Amid the worst safety disaster within the Taiwan Strait in over 20 years, China’s State Council has launched a brand new white paper on “The Taiwan Query and China’s Reunification within the New Period.” The paper outlines, intimately, Beijing’s strategy to Taiwan underneath the “new period” of Xi Jinping’s management, and serves as an replace to earlier white papers on Taiwan issued in 1993 and 2000.
The paper begins by underscoring China’s dedication to “Resolving the Taiwan query and realizing China’s full reunification,” calling this objective “a shared aspiration of all of the little children of the Chinese language nation,” “indispensable for the conclusion of China’s rejuvenation,” and “a historic mission” of the Chinese language Communist Celebration (CCP).
As justification for the CCP’s declare over Taiwan, the white paper features a prolonged dialogue of historic ties between China and Taiwan. On this telling of historical past, “Japan’s 50-year occupation of Taiwan epitomized” China’s interval of “nationwide humiliation” and is thus a historic unsuitable that have to be righted. The white paper emphasizes that “The truth that we’ve not but been reunified is a scar left by historical past on the Chinese language nation.”
Importantly, although, the white paper additionally supplies a realpolitik justification: “Nationwide reunification is the one approach to keep away from the danger of Taiwan being invaded and occupied once more by international nations, to foil the makes an attempt of exterior forces to include China, and to safeguard the sovereignty, safety, and improvement pursuits of our nation.” Later, the white paper repeats accusations that the U.S. is “utilizing Taiwan to include China” and “undermine China’s improvement and progress.”
The white paper maintains China’s choice for “peaceable reunification,” which is recognized as “the primary alternative of the [CCP] and the Chinese language authorities.” Nevertheless, as is long-standing CCP coverage, the paper reiterates that China “won’t resign the usage of pressure” in pursuing the objective of unification. It does try to reassure readers on that time by pledging that the “[u]se of pressure could be the final resort taken underneath compelling circumstances.”
In one other level of consistency, the white paper maintains the “One Nation, Two Programs” framework for a post-unification Taiwan, pledging that “Taiwan could proceed its present social system and revel in a excessive diploma of autonomy in accordance with the regulation.” But the paper additionally repeats more moderen assertions made within the Hong Kong context that “Two Programs is subordinate to and derives from One Nation.” In Hong Kong that logic has been used to limit free speech and restrict political participation to vetted “patriots.”
Beijing appears conscious of the arguments that its Hong Kong coverage since 2019 has destroyed any likelihood of Taiwan accepting the same mannequin for unification. Nevertheless, quite than offering reassurances that Taiwan could be handled totally different, the white paper as a substitute flatly denies that there was any drawback in its dealing with of Hong Kong. “The follow of One Nation, Two Programs has been a convincing success” in Hong Kong, the place “Order was restored and prosperity returned” because of intervention from the central authorities, the paper claims.
As Disaster Group analyst Amanda Hsiao identified on Twitter, the 2022 white paper represents a diluting of earlier descriptions of “One Nation, Two Programs,” which included extra detailed commitments about Taiwan’s autonomy. The 1993 white paper mentioned that Taiwan would preserve “administrative, legislative, impartial judicial, closing adjudication rights” in addition to “autonomy over get together, govt, mil, econ, monetary issues,” Hsiao tweeted. Equally, each the 1993 and 2000 white papers on Taiwan particularly acknowledged that China would “not ship troops or administrative personnel to be stationed in Taiwan” following unification. That pledge is conspicuously absent within the newest model.
The 2022 white paper does pledge that “Taiwan’s social system and its lifestyle can be absolutely revered, and the non-public property, spiritual beliefs, and lawful rights and pursuits of the folks in Taiwan can be absolutely protected” – however with the all-important disclaimer that that is solely doable “Supplied that China’s sovereignty, safety and improvement pursuits are assured.” In different phrases, “respect” for Taiwan’s “lifestyle” is subordinated to safety pursuits as outlined by the CCP. The assure of rights particularly appears restricted to “All Taiwan compatriots who assist reunification of the nation and rejuvenation of the nation,” whom China says “would be the masters of the area.”
