Bejing’s promulgation of anti-espionage, conscription and education laws suggests the regime is making a push to bolster internal security and war-fighting capacity as a result of its darkening outlook, the Mainland Affairs Council said in its report on cross-strait relations to the Legislative Yuan.
China’s economy has taken a turn for the worse with a 6.3 percent GDP growth in the second quarter, poor fiscal health of local governments, looming inflation and a 21.3 percent youth unemployment rate, the report said.
Chinese academics estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic removed 54 million young Chinese from employment while Beijing announced on Aug. 15 that it would suspend the collection of data on employment by age group, it said.
The high unemployment of young people is a symptom of some structural flaws in China’s economy that would have societal or political ramifications if left unattended, the council paraphrased an unnamed Chinese-state-affiliated think tank as saying.
Beijing continues to pursue diplomacy conducted at the level of national leader to promote its vision of global economic development and security arrangements, picturing China as anti-hegemonic and fighting against the decoupling of world trade, it said.
In response to a campaign by the US and its allies to contain China in diplomacy, trade and technology, Beijing struck back by implementing export controls on gallium and germanium used in manufacturing chips, it said.
Beijing and Washington appear to be making an effort to restore high-level official exchanges, with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) possibly meeting US President Joe Biden at APEC summit in November, the council said.
The scheduled visits of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen to Beijing could be evidence of such a meeting between the two countries’ leaders being planned, it said.
China continued to strategically collaborate with Russia to counter the influence of the US and its allies by targeting nations in Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America with the lure of economic gains, it said.
Beijing facilitated the re-establishment of a relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran as part of a move to shore up its partners in the Middle East and Central Asia, the council said.
China’s project to expand its global power was underscored in policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative and membership bid for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, it said.
China also continued to make shows of force in its peripheries including confronting US Navy units in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, sometimes by shadowing the latter from an unsafe proximity, it said, noting that these actions put China’s expansionism on display and elicited a backlash in the region.
Beijing recently introduced laws including an anti-espionage law, regulations governing military conscription and a patriotic education law, a sign of the mentality of strengthening national security and preparedness for war, it said.
Additionally, China’s new foreign affairs law sought to apply Chinese law into foreign territories, the council said.
In March, Xi reiterated that Chinese strategy for annexing Taiwan continue to emphasize the “one China principle” and the so-called “1992 Consensus,” it said.
The stance was repeated two months later at the annual Chinese The Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan work conference, in which politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) ordered new ways of defining cross-strait relations to be developed, it said.
China continues to invite Taiwanese nationals to attend conferences in its territory with the aim of using the events as a platform to spread Beijing’s political agenda, recruit sympathizers for “united front” work, and divide Taiwan’s society for exploitation, the council said.
The Straits Forum, the Twin-Lake Forum and Shanghai-Taipei Twin-City Forum are events being utilized by China for such a purpose, it said, adding that Beijing has also green-lit its Fujian Provincial Government’s efforts to build a cross-strait economic zone.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Vice President William Lai (賴清德) transiting in the US in April and last month respectively, was greeted by China with a fresh wave of military threats and economic coercion, which caused tension to surge in the Taiwan Strait, it said.
China’s actions constitute a unilateral attempt to change the “status quo” and insult Taiwan, resulting in international scrutiny on Beijing’s behavior and the discontent of Taiwanese, it said.
The report said that its recent survey showed 84.3 percent of Taiwanese oppose the Beijing-proposed “one-country, two systems” and 89.9 percent is displeased with China’s deployment of warships and military aircraft around Taiwan.
The council would continue its efforts in protecting Taiwan’s interests and enacting the Tsai administration’s policy of “four commitments,” it said, referring to the nation’s commitment to a free and democratic constitutional order, not being subordinated or seeking subordination of China, inviolability of its national sovereignty and allowing only Taiwanese to decide the nation’s future.
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