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Issue 53 (January 2005)
Martin King Whyte
Continuity and Change in Urban Chinese Family Life
Did the revolution and socialism produce distinctive patterns of family change in the People's Republic of China? This question is examined using survey data collected in the city of Baoding, Hebei, in 1994 focusing on aging and intergenerational relations, and selective comparisons with comparable survey data collected in urban Taiwan. In both Baoding and in urban Taiwan filial obligations and intergenerational exchanges were alive and well, with little sign of sharp conflict between aging urbanites and their grown children. Where there were differences in the patterns of family life, Baoding families looked more "modern," despite the higher level of economic development of Taiwan. Specifically, Baoding elders were more likely than their Taiwan counterparts to live independently of all grown children, they were more likely to retain independent sources of income, they were less likely to receive financial and chore assistance from grown children, and married daughters were more likely to play a major role in caring for aging parents (and daughters-in-law a lesser role). The evidence indicates that China's socialist institutions produced more changes in family patterns than Taiwan's form of capitalism did, and that this contrast was still visible sixteen years after China's market reforms were launched.
Taiwan's Domestic Politics and Cross-Strait Relations
In the 1990s and into the 2000s, one finds the main impetus that drove the cross Taiwan Straits relations in Taiwan's domestic politics, particularly in its presidential elections. Democratization since the late 1980s brought about the dual trends of nativization and cross-Strait engagement that define Taiwan's electoral politics. Both the 1999-2000 and the 2003-04 presidential campaigns witnessed these dual trends and the impact they had on the presidential contenders. Vote-maximizing calculations prompted the contenders to converge toward the center and advocate mixed identity and equi-importance of economy and security in 1999-2000. Four years later with the migration of the gravity of mainstream public opinion towards greater nativization and greater engagement, both the pan-blue and pan-green presidential candidates repositioned themselves to capture the moving votes. As the referendum cum new constitution cause gained momentum on the island, Beijing and Washington were brought into the picture. They laid constraints on Taiwan's presidential contenders.
State and Business in the Era of Globalization: The Case of Cross-Strait Linkages in the Computer Industry
The economic and political entanglement between Taiwan and China provides rich materials for examining the interaction between the state and business in the era of globalization. This paper will examine, first, the general framework of state-business relations in cross-Strait economic interactions; second, the collective efforts of Taiwanese and global firms to develop the Chinese market; third, the process of "localization" of globalized Taiwanese firms in China; fourth, efforts on both sides of the Strait by the two central states, the municipal governments and quasi-state agencies to accommodate the forces of globalization; and finally, given the highly political nature of cross-Strait interactions, how direct or indirect political interventions by the two central governments have complicated this relationship.
Jean C. Oi
Patterns of Corporate Restructuring in China: Political Constraints on Privatization
This article examines the logic of China's corporate restructuring. It argues that there is a political logic that mediates the pattern of corporate restructuring that has occurred in China since the 1990s. Even though China's officials need not worry about being voted out of office, they must worry about the political fallout from restructuring. Privatization cannot be allowed to proceed unless provisions are made to placate workers who will be affected by the enterprise restructuring. The mixing of political and economic agendas has implications for the sequencing of restructuring and privatization. It affects not only the speed and the nature of the reforms, but also which enterprises can be declared bankrupt or sold. Such constraints explain why some forms of corporate restructuring are preferred over others, why ailing and already dead firms that have stopped production remain open, and why some firms for which there are takers are not privatized. Political constraints in China have resulted in significant restructuring but relatively little genuine privatization. Restructuring and privatization are distinct and separate processes that do not necessarily lead from one to the other. This paper is based on extensive interviewing and supplemented by a survey of over 400 enterprises, with time series information from 1994 to 2000.