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





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



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。 


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.