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.

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