Friday, August 17, 2018

China’s Dangerous ‘Bottom-Up’ Ultranationalism and the 85℃ Incident: a Warning

By allowing netizens to define its cross-Strait policy, Beijing risks losing control of the situation and could cause severe harm to an already tense relationship 

China’s punitive “strategy” on Taiwan once again escalated this week after the Taiwanese coffee chain 85℃ Bakery Cafe came under assault by Chinese ultranationalists over a visit to one of its stores in Los Angeles by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. 

The ire was sparked by President Tsai’s visit to the coffee shop, where staff, excited to be meeting the democratically elected head of state, gave her store paraphernalia as a gift (Chinese disinformation claimed the package was stuffed with money). 

After photos of the encounter were made public, Chinese ultranationalists kicked into action and accused the chain, which operates 859 stores in China and made 64% of its Q1 revenue there, of supporting Taiwan independence. Threats of a boycott (described by the South China Morning Post as a “zealous online campaign”) were sent to the company’s Weibo account, and its Taiwan website was was knocked offline by what is believe to have been a cyber attack. The next day, Long Mingbiao, deputy director of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), said China would “never allow” a company that (purportedly) supports Taiwanese independence to operate in China. 

Continues here.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Conflict in the Taiwan Strait Is No Mere ‘Family Struggle’—It’s Part of Something Much Greater

Whether we like it or not, Taiwan is in the frontline of an ongoing battle — and it is heating up — to determine the kind of world we and our children will live in for years to come 

In his latest article for the National Interest, Lyle J. Goldstein, a research professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College, builds upon a theme he explored in his 2015 book Meeting China Halfway and counters his critic, Gordon Chang, with a series of arguments that simply do not stand the test of scrutiny. 

The gist of Goldstein’s argument is that the United States should not risk the lives of tens of thousands of its servicemen and women in the defense of Taiwan should the democratic island-nation of twenty-three million people come under military assault from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). One of the reasons why the United States should avoid doing so, he avers, is that conflict in the Taiwan Strait is little more than a “family quarrel,” unfinished business from the Chinese Civil War that led to the defeat of the Kuomintang (KMT), which at the time ruled over the Republic of China (ROC), at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which after evicting the KMT in 1949 established the PRC. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

WATCH: China's Military Just Released a New Video Showing Off Its Most Powerful Weapons

The video is brimful with the grandiosity that is now associated with the military under Xi Jinping: a lot of ammunition is fired, and the very latest in China’s military technology — combat aircraft, a carrier battle group, long-range ballistic missiles, submarines and armored vehicles — is on full, proud, active display 

On Aug. 1 a video titled “I am a Chinese Soldier” began circulating in China and quickly went viral on social media as the country marked Army Day. 

The slick, 2 min 20 second production emphasizes the personal sacrifices made by members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who leave their families behind to resolutely defend the nation and its claimed territory. 

Continues here. (Note that the carrier battle group shown in the video is actually...from the U.S. Navy!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

‘Peaceful Unification’ Is Dead and Buried

The Chinese Communist Party uses ‘peaceful’ as a cover, a smokescreen to isolate and sideline whomever opposes its objective of annexing Taiwan. It is in fact coercive, one-sided, certainly not magnanimous, and increasingly punitive in its response to the resistance this project has encountered 

Hardly a week goes by without Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a spokesperson at the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, or a political commentator at some institute somewhere in China emphasizing China’s desire for “peaceful unification” with Taiwan. The expression has a nice, soothing din to it — after all, who opposes peace, or the peaceful resolution of a decades-long conflict? Only radicals, extremists, or groups with unsavory ties to foreign imperialist powers could possibly seek to derail such lofty goals. 

There are two fundamental problems with that formulation. 

