地促进民族团结和民族融合。一些反对的声音则表示，“双语教育”名不副实，实为针对少数民族的汉语教育。// Source: 多维新闻, 16 October 2017.
- //陳全國主政新疆之後，「書同文」是他的治疆手腕之一。如何在尊重地方自治又維護統一這個問題上，新疆一直在探索，但直到今年才強力全面推行國家通用語言文字教育。「兩面人」（表面上擁護中國統一促進民族和諧，暗地裏煽動分裂中國散播民族仇恨）的問題從去年年初提出嚴查後，今年逐漸浮出水面。[…] 陳全國在今年2月6日新疆自治區紀委九屆二次全會上提出，要堅決有力地懲治腐敗，嚴厲查處反分裂鬥爭中的「兩面派」、「兩面人」；除了教育系統的沙塔爾·沙吾提外，今年6、7月落馬的和田公安局前副局長艾力．依明以及和田地委原委員、和田縣委原書記艾爾肯‧阿不都熱扎克，在他們被「雙開」通報中均提到「嚴重違反政治紀律，搞『兩面派』、做『兩面人』」的說法。// Source: Ming Pao, 17 October 2017.
Chinese history to be taught as an independent compulsory subject in Hong Kong secondary schools from next year
During the Chief Executive’s 2017 Policy Address on 11 October, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced that Chinese history will be taught as an independent subject from next year. While Chinese history has been compulsorily taught at the junior level of secondary education in Hong Kong since 2001, there are about 11% of schools who combine it with world history. Stressing the importance of educating citizens to be “socially responsible” and “equipped with a sense of national identity” in the Policy Address, commentators have suggested that such move to standardize the curriculum “has revived fears of a renewed push for a controversial national education curriculum”. Lam’s announcement has attracted both support and criticism from different political parties. While pro-Beijing politicians have generally supported the decision by suggesting that it provides students with a more comprehensively understanding of Chinese history, Ted Hui Chi-fung, legislative councilor representing the Democratic Party, said that there are “political undertones in the move”. Moreover, Kwok Ka-ki, legislative councilor representing the Civic Party, has recommended the curriculum to include events such as the June Fourth Incident, Liu Xiaobo, and the Wukan protests.
- //2001年香港課程發展議會將中國歷史教育定為初中必修後，目前全港未有獨立中史科的中學僅一成左右，這些中學多以中國與世界歷史合併、融入綜合人文科等方式傳授中國歷史。政府稱，有學校教授中史課時「不理想」，故要求各校於2018/19學年落實中史獨立成科。[…] 此外，林鄭月娥施政報告中還提出，會強化《基本法》教育，豐富師生內地交流及學習活動，讓更多師生實地考察「一帶一路」沿線城市和大灣區的發展，「建立正面的價值觀和態度」。[…] 中史獨立成科，在政界早有呼聲。此前，人大常委范徐麗泰與立法會議員葉劉淑儀等都曾公開呼籲中國歷史獨立成科。而去年年底，民建聯立法會議員張國鈞也在香港立法會提出中史獨立成科的無約束力動議，並在分組點票獲得通過。在去年年底立法會會議關於中史獨立成科的爭議中，提出動議的張國鈞認為現時香港初中教育的中史多有將重點放在古代史而略教近代史，香港史部分更在附錄，無助與學生理解香港與中國大陸的歷史關係。而公民黨議員郭家麒則提出「歷史不可能脫離事實」，要求若獨立成科，教授內容應加入天安門事件、劉曉波獲得諾貝爾和平獎、七一大遊行、烏坎村事件等。// Source: Initium, 12 October 2017.
- //While the move might appear simply an extension of the status quo to cover this remaining batch of schools, observers said it was symbolically important as it showed the government’s insistence on standardising teaching of the subject for every Hong Kong pupil. The lack of attention to Chinese history and how it is taught had been singled out by Hong Kong’s pro-establishment politicians since a year ago, with some blaming the shallow understanding of the mainland’s past among many young people for the emergence of separatist sentiment in the city. […] But with the government’s Education Bureau still conducting a second stage consultation on a revised junior secondary Chinese history curriculum, critics questioned why the government appeared in a hurry to implement the policy. “First there was the Basic Law education requirement [for all schools to provide 39 hours of such lessons at the junior secondary level], and then brainwashing content in subjects such as general studies and liberal studies,” Ted Hui Chi-fung, an education spokesman for the Democratic Party, the city’s largest opposition party, said. “You can sense political undertones in the move.”// Source: South China Morning Post, 11 October 2017.
