As next year’s presidential election approaches, China has been repeatedly making efforts to interfere with the decision-making process.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee held its fourth plenary session late last month. At the plenum, they discussed complicated personnel replacements, international strategy and changes in the China-US economic and trade relationship, including whether to adjust the “Made in China 2025” slogan that has attracted so much attention from the international media.
Taiwanese are all too aware that China is the nation’s biggest threat, and during its ongoing campaigning, many seem to have eaten too many “dried mango strips” (芒果乾) — a near-homophonic expression of “a sense of national doom” (亡國感).
Apart from caring about traffic accidents, gossip and scandals, and even the war of words between politicians, every sector of society, including the media, would hopefully try to better understand what the enemy is up to.
Although the tit-for-tat of the US-China trade dispute seems to have slowed, rhetoric from US Vice President Mike Pence shows that the US has not changed its attitude toward China’s “peaceful evolution.”
In an expression of continued friendliness toward Taiwan, the US Senate even passed the TAIPEI Act, demanding that the US strengthen its relationship with Taiwan, as well as economic and trade exchanges between the two nations.
While US-China tensions might have somewhat cooled, the spat still has not negatively affected Taiwan’s substantial interests.
However, China’s internal situation is unclear. Some say that those at the CCP’s fourth plenary must have attacked Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for such problems as slowing economic growth, the mishandling of the Hong Kong issue and current financial disorder.
Others say that the CCP usually does not tackle problems at the meetings, as major issues are handled in advance. They say that holding the plenary session means that Xi has addressed the questions internally, gradually controlling the situation.
In other words, if the economic and trade confrontation between the US and China heads in a positive direction, Xi will have maintained his hold on power.
Apart from a few Taiwanese programs that focus exclusively on international issues, none of the local media outlets or political talk shows is covering these matters.
Most programs instead focus on idle political talk, debating which presidential candidate is more prone to slips of the tongue or whose policies are vaguer.
Hopefully, more people will focus on the international situation to gain a better understanding of Taiwan’s position and the challenges facing the nation.
The sense of national doom emerges from the public’s concern over the nation’s predicament, but this serves as a good opportunity for Taiwanese to get to know their own nation.
What are the problems facing Taiwan? Apart from tourists’ praise of Taiwan’s beauty, what are the nation’s strengths and weaknesses?
Reporting only the good or the bad news at extremes is not healthy. As Taiwan continues to develop, Taiwanese will hopefully gain a better grasp of their place on the international scene.
Taiwanese must not only listen to one side, and they must not ignore these important issues.
Chiu Chih-wei is a Democratic Progressive Party legislator.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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