On Aug. 11, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) released an anti-Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) advertisement on the Internet and on television. The footage was filmed in Hong Kong and featured Hong Kong residents speaking in Cantonese about how the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) signed with China in 2003 has caused greater disparities between the rich and poor. The DPP released this advert in an attempt to warn Taiwanese not to accept the ECFA.
While this advertisement reflected local realities in a broad sense, it was not sufficiently detailed in some areas.
For example, eight out of 10 Hong Kong street cleaners are not university graduates, but the problem runs deeper than this. Each year, there is no increase in the student quotas at Hong Kong’s universities, but students from southern China are competing for places in universities with Hong Kong students. Hong Kong’s Vocational Training Council had so many applicants for the program that people lining up at their offices caused chaos and the online registration system crashed because too many people were using it.
This is worse than university graduates having to sweep streets for a living because now many Hong Kong residents do not even have a chance to attend university. This is what will happen in Taiwan once students from China are allowed to study there.
Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) has said that the CEPA has not increased the disparity between rich and poor in Hong Kong and that it has in fact shrunk the gap. However, this is not the reality.
Late last month, the Hong Kong Housing Authority, which was established to handle public housing, announced that 19-year-old houses close to Lok Fu station were selling for hugely inflated prices of up to HK$4.65 million (US$598,155). In the past, such government housing was hard to sell for HK$2 million, even after subsidies, because they lacked the luxury of houses built by private developers.
Why are these houses, which were built for middle and lower income earners, now being sold for such outrageous prices? If the CEPA did not cause this, what did? If it was for some other reason than the cheapest housing is now overpriced, why are so many people living in those dilapidated, substandard houses the DPP showed in their anti-ECFA advertisement?
If the ECFA really goes ahead, today’s Hong Kong will become the Taiwan of tomorrow. And there is a good chance that Taiwan will become even worse. After seeing the DPP’s advertisement, many people in Hong Kong felt it represented their feelings.
The DPP should make an even more detailed description of the situation in Hong Kong and an even more accurate description of the problems Taiwan may face once the ECFA takes effect and once Chinese students hit Taiwan’s universities.
There is no need to exaggerate things. All the DPP has to do is tell Taiwanese the facts. I wonder how long those people who blindly support the ECFA will be able to cheat the people of Taiwan and Hong Kong?
TRANSLATED BY DREW CAMERON