Continues here.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

China’s Bullying of Taiwan Highlights its Helplessness Against the Drift of Taiwanese Society

Beijing’s hopes for a gradual unification of Taiwan with China have been frustrated, not by Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP, but by Taiwanese society’s growing drift from China. Unable to admit this, China has resorted to heavy-handed tactics that is pushing the Taiwanese further away 

The election of Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party in January 2016 marked the end of a phase in cross-strait relations when Beijing still believed in the possibility of winning the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese through “goodwill” and economic incentives. Since then, Beijing has embraced a strategy that seeks to corner, isolate and punish Taiwan for its intransigence on the unification question. 

Although many would ascribe that change in attitude to the 2016 elections and blame the Tsai administration’s refusal to acknowledge the so-called “1992 consensus” for the souring relations, this reckoning actually occurred earlier – two years earlier, in 2014, when the Sunflower student movement derailed the partial rapprochement that had prevailed since 2008 under former president Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang. More than an incident over a particular trade agreement, the movement epitomised a society’s refusal to associate too closely with authoritarian China, a reality that not only contributed to Tsai’s victory but also to the KMT’s dismissal of its initial candidate for the presidency, who was regarded as too ideologically close to Beijing – even for the blue camp’s taste. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Disinformation Targets Legitimacy of Taiwan’s Passport

A rumor claiming that Taiwanese can no longer use their passport to board international flights and that the E.U. had revised its visa-free entry policy for Taiwanese nationals has forced the Taiwanese government to respond. Expect more such incidents as China ramps up its disinformation campaign 

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday was forced to step in and deny an Internet rumor that from July 25 international airlines no longer recognized the Republic of China (Taiwan) passport and that Taiwanese nationals no longer enjoyed visa-free entry into the U.K. and the E.U. 

The rumors, which spread on various online platforms including the popular Line application, stemmed from a message alleging that a Taiwanese national had been unable to board an Air Canada flight because the airline no longer recognized the ROC passport “due to pressure from China” and the fact that “Taiwan is not recognized as a country.” Only after presenting his Taiwan ID card was the man allowed to board the plane, the message claimed. “Two people with Taiwanese passports have already been denied boarding, so please remember to bring your [Taiwan] ID card,” it said. 

Continues here.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Unity Is Key to Countering China’s ‘Sharp Power’

China is in conflict with a world order and a system of rules and beliefs that it now regards as an impediment to its ambitions. As its influence activities corrode the democratic firewall that unites and protects us, we must respond with our own united front 

As the world begins to understand the scope and ramifications of China’s “sharp power,” it has become evident that in the 21st century, Taiwan will be an indispensable partner to the international community as it strives to counter efforts by revisionist forces and defend the democratic values that we cherish. More than ever, it is clear that China’s unending — and intensifying — assault on Taiwan is an assault on the entire liberal democratic order that has underpinned our societies since the end of World War II. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

China’s Great Squeeze Strategy Against Tsai Ing-wen

Beijing seeks to isolate Taiwan and condition its people and the international community to accept a ‘new normal.’ It also seeks to widen differences not only between the ‘blue’ and ‘green’ camps in Taiwan politics, but also between the ‘mainstream’ and ‘radical’ greens and thus spark a dangerous vicious circle 

Beijing has precious few partners left back in Taiwan to help it engineer the “peaceful” unification that is at the core of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s “great rejuvenation” ambitions. In fact, trends over the years and Beijing’s inability to come up with a formula that can have a modicum of appeal among the Taiwanese have put the lie to the notion that unification can occur without a largely coercive component. 

Forget the Taiwan Affairs Office’s “31 incentives” unveiled earlier this year, or the trickle of delegations by marginal members of the “blue” and “red” camps to Beijing, or the United Front forums organized here and there to cultivate a pro-Beijing youth among the Taiwanese. None of those measures will succeed in generating enough momentum to shift overall perceptions of China in Taiwan. 

Continues here.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

It's Time to Stop China's Seaward Expansion

Through our inattention, we have lost control of the South China Sea, which Beijing now occupies and has militarized. It is now time to push back, and the best place to do so is in the East China Sea 

There was a time, when President Barack Obama was still in the White House, when the U.S.-led coalition in the Asia-Pacific could have responded to, and perhaps countered, the creeping occupation and militarization of the South China Sea. According to many security experts, the window for such action has now closed, and Beijing has successfully created irreversible facts on the ground. If that is indeed the case, then freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) and other measures are too little, too late. China has engineered a new status quo in the South China Sea, and efforts to counter its larger ambitions should henceforth focus elsewhere. 

