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 method 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 kids of the Chinese language nation,” “indispensable for the belief of China’s rejuvenation,” and “a historic mission” of the Chinese language Communist Occasion (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 flawed that should 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 solution 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 comprise China, and to safeguard the sovereignty, safety, and growth pursuits of our nation.” Later, the white paper repeats accusations that the U.S. is “utilizing Taiwan to comprise China” and “undermine China’s growth and progress.”
The white paper maintains China’s choice for “peaceable reunification,” which is recognized as “the primary selection of the [CCP] and the Chinese language authorities.” Nonetheless, as is long-standing CCP coverage, the paper reiterates that China “is not going to surrender the usage of power” in pursuing the objective of unification. It does try and reassure readers on that time by pledging that the “[u]se of power could be the final resort taken underneath compelling circumstances.”
In one other level of consistency, the white paper maintains the “One Nation, Two Methods” framework for a post-unification Taiwan, pledging that “Taiwan could proceed its present social system and luxuriate 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 Methods 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. Nonetheless, 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 Methods 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 Methods,” which included extra detailed commitments about Taiwan’s autonomy. The 1993 white paper stated that Taiwan would preserve “administrative, legislative, impartial judicial, remaining adjudication rights” in addition to “autonomy over celebration, 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 will likely be absolutely revered, and the non-public property, spiritual beliefs, and lawful rights and pursuits of the individuals in Taiwan will likely be absolutely protected” – however with the all-important disclaimer that that is solely potential “Supplied that China’s sovereignty, safety and growth 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 specifically appears restricted to “All Taiwan compatriots who help 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 “help reunification.” China has already taken authorized motion towards “diehard separatists” on Taiwan, together with a number of members of the ruling Democratic Development Occasion. “The Chinese language mainland will search felony accountability for them, legitimate for all times,” the Taiwan Affairs Workplace stated whereas making the announcement. Certainly, there have been clear indicators that any unification situation 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 considerations 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 a whole lot of 1000’s of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and different Muslim minority group members. Survivors report being compelled to bear lengthy “training” periods praising the Chinese language Communist Occasion 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 way of “desinicization” insurance policies.
“It’s essential to reeducate [Taiwan’s population] to remove 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’ information of the mainland and scale back these misconceptions and misgivings, with a view to assist them resist the manipulation of separatists.”
The white paper overtly acknowledges that “[t]he long-standing political variations between the 2 sides are the elemental obstacles to the regular enchancment of cross-Straits relations.” To resolve that subject, it suggests “versatile types of session and dialogue” to step by step attain consensus. However it’s laborious to reconcile Beijing’s promise that “We’re prepared to have interaction with all events, teams, or people in Taiwan in a broad trade of views aimed toward resolving the political variations” with its flat refusal to have interaction in cross-strait talks with the DPP authorities.
China’s willingness to have interaction comes with the express caveat that such talks should be “primarily based 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 received re-election in 2020 by a landslide.
The white paper maintains the stance that point is on China’s facet relating to Taiwan. The rise of China’s financial and army would possibly is seen as “a key issue” in “the belief of full nationwide reunification” – each as a deterrent to “separatist actions” on Taiwan and as a optimistic power attracting extra Taiwanese to China.
“[T]he general power and worldwide affect of the mainland will proceed to extend, and its affect over and attraction to Taiwan society will continue to grow,” the white paper declares. Whereas the laborious deterrent issue could certainly be rising, China’s “attraction to Taiwan society” has nosedived underneath Xi’s management.
Repeated references to politically-motivated prosecutions and “re-education” in a post-unification situation 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” (“preserve the island, don’t preserve the individuals”).
For Taiwan’s 23 million individuals, that’s a chilling prospect, and one the white paper does little to assuage.