China suffers sharp rebuttal in Taiwanese election

china suffers sharp rebuttal in taiwanese election – The News Mill

ANI Photo | China suffers sharp rebuttal in Taiwanese election

As much as it fumed and vented, China could not prevent Taiwanese citizens from heading to polls on January 13 to choose their new government and president, Lai Ching-te.
Ultimately, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could only remonstrate about Taiwan’s supposed illegitimacy and how this democratic state will one day be folded into its steely bosom.
The CCP, in its fantasy-world sagacity, could say of the election results: “It cannot represent the mainstream public opinion on the island. Taiwan is China’s Taiwan.” China remains in complete denial. How dare Taiwanese people, who have never been ruled by the brutal CCP regime, vote! How dare they choose to remain a democracy-loving nation!
Chen Binhua, spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council had this to say: “This election cannot change the basic pattern and development direction of cross-strait relations, nor can it change the common desire of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to get closer and closer, nor can it stop the general trend that the motherland will eventually be reunified and will inevitably be reunified.”
Clearly, the CCP has no idea of how democracy works. In this election, Taiwan expressed its “common desire” to not get closer to the “motherland” by handing victory to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which won a record third term. As Derek J. Grossman, a senior defence analyst at the Rand Corporation, noted: “It isn’t Lai’s win alone that should worry Beijing. It’s the fact that the DPP has now won an unprecedented three presidential elections in a row, suggesting Taiwan is further away than ever from thinking it belongs to China.”
Of course, such free will is anathema to the CCP and Chairman Xi Jinping, who expressly promised that Taiwan will be “reunified”. Even the words the CCP uses are impregnated with error – how can Taiwan be “reunified” when it has never been part of the communist regime?
Beijing promised: “Our position on resolving the Taiwan issue and achieving national reunification is consistent, and our will is rock-solid. We will…resolutely oppose Taiwan independence separatist activities and interference from external forces, and work with relevant political parties, groups and people from all walks of life in Taiwan to promote cross-strait exchanges and cooperation, deepen cross-strait integrated development, and jointly promote China culture, promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and promote the great cause of the reunification of the motherland.”
It is interesting to note that China “working with” Taiwanese people includes massive campaigns to deceive them. On January 11, Taipei announced more than 200 people had been arrested for supporting Chinese interference in elections, and 46 for obstructing the election. The government investigated 3,287 cases of electoral interference, most relating to election gambling, but 117 cases involving 287 individuals related to the Anti-Infiltration Act where foreign forces attempted to influence the election. Independent legislative candidate Ma Chih-wei was expelled from the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) on January 6 after being accused of receiving campaign money from China. As another example, the Kaohsiung Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office suspected that the China Pan-Blue Association recruited 130 people, former and current borough chiefs among them, to travel to China using funds from Beijing.
Cyber-threat intelligence firm Mandiant described a “substantial volume of espionage operations” by China against Taiwan’s government, technology and critical infrastructure. Cloudfare, a website security firm, claimed a 3,370 per cent spike in cyberattacks designed to crash Taiwanese networks in the final quarter of 2023.
China has also dispatched a flurry of more than 30 weather balloons over Taiwan as a form of coercion since December. As the election loomed, the CCP provocateur attempted to take advantage of people’s fear and create internal conflict within Taiwan’s democracy. The White House agreed when it said, “It is no secret that Beijing has views on the outcome of the election and is trying to shape and coerce in various different ways.”
Sina Weibo, China’s popular social media platform, carried statements by government and state media but the interest of ordinary Chinese seemed muted. On 15 January, two days after the Taiwan election, the topic ranked only 36th among the most popular searches.
Nonetheless, the CCP would be pleased with the unqualified support of some Chinese netizens. One noted, “Alas…what’s the use of just talking?” A different poster, advocating violence, said, “The longer it’s delayed, the more problems will arise and the more difficult it will be in the end. The early realization of the great cause of reunification of the motherland is the right way!” Perfectly reflecting CCP obstinacy, one simply said, “Taiwan belongs to China, and there’s no need to discuss this matter!”
In a longer post, one netizen offered this generous advice: “The best policy is to impoverish Taiwan, besiege it and make it trapped … I can’t bear it anymore… First, the so-called victory of democracy? A candidate who gets 40.2 per cent points can become the leader of a country. Can this represent the interests of the majority of voters? Isn’t this a rigidity of the Western democratically elected system? Injuries, mistakes and mistakes. Second, if you think that a government elected according to Western democratic methods can benefit the people, would you mind asking if your citizens are enjoying the huge dividends brought by this government? … Third, Taiwan is a part of China. The United Nations does not recognize it as a sovereign and
independent country at all.”
Voter turnout in Taiwan was slightly less than 72 per cent, but this netizen was railing at the DPP being appointed to lead the country with 40.2 per cent of the vote. However, in China,
the leader gets to rule without any votes from the public! Naturally, China feels threatened by democracy. The concept of people choosing the ruling party is alien to the CCP. Perhaps, if given the choice, Chinese people would never elect the CCP if it had valid rivals on voting cards!