What is perhaps most surprising about what has occurred in the South China Sea in the past decade isn’t so much that China has succeeded in building a series of artificial islands and militarizing what it regards as its “lake,” but rather that the international community would be caught unawares by the current state of affairs. From the outset, Beijing telegraphed its intentions in the South China Sea, and if it has become a no-go zone for others in the region, and for the United States, it is largely the result of our inattention and our failure to read the tea leaves. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Threatened Ban on Hong Kong National Party Signals Beijing’s Weakness

One hell of a contrast: As Beijing renders illegal small political parties in the Hong Kong experiment with autonomy, Taiwan has moved in the opposite direction, even allowing the existence of political parties that openly advocate for unification 

Hong Kong authorities this week signaled that the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) could be banned under the Societies Ordinance. 

If HKNP is banned, it would be illegal to be a member of the party, to raise funds for it or to act on its behalf. Violators could face up to three years imprisonment and a HK$12,000 fine. Party leaders have been given three weeks to make the case as to why HKNP should not be slapped a prohibition order, which would ostensibly be issued “in the interest of national security.” 

Continues here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Xi-Lien Meeting: Same Old Platitudes, With Two Possible Gems

Given how little the two men gave us to run with, all we’re left with is what wasn’t said, or things half-said, which may give us a glimpse of the unconscious elements that fuel the narrative. If we’re lucky, those may yield opportunities for conflict resolution 

Anyone who expected substance from last Friday’s meeting in Beijing between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and former Kuomintang (KMT) chairman Lien Chan was probably asking for the impossible. As expected, the two men mostly regurgitated the same old platitudes about “one China” and the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 

The fact that Xi can only meet someone like Lien, whose relevance in Taiwanese affairs has markedly dimmed over the years, speaks volumes about Beijing’s inability to entertain contact with people who can actually influence the shape and direction of Taiwanese politics. In fact, Xi has largely limited himself to meetings with people, like the 81-year-old Lien, the unelectable Hung Hsiu-chu (dumped by her own party ahead of the 2016 elections), and Yok Mu-ming, chairman of the marginal pro-unification New Party, who are unlikely to challenge him and whose views, I must add, are completely out of sync with the large majority of Taiwanese — in both the “green” and “blue” camps.  

Continues here.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Taiwan in Dead Center of China’s Greater Territorial Ambitions

Beijing is determined to rewrite the rules in the Asia-Pacific region. No matter who occupies the Presidential Office in Taipei, that will be a problem for them 

China on Monday accused the United States of “playing psychological games” and “harming peace and stability” after two U.S. Navy warships transited the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, the first such passage since July 2017. 

The Japan-based USS Mustin and USS Benfold Arleigh Burke-class destroyers made the transit in international waters late on Saturday evening as part of routine freedom of navigation passages. U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Charlie Brown said that “U.S. Navy ships transit between the South China Sea and East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait and have done so for many years.” 

Continues here.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Neutrality for Taiwan: A Dangerous Proposal

Former vice president Annette Lu and her supporters have floated the idea of a ‘neutral’ Taiwan that is ‘devoted to peace.’ Not only is that proposal based on a naive view of China, it could take Taiwan down the road to ruin 

Sometime in 2014, former vice president Annette Lu and other luminaries launched her Peace and Neutrality for Taiwan Alliance, an initiative that seeks to secure genuine political neutrality for Taiwan as the region becomes a battleground for U.S. and Chinese influence. 

Under Lu’s proposal, which would come in the form of a referendum, Taiwan would “give up confrontation with China, and … proclaim to the world that we want peace and neutrality. “We will forge friendship with every country that is friendly to us, including China,” she told a press conference last year. 

