chapter  5
16 Pages

From being privileged to being localized? Taiwanese businessmen in China

Introduction When I am among my own people, they understand me, as I understand them; and this understanding creates within me a sense of being somebody in the world.

(Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty1)

Taiwanese businesspeople have invested in China for almost three decades. Most of these businesspeople, called Taishang, consider political questions to be quite sensitive. The most popular saying among the Taishang is: ‘Businesspeople only talk about business’. Nevertheless, due to the changing cross-Strait relationship, it is more or less unavoidable for Taishang in China to involve themselves in political issues. More precisely, they have indirect influence on Taiwan’s mainland policies and are also involved in China’s local politics.