Sunday, March 19, 2006

PRC Launches All-Out Chen Offensive

Simon World pointed to Willy Lam's article at the Jamestown foundation on the anti-Chen offensive in the PRC, whom Beijing apparently considers personally responsible for the Dark Ages, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the invention of spandex:

Indeed, Beijing has the past fortnight orchestrated a full-blown propaganda offensive against Chen and fellow “splittists.” Nearly all nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee have made statements on the Taiwan situation. The same goes for members of the NPC as well as the advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The official media has also started running reports on a series of exercises undertaken by the PLA Navy and Air Force along China’s eastern coast. At this stage, however, there are no indications that the Party or military leadership would repeat the series of provocative war games—including firing “test missiles” close to the island—that Beijing launched in 1995 and 2000 in response to then-president Lee Teng-hui’s visit to the U.S. and his statement that the mainland and Taiwan were “two [separate] states.” Diplomatic analysts in Beijing and Taipei said the Hu leadership had been advised by its Taiwan experts that excessive saber-rattling would backfire because it could deliver more “sympathy votes” to the DPP. The analysts added, however, that the vilification of Chen—particularly belligerent statements made by PLA generals before TV cameras—might already have allowed the wily Taiwan president to again seize the initiative in molding political debate on the island.

Irrespective of the effectiveness of Beijing’s latest round of psychological warfare against the island, it is true that the Hu leadership is exuding confidence that it has more—and much stronger—cards than ever to play against the out-gunned DPP administration. Apart from invoking fire and brimstone against Chen, Beijing cadres have played up the benefits that will accrue to the so-called “vast majority of Taiwan residents,” particularly businessmen, who have spurned the DDP’s siren song. As Premier Wen said in his NPC report, Beijing is readying a host of enticements for Taiwan investors and professionals working in the mainland. For example, Wen indicated that there would be better legal protection for Taiwanese investments, and that the central government would ensure the prosperity of cities and districts with a high concentration of Taiwan factories. “We are earnestly at the service of Taiwan compatriots,” he indicated (People’s Daily, March 6).

Lam gets a couple of small things wrong -- the reduced fruit tariffs, while loudly trumpeted, do not apply to any fruit that Taiwan exports in great amounts to China. But in the main it is a pretty good review of Beijing's strategies.

3 comments:

STOP_George said...

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There is one thing the PRC may underestimate about the present-day Taiwanese society. The fact that "freedom and democracy" are highly valued achievements.

And according to the most recent polls, the Taiwanese overwhelmingly choose political freedom over reaping economic rewards, especially if these rewards mean sacrificing this hard-fought recently established achievement.

This is the pan-green trump card. The trick is convinicing the majority that these freedoms will indeed be sacrificed with Ma's unrestricted free-for-all. Afterall, this is an era where the status quo is now an illusion.
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MJ Klein said...

yeah, taiwanese always do their best to give the "correct" answers to poll questions. just try to get them to actually do something about it and see what happens. don't be fooled by those poll numbers. taiwanese are almost completely apathetic, and certainly avoid confrontation of any kind.

STOP_George said...

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...taiwanese are almost completely apathetic, and certainly avoid confrontation of any kind.

Arey you kidding me? Try telling that to my wife. :>)

Seriously though, I wouldn't agree that "apathy" is the correct word. I see a hell of a lot more political apathy in Canada (where I'm from). And who said anything about "confrontation"? It is the "fear" of confrontation which the pan-blues use effectively -- but this strategy hasn't exactly worked in the last 2 presidential elections. Now, Ma (and China) is/are pushing the idea of "economic benefits". And that is precisely why the greens should be pushing the idea that these economic benefits come with a price. A big price that the overwhelming majority do not want to pay.
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