Though it has had 74 years to develop its plans, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has given no real credible explanation of what it will do to Taiwan and its citizens after it invades and conquers the independent and self-actualized island democracy.
Official CCP pronouncements explain little and offer frighting implications.
Historic precedent, however, suggests the possibility of a murderous CCP reign of terror, while terrorizing Taiwan’s new diaspora and forcing Taiwan’s youth into decades of wars for global hegemony.
Over the same 74 years Taiwan has transitioned from authoritarianism to highly competitive democracy, established itself as global economic dynamo, while proving that “Greater China” can discard the dictatorship of the CCP and realize the benefits of both political and economic freedoms.
Yet through three White Papers in 1993, 2000, and 2022, the CCP has implored Taiwanese to simply surrender their hard-earned freedoms for promises of “autonomy”. Such CCP promises proved to be lies in the case of its 2019 suppression of Hong Kong’s nascent democratic culture, where elections now are only for CCP approved “patriots.”
The latest August 2022 White Paper offers this Orwellian contradiction: “Taiwan’s social system and its way of life will be fully respected… Provided that China’s sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed.”
For the CCP, “guaranteed” means that “Taiwan’s social system and its way of life” be completely subordinated to the CCP, meaning it will be destroyed.
The 2022 White Paper also suggests that Taiwan’s population will be subject to “reeducation,” but it does not repeat the assurance in the 1993 and 2000 White Papers that Taiwan will not be occupied militarily following unification.
Mind you, this “positive scenario” requires that Taiwan surrender to the dictates of Peaceful Unification.
As this, for decades, would have been rejected in any national referendum in Taiwan, the CCP has focused on preparing for the “use of force” to impose unification as its only viable option, and such a war would cancel all previous promises of any level of autonomy for Taiwan.
After its invasion of Taiwan, which will be configured to force a rapid surrender, taking perhaps weeks to kill off any organized Taiwan resistance, the CCP can be expected to embark upon programs of pacification and exploitation.
To pacify Taiwan, recent and historic CCP behavior indicates it could simultaneously employ four strategies: reign of terror; intimate occupation; military mobilization of youth; and a battle for expatriate communities.
The scope of a likely reign of terror was indicated during an April 9, 2023 Chinese state television interview with People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences “researcher” Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo (趙小卓), who compared “Taiwan independence forces” to a “tumor … and we have to operate and remove this tumor.”
Ignoring that Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Kuomintang (KMT) do not support de jure independence out of fear of justifying a CCP invasion or alienating support from Washington, Sr. Col. Zhao is repeating the longstanding CCP broad brush that dehumanizes Taiwanese who cherish their “de facto” independence and oppose surrendering to the CCP, as “independence forces.”
So the 8.1 million Taiwanese who voted for the DPP in 2020, and most of the 5.5 million who voted for the KMT, would qualify as “enemies” of the CCP.
Chinese nationalist author Zhou Xiaoping (周小平) has claimed that the early March 2023 Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress passed his resolution calling for the creation of a public “Taiwan Province Separatist Forces Blacklist.”
In a March 3 Weibo posting Zhou said that if the blacklisted do not “confess their crimes … or voluntarily surrender … anyone can arrest or kill them…,” during a Chinese invasion.
Earlier in an August 3, 2022 French television interview, Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye (盧沙野) offered, “We will re-educate. I’m sure that the Taiwanese population will again become favorable of the reunification and will become patriots again.”
That the CCP would begin a massive terror and reeducation campaign on Taiwan is illustrated by the CCP’s creation of a special network of internment/concentration camps to suppress the 11 million Uighur population in Xinjiang.
In 2018 former US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver claimed that, “at least a million but likely closer to three million citizens” were placed in CCP detention centers he called “concentration camps.”
So the CCP already has a vast bureaucracy of suppression that it can expand to accommodate Taiwanese or to create a second network of concentration camps in Taiwan, and both would then be available to process inmates from future CCP conquests.
A second CCP option for pacifying Taiwan would be intimate occupation. This would go far beyond plans to deploy a large portion of the 660,000 strong People’s Armed Police’s (PAP) paramilitary and mechanized units as “military” occupation forces.
In Xinjiang the CCP has literally created and deployed “Big Brother”. Starting in 2014 it began placing CCP members, and then civil servants, directly into Uighur families as minders, to propagandize but mainly to report on these families, sending over 1.3 million by 2018.
Taiwan has over 8 million families. With control of Taiwan’s airports and seaports assured, and a ready plan for family assignments, the CCP could easily dispatch 8 million CCP member and civil servant Big Brother minders to Taiwan in one to two months.
In short order the CCP would compile intimate databases regarding capabilities, assets and daily habits of Taiwan families, their political histories, their overseas relationships, and the ages and capabilities of their children, enabling rapid decisions regarding exploitation and elimination.
This is where the third and fourth likely CCP strategies will come into play.
Much as Mao Zedong (毛澤東) used large numbers of “liberated” former KMT soldiers for his 1950 invasion of Korea, the CCP could force Taiwan’s military and then increasing numbers of Taiwan youth to fight for decades in subsequent wars against Japan for control of the Ryukyus, against India for control of Arunachal Pradesh, and against the Philippines for control of the South China Sea.
This produces an added benefit: killing off young Taiwanese who reject the CCP’s dictatorship and who mistrust the KMT’s approach to China will also contribute to the CCP goal of pacifying and controlling Taiwan.
A CCP invasion of Taiwan is likely to also prompt a massive refugee crisis of Taiwanese trying to escape over treacherous waters to Japanese islands to the north and the Philippines to the south.
As it salted the 1949 Chinese emigre population to Taiwan with sleeper agents, the CCP will also seek to infiltrate the Taiwanese diaspora to monitor, control and weaponize that new overseas community, employing blackmail to create thousands of global espionage networks.
Since the 1930s the CCP has contested for control and exploited overseas Chinese and today its United Front Work Department maintains strong networks in most substantial foreign Chinese communities that will be ready to undertake broad harassment of any new representative offices of a Taiwan government in exile.
So, an essential conclusion is that for Taiwan, the CCP only offers death: massive death by People’s Liberation Army invasion; death from PAP occupation; death from likely concentration-reeducation camps; death from CCP minders imposed on Taiwan’s families; death at sea trying to escape and death for overseas Taiwanese that try to sustain governments in exile.
Understanding this conclusion then makes beginning the next step easier: Taiwan’s citizens must do their best to prepare their families for the future war, imploring their local and national government leaders to devise defensive plans for local communities, including stockpiles of supplies, water, food, and medicines to survive a CCP invasion.
And: imploring local and national government leaders to provide weapons and training, or legal authority to purchase their own, for a national militia to give Taiwanese their own best chance to save their families and defeat a CCP invasion.
Richard D. Fisher, Jr. is a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
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