Mon, Jun 20, 2011 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Seeing through China’s strategy

Indeed, a number of disaffected former DPP politicians have responded to China’s call to “repent and reform.” When visiting China, these people have been given a grand reception and are now counted among China’s “new friends.”

This is even truer of people in the business sector. Taiwan being a democracy, businesspeople here are free to support political parties and candidates. Now, for the sake of being able to invest in and trade with China, quite a lot of businesspeople have, voluntarily or otherwise, tailored their ways to meet China’s requirements by supporting only those parties and candidates that meet with China’s approval.

As a result, Taiwan-centric and pro-independence parties and candidates find themselves starved of election campaign resources, while the KMT, which had a great deal of money and property to begin with, gets the lion’s share of political donations. This imbalance is slanting the playing field ever more steeply in favor of the KMT and its pan-blue allies. If things go on like this, Taiwan’s hard-won democracy is going to crumble away, leaving it even more vulnerable to pressure from China.

Taiwanese had better be on their guard, because China’s all-out united-front strategy toward Taiwan is not someone else’s problem.

China learned a lesson from the results of national elections in Taiwan between 1996 and 2004. It learned that missile tests and verbal and military threats are not effective ways of influencing Taiwanese hearts and minds. Such tactics will only make Taiwanese dislike China.

So, while China has quietly increased the number of missiles it has pointed at Taiwan to more than 1,000, it hasn’t fired any of them since the missile tests it held in 1995 and 1996. Instead, China has gone on a smile offensive, giving the impression that peace prevails across the Taiwan Strait and concealing its plan to annex Taiwan.

China wants to give the impression that it is conceding benefits to Taiwan all over the place. For example, the real purpose of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement is to lock Taiwan’s economy into a monolithic Chinese market, but Beijing’s spin on the agreement is that it is making sacrifices for Taiwan’s benefit. The scary thing is that Ma, who is commander-in-chief of Taiwan’s armed forces, has complete trust in everything China promises.

Some people may have the attitude that if China wants to play its united-front tactics, then let it go ahead, because we can take advantage of the opportunity to make a lot of money. People who think that way take China for a fool, but in fact they are the real fall guys. They should open their eyes and look at what China is up to.

On the one hand, it is playing divide and conquer with Taiwan, while on the other it is tightening the noose around Taiwan in the international community. The pressure China put on the WHO to classify Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China” is just one example. Given its record, does anyone really think China is so stupid as to let Taiwanese make a load of money for nothing?

Ma recently told a student workshop that while China poses risks to Taiwan, it also offers opportunities, but in reality he sees only the opportunities, while turning a blind eye to the risks.

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