China Aviation Law

The Chinese Reaction to the Sendai Earthquake

Japan Quake Tsunami


On March 11, 2011, a record-breaking earthquake struck Japan. While damage from the earthquake itself was relatively minor, the north coast of the country was devastated a tsunami that was triggered by the earthquake. Initial estimates peg the damage from the earthquake to be in the thousands of lives and the billions of dollars.

Immediately after the quake, the international community responded by flying relief workers and aid into the country. While most of the international response has been positive, some have used the tragedy to dredge up previous wrongs committed by the Japanese government. Americans on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, have expressed comments that the earthquake was karmic payback for Pearl Harbor. However, the most complex, vocal and negative reactions to the quake have come from the Chinese community.

Immediately after the earthquake, the Chinese web-boards lit up with commentary on the disaster. Predictably, there were two themes of commentary on the quake. One group of commentators expressed sympathy for the victims of the earthquake. Another group expressed a negative and celebratory tone about the Japanese earthquake with comments like, “[w]armly welcome the Japanese earthquake.”

Chinese government censors have worked overtime to present the earthquake in the best light to the people. First, when the negative comments were picked up by western blogs in China, these blogs immediately hit with DDOS attacks from within the country. Second, certain positive comments that contrast the resilience and quick response of the Japanese government have been censored. As one comment, which was quickly removed wrote, “[t]he casualties from an 8.9 event in China would be hundreds of times higher than in Japan." Chinese government censors have had a similar schizophrenic response in the wake other recent nation and international tragedies – media coverage of the Chilean miners’ success was downplayed and the Chinese media very quickly buried news of the Yichuan air crash.

Finally, the Chinese government has been slow to offer aid to Japan. During the Wen Jiabao’s annual news conference, 4 days after the quake, he did not comment on the Japanese disaster until 2 ½ hours into his presentation. The Chinese have pledged $167,000 in aid and sent a 15 member search and rescue team to Japan. This number has been overshadowed by a $3.3 million pledge by the Taiwanese government and it less than the donations of surrounding countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Korea and Mongolia.


Given the sorted history between the two countries, it is not surprising to see this response from the populace. Those who grew up in China have poignant memories of stories about the Japanese occupation, which are reinforced by annual visits by Japanese Prime Minister to the Yasukuni Shrine war shrine. Additionally, the Japan is in no hurry to accept help from its former enemy as one commentator and Japanese lawyer put it, “we welcome the assistance of the United States but not China.”





Taiwan Takes Baby Steps Toward General Aviation


When I first went to Taiwan, I thought it would be like Hong Kong, with private helicopters ferrying from sky scraper to Songshan and around the island. At the very least, I expected to occasionally see some private jet traffic and small aircraft. However, but my expectations were not to be met.

Indeed, it took 4 months before I saw my first helicopter, a military helicopter doing exercises of the coast of Taidong (台东). I often traveled past Songshan airport and I don't think I ever saw a private jet come into that location.

The reason is that Taiwan does not allow private aviation. Between being under martial law for 50 years and the constant conflict with the Mainland, Taiwan has never opened up for private aviation.

The closest they come to GA is microlight aircraft, hang gliders, and para gliders. There is one English language website which covers this scene. .

Unfortunately, today, Taiwan is rather short of airfields. Outside of the major population centers like Gaoxiong, Hualian, Taidong, and the islands, there are very few places that are free to be developed. It is a shame that the government didn't convert the number of airfields that were left over from WWII. Indeed, the central park in Linkou 林口 , was once a US air base.

However, I was heartened by the news this week that Taiwan was starting a charter airline company.

The government-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC) flew its maiden flight last Saturday from Taichung City in the interior of the island state to Kinmen Island, off its coast. The company is using Astra SP aircraft it imported in 2000. The company hopes to run both domestic and international charters and has set its sights Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Manila. The big plum in the Taiwanese charter business is behind a geopolitical roadblock.


The prospect of a direct flight from Gaoxiong to Shanghai on a private aircraft is very attractive to Taiwan's growing class Mainland-based businessmen.

This is yet another example in a long list (chartered mainland flights, airmail service, non-Hong Kong diverted flight to Shanghai) of  Taiwanese government actions to normalization of air travel in the next few years.

The Astra SP is the aircraft of choice for the Taiwanese Charter Service. (A bit of an odd choice as there were only 37 ever built)


Land Reform in Taiwan 台湾农地改革


***(This is a brief review I wrote for my professor. The Taiwanese economic turnaround was a real miracle. They went from 700% inflation to 8% in just a few years)***

After the KMT government took control of Taiwan, it sought to implement the 1930 Land Law. Chen Cheng, Land Reform in China 21 (China Publishing Company 1961). However, the Land Law only contained general principles of land reform. Id. Therefore, beginning in 1949, the KMT government promulgated a number of regulations, which aimed to implement Sun Yat Sen's vision of land regulation Id. at 22.

The first regulation was the “Regulations Governing the Lease of Private Farm Lands in the Taiwan Province.” Id. This regulation had three essential goals, reducing rental rates, protecting the tenant's rights, and clarifying the landlord's rights and remedies. Id. The regulation provided that the rents the tenant had to pay to the landlord could not exceed 37.5% of the total annual yield of principle crop. Id. at 23. Before the regulations, only about one in ten tenants had written contracts with their landlords. Id. at 10. Without a written contract, the landlord would often raise rental rates or break their lease at will. Id. Thus, the regulations aimed to stem this problem my requiring that all contracts were to be in writing and no shorter that six years. Id. at 23. Finally, the regulations clarified the landlord's rights and remedies by providing that rents were to be paid on time and contracts which were in arrears for two years could be canceled. Id.

The second wave of land regulation came in 1951 when the KMT government started selling public lands to tenant farmers. Peter Chen-main Wang, A Bastion Created, A Regime Reformed, An Economy Reengineered, 1949-1970, in Taiwan: a new history 320, 324 (Murray A. Rubinstein ed., M.E. Sharpe 2007). This public land was land acquired by the government from the Japanese nationals and Japanese administration after the conclusion of World War II. Id. During this period, the KMT sold nearly a fifty of the arable land in Taiwan to landless tenant-farmers. Id.

This policy paved the way for the implementation of the Land-to-the-Tiller Act which was promulgated in 1953. Chen at 71. The act's goal was to abolish land tenancy by limiting the amount of land a landlord could own. To that end, the act required that the government purchase all tenant-cultivated land in excess of a prescribed retention limit. Id. The government purchased land was then “resold to Taiwanese tillers at a price of 2.5 times the value of the main crops.” Wang at 324.

These policies had a tremendous effect in Taiwan. From 1949 to 1952, number of tenant families dropped from 39 percent to 11 percent and average income of the tenant farmer rose 81 percent. Id. at 325.