What will this election result mean in the near term? Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund of the United States assessed, “The ruling party’s unprecedented third consecutive presidential victory will disappoint China, but it is unlikely to spur any near-term change in Beijing’s reunification strategy.”
Glaser observed that “…Taiwan’s future relationship with China was likely the paramount concern. In the face of increasing Chinese military and economic pressure, as well as disinformation and other forms of cognitive warfare that are aimed at sowing divisions in Taiwan and persuading the island’s people that their future will be brighter as part of China, the majority of the people want to preserve Taiwan’s autonomy as well as cross-strait stability.”
Glaser commented that incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen had “pursued a firm, consistent and pragmatic approach toward China, insisting on Taiwan’s sovereignty while refusing to bow to pressure from Beijing. She has prioritized strengthening ties with democracies worldwide, first and foremost the United States, but also countries in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.” Lai has pledged to follow that same pathway.
Glaser thought it “unlikely that Chinese President Xi Jinping will restart official contacts with Taiwan’s government, which have been suspended for the past eight years.” Beijing has labeled Lai and Vice President-elect Bi-khim Hsiao a separatist duo who will “only push Taiwan into the abyss”.
Beijing will be disappointed by the election result, but not surprised. The fact is that the Taiwanese people are not keen to become another Tibet or Hong Kong, and the more China coerces, the more people see the ugliness of the CCP’s nature.
Glaser further noted: “Xi’s desire to preserve the fragile stability in US-China relations that was achieved at the Woodside summit with President Joe Biden in November will probably be one factor that will deter him from taking exceedingly harsh measures against Taiwan, at least for the remainder of this year. Nevertheless, Chinese pressure on Taiwan can be expected to continue and may increase, although the use of military force to punish Taiwan or compel unification is unlikely, at least in the next few years. Xi will be preoccupied with economic troubles and corruption in the military, and he likely understands that using force against Taiwan will set back his priority of putting China on an irreversible path to achieving national rejuvenation by mid-century.”
Several Western media reports have emphasized the expectation of a tough Chinese reaction, and want to portray the result as a prelude to crisis. However, remember that 60 per cent of Taiwanese did not vote for the DPP in this election, plus it lost its majority and the legislature is now hung. This means Lai’s administration will have greater difficulty passing laws than Tsai did. In effect, the election maintains the status quo, as Taiwan has not swung one way or the other.
Hua Chunying, China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, tweeted: “The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. Whatever changes take place in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China will not change. The one-China principle is the solid anchor for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” She added, “We believe that the international community will continue to adhere to the one-China principle, and support the Chinese people’s just cause of opposing “Taiwan independence.”
Unfortunately for Hua, she fails to realize that most countries do not agree verbatim with China’s “one-China principle”. Beijing increasingly couches other nations’ positions in terms of its own one-eyed principle in an attempt to foster an impression of broad agreement. However, nobody is advocating Taiwan independence – although, to all intents and purposes, Taiwan is independent since it has its own government, laws and military. US policy “does not support Taiwan independence,” but, of course, that is different from China’s demand that others should “oppose” Taiwan independence.
Unfortunately, Chinese officials keep harping on about the threat of Taiwanese separatism, when all Taiwan wants to do is maintain the status quo, as this latest election demonstrated. Xie Feng, China’s Ambassador to the USA, said, “Separatism for ‘Taiwan independence’ seriously threatens the wellbeing of Taiwan compatriots, harms the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation, and jeopardizes peace and stability in the strait. It is a dead end that leads nowhere.”
Anne Applebaum, an American-Polish journalist and historian, noted: “Free and fair elections in Taiwan…prove there is nothing ‘cultural’ or ‘traditional’ about Chinese autocracy, no reason why the Chinese Communist Party must rule indefinitely on the mainland. Which is, of course, why the Chinese communists don’t like it.”
China published a white paper entitled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” on 10 August 2022. Tougher in tone, it was the first white paper on Taiwan since 2000, and it emphasized complete unification as a historic mission. It said that “use of force would be the last resort taken under compelling circumstances”.
The white paper assured: “Provided that China’s sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed, after unification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region.” Of course, that is also what Beijing said about Hong Kong. Worryingly, absent from the new white paper were previous references to Taiwan having its own “administrative and legislative powers”, “independent judiciary and the right of adjudication on the island”, running “its own party, political, military, economic and financial affairs” and “representatives of the government of the special administrative region and those from different circles of Taiwan may be appointed to senior posts in the central government and participate in
the running of national affairs”.
Tellingly, Xi withdrew the statement that Taiwan “may keep its military forces and the mainland will not dispatch troops or administrative personnel to the island”. Instead, Taiwan would be ruled by sycophantic patriots loyal to the CCP. “All Taiwan compatriots who support the reunification of the country and rejuvenation of the nation will be the masters of the region, contributing to and benefitting from China’s development.”
That is precisely what most Taiwanese people do not want. It desires to run its own affairs free from Chinese coercion. Unfortunately, the CCP cannot understand that there are alternative and better ways of governance than autocratic one-party rule.

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