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August 27, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright August 27, 2008. Used by permission.


Now that the Beijing Olympiad has reached its glorious conclusion, people in Taiwan are starting to turn their attentions back to the home front. The Olympics did not go very well for Taiwan, which ended up winning only 4 bronze medals, its worst result in 20 years. Even the baseball team could only mange a fifth-place finish, including a shocking 8-7 loss to China in extra innings. One of the few bright spots was the competitive spirit of athletes like Su Li-wen 蘇麗文, who fought to the bitter end while losing her bronze medal match by a single point in extra time, despite having suffered a painful injury. The dedication that these men and women displayed is particularly impressive in light of the fact that they are not permitted to compete in their country’s name, but rather under the odd moniker of “Chinese Taipei” (中華台北).

On the domestic front, things look grim as well. The stock market has plummeted, real wages are declining, exports are in a tailspin, and GDP estimates continue to be revised downwards. About the only things going up are unemployment and prices. These are worldwide problems, and the KMT government has numerous experts who are working on solutions. At the same time, however, the KMT also seems to be devoting considerable effort to restoring its ideological hegemony, attacking its enemies, promoting party loyalists cronies, and pursuing a pro-China agenda.