Guiding China to what it sees as inevitable glorious heights, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) did not hesitate in recent years to tap into the Chinese artistic community to bolster the country’s image, turning to such luminaries as movie director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) and artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未), for example, to ensure the success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
What recent events have shown us, however, is that as long as China’s artistic community toes the nationalistic line — and oftentimes amplifies it — artists will thrive and be left alone by the authorities. For the few who depart from that line, a far less elated fate awaits them, with outspoken critics like Ai, who created the “Bird’s Nest” Stadium for the Olympics, seeing themselves prevented from flying out of China and having their offices searched by state security officers.
In the process of sustaining its power, the regime has no compunction in making martyrs of former heroes, provided the exercise succeeds in dissuading others from continuing the fight. In other words, except for a very close circle of CCP officials, no one is beyond the vindictive hand of the party. By virtue of its ruthlessness and randomness, Beijing’s retributive apparatus is tightening its grip on every sector of society, ensuring that but for the most daring, the majority will keep silent and refrain from criticizing the party or calling for political reform.
Beijing has gotten away with state repression because it has managed to present its harassment and arrests as isolated incidents. By atomizing what would otherwise come across as organic repression both at home and abroad, the CCP has mitigated the outrage and ensured that it can stay the course without too much risk. This is a balancing act of such refinement seen by very few political parties today.
Moral torpor, both within China and in the international community, has also aided Beijing, in that the great majority chooses to remain silent, or to express meek disapproval at best, whenever the CCP chews and spits up another victim such as Ai. As there have been no serious consequences for Beijing by doing so, there is no reason why it should adopt a new course and perhaps even soften its stance on dissent. In other words, out of fear and greed, the polity outside the CCP has allowed for the creation of an environment that makes it permissible for Beijing to bully whomever disagrees with it. Only when the backlash is concerted will we have a chance of “changing” China before it changes us — and certainly not for the better.
Such glaring acts of repression as those against Ai should serve as a clear warning to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that “friendship” with Beijing not only comports risks, but is equally ephemeral. As long as Taiwanese officials in the current administration cooperate with Beijing on matters of cross-strait relations, they will likely be feted and treated as if they were part of the one big happy Chinese nation.
However, the mounting evidence of how the CCP treats its own dissidents sends as clear a message as one could possibly get that it will have no compunction whatsoever meting out similar, if not more categorical, revenge on those it regards as outsiders — and however hard some senior KMT officials may try to become intimate with their Chinese counterparts, the fact remains that they will always be outsiders to the CCP. Everybody is.
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,
During a news conference in Vietnam on Sept. 10, a reporter asked US President Joe Biden about the possibility of China invading Taiwan. Biden replied that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is too busy handling major domestic economic problems to launch an invasion of Taiwan. On Wednesday last week, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office published a document outlining 21 measures to make the Chinese-controlled Fujian Province into a demonstration zone for relations with Taiwan. The planned measures would expand favorable treatment for Taiwanese people and companies, and seek to attract people from Taiwan to buy property and seek employment in Fujian.
More than 100 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) vessels and aircraft were detected making incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday and Monday, the Ministry of National Defense reported on Monday. The ministry responded to the incursions by calling on China to “immediately stop such destructive unilateral actions,” saying that Beijing’s actions could “easily lead to a sharp escalation in tensions and worsen regional security.” Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said that the unusually high number of incursions over such a short time was likely Beijing’s response to efforts