Continues here.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Is Taiwan Ready for an Aggressive China?

Despite the rhetoric, Beijing still has not made Taiwan its No. 1 priority. Taipei cannot afford to wait for the day when it does, and in the meantime could made a few policy changes that would increase its chances of survival 

For all the harsh rhetoric coming out of China and growing frequency of exercises by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), it remains far from convincing that the unification of Taiwan is the top priority for Beijing. But that could change, and when it does, Taiwan had better be prepared to meet that extraordinary challenge. The problem is that, sadly, there are few signs of serious preparation in Taipei for that day. 

Things could be far worse. Notwithstanding Beijing’s saber-rattling and the lifting of term limits for President Xi Jinping, Taiwan remains one of a series of issues with which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has to grapple. Besides a looming trade war with America and spreading blowback by countries that feel threatened by China, there is every indication that the Chinese economy is headed for trouble. It is rife with contradictions and unsustainable in its present form. Although the economy will not contribute to the collapse of China or of the removal of the CCP from control, it is nevertheless sufficient to make President Xi uncertain as to his grip on power. In fact, Xi is increasingly paranoid about those who might want to unseat him—especially now that constitutional mechanisms for doing so have been dispensed with. The tightening of controls over almost every sector of Chinese society, as well as increased restrictions on the ability of Chinese to interact with their foreign counterparts, tells of a regime that feels insecure. In other words, China’s CCP and Xi is feared rather than loved. Therefore, state stability and regime survival, are the CCP’s top priority and will remain so for the foreseeable future. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Say What You Want, Opposing Same-Sex Marriage Is Not a Human Right

Expanding human rights so that visible minorities are treated as equals under the law should be the aspiration of any democratic society. The granting of such rights may clash with the views, opinions and beliefs of certain groups and individuals. But it does not, in any way, violate their human rights 

As anti-LGBT groups in Taiwan continue to warn society of the purported dangers associated with the legalization of same-sex unions, many have turned the tables on the issue by claiming that opposition to gay marriage is a human right and that it ought to be protected under the democratic principle of freedom of expression. 

By doing so, opponents seek to create a moral equivalence, one in which there is no right or wrong. This argument creates losers no matter what: as long as the issue continues to be debated, gays and lesbians remain unable to form a union like the rest of us; and should laws be promulgated that do permit same-sex unions, the losers would be the opponents, whose human rights would be “violated.”  

Continues here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

JAL, ANA Show How to Respond to Chinese Pressure

Yes, the two Japanese carriers have given in to Chinese pressure. But they may have found a formula that meets Beijing’s demands without imposing China’s ‘Orwellian nonsense’ on the rest of us 

Since April, dozens of airlines providing flights to China have been pressured by Chinese authorities to change how they refer to Taiwan on their web sites so as to avoid any reference that my suggest statehood for the island-nation. With very few exceptions, airlines have yielded to those demands and now refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China,” “Taipei, CN,” or other such designations. 

In many cases, governments have been reluctant to involve themselves in the matter, arguing that it is not their place to interfere in the decisions of private entities. Some governments have even denied being approached by airlines that sought assistance and guidance as they struggled to deal with the matter. (I’ve argued elsewhere that governments must regard this issue as a matter of foreign interference in our countries.) 

Continues here.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nice Democracy You’ve Got There. Be a Shame If Something Happened to It

China's Communist Party is using thuggish proxies to disrupt Taiwan and Hong Kong 

Secret societies, criminal organizations, and triads have existed for centuries in China, but most were chased out after the victory of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 1949 civil war. Triads continued to flourish in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan — where many fled alongside Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated Nationalists. But while the CCP drove them out of the mainland, the party has found them a very useful tool to disrupt and frustrate opponents in societies such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, where resistance to the party runs high. 

The CCP only had to turn to the Nationalists to see the benefits of secret societies. In the early days of the civil war, Chiang often relied on the Green Gang, a secret society based in Shanghai, to gather information on Communists and assault them physically when necessary. Chiang’s Nationalists had also developed a relationship with the 14K, a triad that, like the Green Gang, harassed Communists and relocated to Hong Kong after the war. 

