Friday, May 09, 2014

Terry Gou’s Diatribe Against Democracy

Hon Hai’s chairman says that democracy doesn’t put food on the table. That may be so, but democracy gives people the freedom to decide what to eat 

Oh boy, you know there is something deeply rotten when business tycoons get involved in politics, especially when their ability to build fortunes depends on one’s close relationship with an authoritarian regime. 

Taiwan has had its share of ultra-rich entrepreneurs who, for the sake of their business interests, have willingly cozied up to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and chosen to look the other way when it comes to, say, the Chinese government’s human rights abuses. Some individuals, such as Want Want China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), are notorious for putting their business interests in China before trivial things like freedom of information, and it is no surprise that when the Yilan native sought to acquire Next Media’s Taiwan operations (including Apple Daily) in 2012, media watchdogs and civil society mobilized to ensure that the deal was properly scrutinized by the government. 

Mr. Tsai’s efforts were frustrated, but despite his many faults — editorial pressure on his reporters, self-censorship on sensitive issues in China, bullying behavior — he rarely, if ever, acted as if he were anything other than as a businessman. 

Not so much Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Hon Hai Precision Technology Co, whose tremendous successes as a businessman seem to have cultivated a distorted view of his position within society and influence on government policy. 

My article, published today on Thinking Taiwan, continues here.

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