Left largely unstated is the destiny of these Taiwanese who don’t “assist reunification.” China has already taken authorized motion towards “diehard separatists” on Taiwan, together with a number of members of the ruling Democratic Development Celebration. “The Chinese language mainland will search legal duty for them, legitimate for all times,” the Taiwan Affairs Workplace mentioned whereas making the announcement. Certainly, there have been clear indicators that any unification state of affairs on Taiwan would contain prosecution and jail time for Taiwan’s present management. That’s the latent menace behind China’s repeated accusations that the DPP is “separatist” or “secessionist” – each crimes underneath the Nationwide Safety Regulation adopted in 2015.
The 2022 white paper notes explicitly that “[m]oves to separate Taiwan from China signify the intense crime of secession” earlier than saying that “The DPP authorities have adopted a separatist stance, and colluded with exterior forces in successive provocative actions designed to divide the nation.”
In that sense, the white paper will solely add to issues raised by China’s ambassador to France, Lu Shaye. The diplomat just lately made headlines for casually suggesting that China “will do re-education” in Taiwan “after reunification.”
These feedback are significantly alarming given the Chinese language authorities’s large re-education marketing campaign in Xinjiang, which has concerned involuntarily (and extrajudicially) detaining tons of of hundreds of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and different Muslim minority group members. Survivors report being compelled to bear lengthy “training” classes praising the Chinese language Communist Celebration and denouncing themselves for being overly spiritual or questioning the CCP’s benevolence.
Regardless of the controversy, Ambassador Lu doubled down on his feedback in a second interview, claiming that “the Taiwan authorities” have “successfully indoctrinated and intoxicated” the inhabitants by “desinicization” insurance policies.
“It’s essential to reeducate [Taiwan’s population] to eradicate the separatist thought and secessionist concept,” he added.
It’s clear from his follow-up feedback that Lu didn’t misspeak or misrepresent official considering on “re-education” in Taiwan. Certainly, Lu’s feedback have an oblique echo within the white paper’s pledge to “to extend our compatriots’ data of the mainland and cut back these misconceptions and misgivings, to be able to assist them resist the manipulation of separatists.”
The white paper brazenly acknowledges that “[t]he long-standing political variations between the 2 sides are the basic obstacles to the regular enchancment of cross-Straits relations.” To unravel that situation, it suggests “versatile types of session and dialogue” to steadily attain consensus. However it’s onerous to reconcile Beijing’s promise that “We’re prepared to interact with all events, teams, or people in Taiwan in a broad trade of views geared toward resolving the political variations” with its flat refusal to interact in cross-strait talks with the DPP authorities.
China’s willingness to interact comes with the express caveat that such talks have to be “based mostly on the one-China precept and the 1992 Consensus” – which might rule out a big a part of Taiwan’s inhabitants. President Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP has constantly refused to embrace the 1992 Consensus, regardless of repeated insistence from Beijing – and she or he gained re-election in 2020 by a landslide.
The white paper maintains the stance that point is on China’s aspect in the case of Taiwan. The rise of China’s financial and army may is seen as “a key issue” in “the conclusion of full nationwide reunification” – each as a deterrent to “separatist actions” on Taiwan and as a optimistic pressure attracting extra Taiwanese to China.
“[T]he total power and worldwide affect of the mainland will proceed to extend, and its affect over and enchantment to Taiwan society will continue to grow,” the white paper declares. Whereas the onerous deterrent issue could certainly be rising, China’s “enchantment to Taiwan society” has nosedived underneath Xi’s management.
Repeated references to politically-motivated prosecutions and “re-education” in a post-unification state of affairs are solely including to Taiwanese resistance. Taken to its excessive, this sentiment is summed up in a phrase typically seen on Chinese language social media: “留岛不留人” (“maintain the island, don’t maintain the folks”).
For Taiwan’s 23 million folks, that’s a chilling prospect, and one the white paper does little to assuage.