Continues here.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Worry Not: The New AIT Compound in Taipei Will Not Derail US-China Relations

Much speculation has surrounded this month’s opening of the new de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan and the effects it could have on Sino-American relations and efforts to resolve the North Korea issue. There is no reason why the ceremony should affect any of this 

After years of delays, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the U.S.’ new de facto embassy in Taiwan, will hold a ceremony on June 12 to dedicate its new complex in Neihu. Much speculation — and misunderstanding — has surrounded the event. This includes fears, in some circles, that the ceremony could “anger” Beijing or derail plans for a U.S.-North Korea summit the same week. 

At the heart of the issue are questions about which senior official, if any, the Donald Trump administration will send to the event, especially after the president’s signing, earlier this year, of the Taiwan Travel Act, a piece of legislation which encourages exchanges by senior U.S. and Taiwanese officials. 

Continues here.

Friday, May 25, 2018

China’s Bullying of Taiwan: External Distraction for an Underperforming CCP?

Beijing’s harassment of Taiwan is not only failing, it serves as a distraction for a regime in Beijing that has done very little to help the nearly quarter of a billion Chinese who have not touched the benefits of economic growth, or to address the many challenges that threaten the future stability of the country 

China’s efforts to isolate and pressure Taiwan have intensified as President Tsai Ing-wen marked the second anniversary of her inauguration in May 20. Airlines, global firms and now some foreign media with a presence in China have received “orders” from Chinese authorities on how to refer to Taiwan on their sites and in their publications, and many have acceded to hose demands. Meanwhile, Beijing again this year succeeded in holding global health hostage by preventing Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. And exercises by the Chinese military have continued apace, with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft getting dangerously close to Taiwanese airspace. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ottawa Can’t Shirk Responsibility in China-Taiwan Air Canada Controversy

The Trudeau government’s cowardly response to Air Canada’s decision to list Taiwan as part of China could damage Canada’s reputation abroad 

The decision by Air Canada earlier this month to give in to Chinese pressure on international airlines and to refer to Taiwan as “Taipei, CN” on its website has caused a stir in political circles and drawn renewed attention to the need for Ottawa to stand up for the values that define Canadians. The Canadian government simply cannot afford to avoid the issue. Ultimately, this intrusion in our domestic affairs affects the reputation of Canada abroad as a [...] 

Continues here (paywalled).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

時間不多了!台灣必須振作起來

綜觀北京當局近來針對台灣所有的文攻武嚇,雖有人民解放軍提升在鄰近區域的演習頻率,外加限縮台灣國際空間的種種企圖,中國仍然無法說服外界:已經把「統一台灣」列為第一優先要務。不過,情況是會改變的,而等到那天真的到來,台灣最好已經做足面對這項艱難挑戰的準備。但遺憾的是,目前實在看不出來,台灣有在認真地準備

其實原本的情勢會更加嚴峻。儘管北京方面得以展現軍力耀武揚威,並且取消了國家主席習近平的任期限制,台灣依然是中國共產黨必須纏鬥的難題。但是中國的國際處境艱難,包括與美國的貿易大戰迫在眉睫,以及部分民主國家因中國在其自家後院的活動頻繁,備感壓力而相繼反彈。 

此外,中國的經濟亦充斥著矛盾,從現況看來無從永續,在在顯示麻煩重重。這些困境雖不至於造成中國崩潰或中國共產黨垮台,卻足以讓習近平產生掌權的不確定感,而他對於有可能推翻他的人,也逐漸多疑起來(特別是現在的中國憲法,已無從要求國家主席下台)。中國對社會的每個部門,幾乎都加強了管控,中國人與外國同行之間的互動,也受到更多限制。這顯示出執政當局沒有安全感,民眾畏懼它而非愛戴。因此,國家穩定與政權確保,才是(目前)中國共產黨的第一優先考量,在可見的未來也依然如此。

