Sun, Jun 26, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Achievements in PRC propaganda

One cannot help help but be impressed by the extent to which Beijing has mastered and refined the art of the propaganda. Within a few months, the Chinese government has managed to crawl out of the hole that it had dug itself with the passage of its "Anti-Secession" Law, and has painted an illusory yet rosy picture about not just the state of cross-strait relations but also its own regime.

According to an international survey conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center for the People, in many countries, China is viewed more favorably than the US. This raises the concern that China's improved image will go a long way in helping it convince the international community to accept the "one China" policy.

This is of course not good news for Taiwan. While the "favorable" image most likely does not reflect China's domestic and diplomatic actions, Beijing is now in a position to manipulate this image to further isolate Taiwan and convince the international community that the cross-strait relationship is an "internal affair" over which foreign countries such as the US and Japan should not meddle.

Ironically, Beijing has a lot of people to thank within Taiwan for the success of its propaganda offensive. Right after the enactment of the Anti Secession Law, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) literally fought for the chance to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), making a mockery of the government's cross-strait policy.

Many commentators within Taiwan agreed that the farce successfully created the illusion that the Taiwanese people are "not that angry" with Beijing, thereby easing mounting international pressure against the Chinese government.

The Lien and Soong trips opened a Pandora's box of unauthorized negotiations with Beijing. In the past, such talks were typically carried out in secret. These days, people just don't care about the authority of the government, and will deal with China with or without government authorization.

If cross-strait relations had genuinely improved after the China visits, then perhaps the pan-blue camp's bout of "freelance diplomacy" would have been worth it. But this is simply not the case. Beijing's policy toward Taiwan has remained the same.

On Friday, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) quoted from a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) internal document which indicates that Beijing will continue to on the one hand step up its military buildup against Taiwan, while on the other hand instruct its overseas missions to intensify a campaign directed toward the "Chinese people" on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The campaign will stress the point that all the Chinese people "are wise enough to resolve their differences."

The documents also characterizes the cross-strait relationship as "grim" and directs the People's Liberation Army to maintain a high degree of combat readiness.

The content of this document is consistent with the findings of a national security report recently submitted to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). The report also stated that if Beijing launched a military campaign against Taiwan, it will most likely target the nation's non-military infrastructure, such as water purification plants, electricity grids and banking institutions during the first wave of its attack, with the intent of demoralizing the people and striking at their will to resist the invasion. Appropriately, the government has promptly decided to improve and integrate its disaster relief system to help defend against such actions.

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