The third group of Chinese tourists organized by Amway (China) has arrived. While the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) views business opportunities as the greatest significance of the visiting Amway employees and future Chinese tourist groups, it does not feel their exaggerated and preposterous behavior worth mentioning, nor is the government concerned that Chinese tourism is taking precedence over tourism from Japan, the US and Europe.
In China, the central government decides according to its political needs how many people can travel abroad, who can go and where they can travel.
The China-leaning Ma administration desperately needs more Chinese tourists to come to fulfill the president’s campaign promises. China therefore sees no problem in sending a few more tourists because they will get back their investment — with good returns.
The Ma administration is pinning its hopes for the economy on China and is falling all over itself to do so. China has welcomed these moves and seized the opportunity to intensify its “Taiwan-related efforts.”
Huang Mengfu (黃孟復), a vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which is charged with China’s united front work, visited Taiwan last month.
Fujian Province, which is on the frontline of China’s “Taiwan-related efforts” has also been hard at work. After a visit to Taiwan by Fujian Deputy Governor Ye Shuangyu (葉雙瑜), Xiamen Mayor Liu Cigui (劉賜貴) arrived in Taiwan last Monday with the goal of establishing a test zone for cross-strait financial cooperation and attracting Taiwanese investment for 10 of China’s major industries.
Since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took office in May, China has given priority to luring capital from Taiwan and undermining its economy.
China’s strategy to deal with Taiwan has always included exploiting business to influence political developments toward the goal of unification.
The Ma administration’s professed support of “eventual unification” has belittled Taiwan in comparison with China and Ma’s reluctance to clarify his interpretation of “one China” has proven a blessing for Beijing.
During the days of former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), China could only count on greedy Taiwanese businesspeople along with some politicians who were past their expiration dates to try to brainwash Taiwan into relying on China.
After taking office, the Ma administration and large Taiwanese business groups with huge investments in China are going full steam ahead, collaborating to make the public believe that China is Taiwan’s only economic hope. With political leaders and businesspeople in Taiwan pursuing the same goals, China does not even have to exploit business to influence political affairs in Taiwan because Taiwan is knocking at its door.
China claims the proposed cross-strait trade agreement that has caused such an outcry within Taiwan was the initiative of the Ma government, which, to quote Beijing, is falling all over itself to sign the dotted line.
China welcomes such developments and has switched to softer tactics. It is now willing to allow Taiwan some benefits. As long as Taiwan is willing to integrate with China economically, political issues will be easier to negotiate. To catch a big fish, cast your net wide.
In light of this, China will not only continue to allow large numbers of tourists to visit Taiwan, it will also offer Taiwan economic benefits at the upcoming talks between the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait or at talks on the proposed economic agreement.
Beijing’s goal is to expedite unification through economic means. Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan, along with other trade and business exchanges are aimed at connecting Taiwan and China economically.
Once that connection has been made, Taiwanese capital will flow into China and it will end up like Hong Kong, where the economy is controlled by Beijing.
Chinese academic Hu Angang (胡鞍鋼) once said that Taiwan needs China like a diabetic needs insulin and that it would cease to exist within seven days if China imposed economic sanctions.
If an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) is signed, it wouldn’t even take seven days to bring Taiwan to its knees: China would have only to turn off Taiwan’s economic resources and we would be in peril.
With the power to manipulate its economy in the hands of another country, the death of Taiwan as a nation is all but certain.
The economy is the focus of China’s “Taiwan-related efforts,” but in addition to tourism and trade, Beijing is pursuing its agenda through the media, religion, education and culture. Even an upcoming forum on Hakka affairs is not immune. Yet the Ma administration continues to open up to China.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) made a six-point proposal three months ago which, in addition to emphasizing the “one China” principle, included a desire to cooperate with the Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan’s military.
Recent reports have also said that China may invite former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to visit and that China had proposed cross-strait military confidence-building mechanisms. These are all clear examples of the speed at which China is carrying out its Taiwan agenda.
China’s strategy for dealing with Taiwan has remained unchanged for many years: It is a policy of swallowing Taiwan whole. Although it has not renounced the use of force against Taiwan, it deems the risks too high and instead talks of “peaceful unification” and “one country, two systems.”
Although its goal remains unchanged, its methods and rhetoric are being applied in increasingly flexible ways. Faced with an aggressive enemy that is closing in day by day, the Ma administration has chosen to surrender the economy, belittle Taiwan diplomatically and downsize the military.
By kowtowing to Beijing, Taiwan is quickly falling into its trap and will not be able to extricate itself. This is why the proposed ECFA has caused a public outcry and why 58 percent of respondents in a recent opinion poll said they were dissatisfied with Ma’s performance, calling him incapable of governing.
People who care about Taiwan’s survival should unite and take action to prevent the ECFA from becoming reality, oppose China’s united front strategy and abandon the president.
TRANSLATED BY DREW CAMERON
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