Continues here.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

As Airlines Give In to Chinese Pressure, Taiwan Needs a Strategy to Hit Back

Citizens or Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Administration could initiate legal action in Taiwan or in other jurisdictions against airlines that list Taiwan as part of China, as doing so violates consumer rights and breaks Taiwan’s domestic laws 

The recent decision by a number of international airlines to give in to pressure from Beijing and to remove all references suggesting Taiwan’s statehood from their web sites has sparked outrage in Taiwan and abroad. Earlier this week, Air Canada became the latest airline to do so, and began advertising flights to Taiwan under the designation “Taipei, CN.” 

At least 12 airlines since January have complied with a request by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to abide by Chines law, chief among them laws which stipulate that Taiwan, like Macau and Hong Kong, is territory which belongs to China. 

Continues here
Chinese-language version in CNA here.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Air Canada’s Kowtowing to China Sends a Dangerous Signal

I speak for many Canadians today in feeling ashamed for the decision by Air Canada, a company we can be proud of, to give in to Beijing’s coercion. Surely we can do better than this 

In the months since China began to bring pressure on international airlines to remove all references from their websites, apps and booking services to Taiwan as anything other than part of China, I, along with many other Canadians living in Asia, had taken great pride in the fact that Air Canada had refused to be cowed by the authoritarian giant. 

Sadly, that is no more. Joining a growing list of airlines including Qantas, Delta, British Airways and Lufthansa, Air Canada now uses a designation – “Taipei, CN” – that does not reflect reality, but can only please the leadership in Beijing, which refuses to acknowledge the existence of Taiwan as a sovereign entity. 

Continues here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Does China Have a ‘Blacklist’ of Taiwan ‘Separatists’?

Even if the blacklist doesn’t currently exist, China’s habit of extraterritorial abductions makes it all too plausible 

During a regular press conference on Wednesday, An Fengshan, a spokesman for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), was asked by a reporter whether there indeed existed, as reported in Chinese media a few days ago, a “blacklist” of Taiwanese “separatists” who could be targeted for punitive action by China. 

Responding to what undoubtedly was, as per tradition at such functions, another leading question meant to increase the pitch of China’s psychological warfare against Taiwan, An responded with the usual vague platitudes — neither confirming nor denying, but just enough to create the impression that such a plot could exist. (See, for another example of this, An’s response to a question about an upcoming military drill last month.) 

Continues here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

China’s Bullying of International Firms Reaches New Low With Gap T-Shirt Incident

In recent months China has used its Cyber Security Law and advertising regulations to pressure various international firms into removing references to Taiwan as a country from their web sites and APPs. Now it’s taken the blackmail one step further: into our own backyard 

It’s been a dispiriting past few months, what with a number of global brands kowtowing to the authoritarian regime in Beijing and giving in to its “Orwellian nonsense” on its territorial expansionism. 

Citing its domestic laws Cyber Security Law and advertising regulations, China has pressured dozens of international airlines, hotel chains and others into removing all references to Taiwan on their web sites and APPs that may suggest that the island-nation isn’t part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China. 

Continues here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Do American Companies Need to Take a Stance on Taiwan?

China’s airline regulator recently sent a letter to 36 international air carriers requiring them to remove from their websites references implying that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau are not part of China. In a surprisingly direct May 5 statement, the White House said U.S. President Donald Trump “will stand up for Americans resisting efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens.” The statement called Beijing’s move “Orwellian nonsense,” adding that it was “part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies.” The letter comes just months after Beijing punished and chastised companies like Marriott, Zara, and Delta for not showing enough deference to Beijing’s views of territorial integrity. How should American companies respond to these types of requests from the Chinese government? And does the White House’s response help American interests in China? 

The international community—firms, states, and multilateral institutions—only has itself to blame for this latest round of coercion, because we’ve allowed Beijing’s browbeating over the years to cow us into submission. Since that strategy has gotten it what it wants, it’s only normal that the Chinese Communist Party would continue to do so. 