Tsai administration establishes a US$3.5 billion fund to facilitate participant countries in the New Southbound Policy
Promoting the New Southbound Policy in front of over 20 leaders from Asian countries and the US in the Yushan Forum on 11–12 October, Tsai Ing-wen pledged to set up a US$3.5 billion fund to help the Policy’s participant countries in building their infrastructures and development projects. Intended to reduce Taiwan’s investment and trade reliance on China, since its establishment shortly after Tsai assumed office in 2016, the Policy has proven to be financially beneficial to Taiwan’s economy and interconnectivity with the world. During the first eight months of this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recorded a 36.04% increase of tourists coming from countries within the scope of the Policy (including a 113% increase of tourists from Vietnam). Moreover, having recorded US$56.95 million of Taiwanese banks’ earnings in the Policy’s included countries in the first quarter of this year, the Financial Supervisory Commission, according to the News Lens, has recent approved Taiwanese banks (e.g. Taiwan Business Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, and Chang Hwa Commercial Bank) to establish branches in India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Despite the success of the Policy’s initial implementation, financial specialists have advised that Taiwanese firms, different from investing in the China market, will need to extensively adapt to Southeast Asian cultures in order to globally compete for market share.
- //One of the main reasons Taiwanese banks have focused on the China market is that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait share a common language and culture. To be sure, the political and business environment is different in China, but that has not deterred Taiwanese businesspeople. “Taiwanese banks haven’t had to develop a global mindset to do business in China,” says Hank Huang, vice president of the Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance. “For the most part, they simply serve the same manufacturing customers as in Taiwan. Relying on these customers is not a strategy for sustainable international expansion.” In ASEAN there are opportunities for Taiwanese banks, but they will need to adapt to local culture — which is different in each Southeast Asian country — and vie with global competitors for market share, he observes. Taiwanese banks can initially serve the local market in Southeast Asia by focusing on syndicated loans for state banks with acceptable investment ratings, says Fitch Ratings’ Huang. In that case, “the level of risk is manageable,” she says. Meanwhile, lending to less reputable entities in the region is fraught with risk. “There are transparency problems; fraud and embezzlement are not uncommon,” she says. “It’s very similar to China.”// Source: The News Lens, 2 October 2017.
- //此外，蔡英文也在致詞中作出5個承諾，首先台灣會協助東南亞國家培育區域人才，因為經濟快速發展需要很多技術人工、工程人員及研發人員。台灣目前已經提供許多獎學金及教育機會，讓新南向國家的學生赴台灣就讀，現在將不斷擴大建教合作相關的課程及計劃，每年希望至少吸收5000名學生赴台。其次，台灣將向新南向國家分享經驗，幫助打造以內需為導向的產業，如石化、ICT、醫療產業發展經驗。第三，台灣將幫助新南向國家，在基礎建設及重大的發展計劃協助推動，台灣已推出35億美金的的融資基金及相關制度，將會由政府開發援助計劃來做管理運用。第四，台灣會協助中小企業、NGO分享其經驗及洞見，與新南向國家一起分享如何在當地創造工作機會，才能為當地的社群做更多貢獻。第五，台灣會與志同道合的國家攜手合作，加強台灣在區域的立足點及影響力。// Source: HK01, 11 October 2017.
- //報告表示，外交部推動簽證放寬措施，大幅提升新南向國家來台旅客人數，今年1月至8月，新南向旅客來台人數約140萬人次，較去年同期成長36.04%，其中越南旅客成長率高達113%最高，泰國、菲律賓來台人數成長率也達7成以上。經貿合作部分，今年1月至9月，與新南向國家貿易額達822.98億美元，較上年同期成長達19.03%。台灣對目標國投資額度也有顯著成長，到今年7月為止，累計投資額達961億美元，投資案件計約1萬2359件。報告指出，外交部將持續配合行政院經貿談判辦公室規畫，協助各部會推動「新南向政策」五大旗艦計畫，主動回應新南向國家在「人力資源」、「產業發展」、「公共工程建設」、「中小企業及NGO」的發展需要，深化與理念相近國家在區域的國際合作。// Source: CNA, 17 October 2017.