body{background-attachment: fixed ! important; }

Monday, June 14, 2010

King Liu in Amsterdam: Green World on Wheels!

The 76 year-old Giant Bicycle founder, King Liu, has commenced his tour of the Netherlands with the stated purpose to discover why 27% of the citizens in the Netherlands use bicycles for transportation.

Taiwan Focus Reports:
On the six-day trip, dubbed "Green World on Wheels, " the group will ride a 500-kilometer route to look at the cycling infrastructure of the Netherlands, which is known as a "cycling paradise." The riders will also study ways in which Taiwan can improve its cycling environment, said King Liu, 76, who is president of Giant Manufacturing and ycling environment, said King Liu, 76, who is president of Giant Manufacturing and chairman of the Giant Global group, the world's largest bicycle manufacturer.

I think Green World is quite an appropriate name for this junket as these guys must be high if they realistically think Taiwan's government is prepared and willing to bankroll the massive societal overhaul necessary to have Taiwan emulate the Netherlands. Taiwan first needs the police force to shift from an amateurish and corrupt civil force into a real law enforcement body. This means that Police would have to become active in upholding and enforcing and applying the law evenly, rather than passively waiting for an assignment which calls for them to enforce. How many times have we seen police stand idly by as a law is broken before their eyes and they don't flinch because it is not their assignment? This is really the first step. For most people, the roads are too dangerous to become regular commuters and the bicycle infrastructure is insufficient and even dangerous. Furthermore, Taiwan's government can talk as "Green" as it wants, but currently the central government has several industrial projects in the works that threaten some valuable ecosystems. Many of these projects are aimed at wooing Chinese business. Until these hard choices are made, Taiwan is not ready to put its money where its mouth is.

Enjoy your trip to Amsterdam! Everyone loves a vacation in the name of "research".

Be sure to check the follow-up in the Comments


  1. This is quite a negative way to look at positive actions taken by people who are truely concerned with the best for Taiwan and mankind.

    I do understand your sorespotsbut this is no way to improve this right!!
    Everybody needs to take action on its own as well (how many people help when law is broken??? not enough is the answer.

    We all need to help to improve world and society (and yes there should be no place for corruption and such .. in this idea

  2. I guess in my experience in Taiwan and in talking with some folks from the Government Information Office, I have learned to be wary of the high profile media blitz as nothing more than window dressing to distract the public and obscure the gamesmanship that is really being played out.

    I don't believe for a minute that the government is "truly concerned wit the best for Taiwan and mankind". Call me cynical, but the government, especially a KMT government, does not have a very illustrious track record when it comes to these high ideals and moreover it has an even worse track record on the environment. Remember, the party lost power while working for the wealthy industrialists in Shanghai.

    The government, and especially the KMT, has a very strong record of working for wealthy industrialists (who were brought into the party fold) at the expense of the environment. If you look at some of the major environmental problems on Taiwan, the KMT has always stood on the wrong side of the issue. The only times the government has put the environment ahead of industry came following grassroots mobilization (DuPont, Meinong Dam etal). Most environmentally harmful projects continued despite protest. The 4th Nuke Plant, Mailiao Incinerator, Radioactive Waste Storage on Lanyu all were met with indifference and protest. Now, with the government seeking economic relations with China, we face a new wave of harmful construction to facilitate China's desires for Taiwan. The new planned construction near the Gaomei wetlands is directly associated with this shift in policy.

    I believe King Liu is not a bad person and I am grateful for what he has accomplished with his company, but I also feel he is a man with interests in expanding his bicycle empire. He is an industrialist and a business man. What is good for Giant is good for... Giant and not necessarily Taiwan. Liu has allowed himself to get awfully close the political power and risks being manipulated, despite any high ideals he may or may not hold.

    Lastly, we have seen several politicians in Taiwan use "official business" as an excuse for a little vacation. Anyone remember Jason Hu conducting research on Guam when a typhoon hit... or the Taitung representative who was running around Europe "researching tourism" when a typhoon hit? Color me skeptical.

    The government is going to have to show me more than a bike ride around the Netherlands during an election cycle to convince me it is committed to Taiwan's sustainable future and development. Bold actions with real results is a good start. Some time I'll have to write about what I know about the 3rd Nuke plant in Kenting.

    Frankly, Taiwan does not have a real Green Party and needs one to look out for labor and the environment. Regardless, whoever the decision making party is... it needs to take Taiwan as a center and not a periphery to work for Taiwanese interests... and as an island nation we need all the help we can get.

  3. Where the environment falls in government priorities: