Monday, July 27, 2015

Taiwan Needs a Counter-Propaganda Strategy

The Taiwanese need their own United Front to counter Beijing’s propaganda. But before they can do so, they need to better understand each other 

Anyone who has spent enough time in Taiwan should be aware of the fundamental difference that exists between the Chinese and Taiwanese society. Young Taiwanese — those who were born in the late 1980s onwards — have no other experience of citizenship than that of living in a democracy. Granted, their identity can be shaped by the experiences of their parents and grandparents who lived under Martial Law and the Cold War, but first and foremost, theirs is the life of citizens of a liberal-democracy. 

For young Chinese from the same generation, the experience is markedly different. They grew up in an authoritarian system that fosters amnesia. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) doesn’t want them to know the past — or to put it better, it wants them to know a version of the past that lionizes the CCP and one in which discussing party mistakes is risky business. For most young Chinese, a strong party-state that ensures stability, economic growth, and which fuels their nationalistic pride, is sufficient. Democratic ideals are unnecessary — and sometimes dangerous — intrusions by a West that wants to keep China “weak.” 

My article, published today on Thinking Taiwan, continues here (photo by the author).

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