China’s escalation has sparked a long-overdue response from the White House. While there is some irony in the Trump administration’s reference to “Orwellian nonsense,” as itself could arguably be accused of having engaged in similar practices, the push-back is nevertheless reflective of the views of a much larger segment of American society, and of growing impatience with a revisionist state that wants to dictate how we run our own affairs. Interestingly, no sooner had the White House released its statement than Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, was issuing a similar warning to Beijing over its political pressure on Qantas. 

My contribution to this ChinaFile Conversation, continues here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

China Acting on ‘Lebanization’ Threat Against Taiwan

Beijing has given up on winning the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese. Instead, using violence-prone proxies and a fake civil society, the CCP wants to destabilize Taiwanese society and undermine support for the country’s democratic institutions 

After years of trying in vain to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese as part of its mergineffort to engineer the unification of China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has recognized the error of its ways and has abandoned that strategy. Instead, it is now intensifying efforts to corrode and undermine Taiwan’s democratic institutions, create social instability, further isolate Taiwan internationally, and hollow-out Taiwan’s economy by attracting its talent. 

The key reason behind that shift is the abject failure of its attempt, during eight years of rapprochement under the Ma Ying-jeou presidency (2008-2016), to shape Taiwanese self-identification and support for unification through various economic incentives and various acts self-described as “goodwill.” When, for reasons having to do with Taiwan’s “democratic firewall,” that approach did not yield the expected dividends (and in fact had the counterproductive effect of strengthening Taiwanese identification), and when this was followed by the return to power of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which secured control of both the executive ands legislative branches of government in the January 2016 elections, Beijing found itself without a coherent strategy. Or rather, one important aspect of the CCP’s dialectic approach to Taiwan — the “win hearts and mind” strategy — was at long last buried. 

Continues here.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Does China’s Pressure on Airlines to Write Off Taiwan Break WTO Rules?

At this stage in the game, Taiwan can no longer just count on the kindness and principles of other players in the international community to protect its interest. It, along with its friends, needs to go on the offensive by pushing back where it might hurt Beijing the most. The WTO might be a good place to start 

In recent months Chinese authorities have ramped up their pressure on international airlines to remove all references from their web sites, online booking services and APPs to Taiwan suggesting it is a country. 

In January this year, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) ordered all foreign airlines operating flights to China to conduct a full review of their client information content such as their official websites or APPs to ensure they do not breach Chinese laws. The CAAC also reportedly summoned the representatives of 25 foreign airlines operating in China and demanded their companies remove all references to Taiwan as a country, as well as its national flag, from their web sites. On April 25, the CAAC renewed its pressure with a letter to 36 foreign airlines, including a number of American carriers. 

Continues here.

Friday, May 04, 2018

台多斷交的啟示:此時此刻台灣更需專注於重要盟邦

失去盟邦所造成的心理衝擊程度,可以說很有限,因為台灣民眾看待情勢的態度很務實

事實上,其他可能被中國拉攏的台灣邦交國,都是不具全球影響力的微小經濟體。 中華民國(台灣)與多明尼加共和國的正式邦交,在5月1日終止,結束雙方長達77年的官方關係。消息傳來之時,多明尼加共和國的官員,正在北京與中華人民共和國(PRC)建交。由於這項最新發展,台灣正式邦交國的數目減為19國。 

多明尼加總統梅迪納政府同時表示,該國承認「一個中國」原則,並接受北京當局所稱「台灣是中華人民共和國不可分割的一部分」的立場。 

Continues here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

China, Taiwan, and the Art of Stealing Allies

The effect of Beijing stealing Taiwan’s official diplomatic partners is limited and symbolic at best

The Taiwanese government on the morning of May 1 announced that it was severing official diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic after it confirmed reports Dominican officials were in Beijing to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 

The decision by the Dominican Republic comes after seventy-seven years of official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (ROC). This latest development leaves the ROC, the official designation for Taiwan, with nineteen official diplomatic allies—most of them small states in Africa and Central America, the Pacific. 

Continues here.