J Michael Cole has the news at Taiwan Sentinel:
Taiwan Affairs Office Spokesman An Fengshan told a regular press conference on Wednesday that China will hold a series of events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 228 Massacre in Taiwan.That will be later this month... a previous conference was held on the 65th anniversary.
In his speech, Ji Bin said the 228 uprising was a “patriotic, democratic and autonomous movement of the Taiwan compatriots against the dictatorship of the KMT authorities at that time,” and “part of the struggle of the Chinese people for liberation and a glorious patriotism of Taiwan compatriots.”Most observers in Taiwan are interpreting this in light of the Taiwan-China relationship. Many said, as Cole observed, that it represents direct appeals to the people of Taiwan, since the CPP has likely realized that the KMT can no longer deliver the island. Of course, as always, it attempts to subsume the island's independent history into the faux historical narrative of the CCP.
But I expect there is more than that. The CCP's biggest audience isn't Taiwan, but its own people. Remember that if China attacks Taiwan, the PRC is going to suffer economic, physical, and social harm. The people of China have to be psychologically and morally prepared for such privations. More than simply incorporating Taiwan history into fake CCP history, commemorating 2-28 shows the people of China that Beijing is striving in every way possible to bring Taiwan into the fold peacefully, so that it can present a "more in sorrow than anger" war to its own people, so it can say "every avenue has been exhausted, see?" Too many people think about Chinese government pronouncements about Taiwan as if they were solely foreign policy moves, in light of US and Taiwan policy. But Xi's Taiwan announcements are domestic political theatre as well....
This is even more urgent for Beijing because young Chinese are changing, as everyone I know who interacts with them is reporting. A recent poll said it was "surprising" to find that they are less nationalistic. This should not be surprising. Chinese youth are traveling more than ever before, both abroad and in their own country and its occupied territories. They are better educated, and many have been abroad for extended periods. Such experiences change people, and while making them love their nation more, make them more thoughtful about their national identity.
The reason it is "surprising" that Chinese youth are less nationalistic is because so much writing on China sources inflammatory quotes from the Chinese net, while making zero attempt to determine whether they are 50-centers planted on the net for the very purpose of managing this image of China abroad.
Speaking of managing the presentation...
...China is allegedly mulling changes to the Anti-Secession Law. Since the CCP can attack Taiwan any time it likes, for any reason it wants, the idea that this is a "law" is clearly something aimed at the international media (as well as a sort of reply to the Taiwan Relations Act). One change mulled is to make it part of the "law" explicitly that China will attack if Taiwan does not accept Beijing's One China principle. This change will probably never happen, because of the way it reduces the options Beijing has in dealing with Taiwan. Rather, a number of experts pointed out that Beijing is probably running a whisper campaign designed to put pressure on President Tsai Ing-wen.
Beijing is very good at this sort of media management. It was first reported in the Yomiuri Shimbun and will probably make the international media, especially the more pro-Beijing outlets. ZOMG TENZ!!But once again, it behooves me to point out what China is not doing: arresting Taiwanese businessmen, kicking Taiwanese out of China, cutting off exports from Taiwan, or any of hundreds of others moves it could make. Or any other move that might have costs for China. Talk is cheap, after all, and whispers even cheaper...
- Lauren Dickey at GTI on the KMT Chairmanship election/crisis
- Taiwan eyes closer cooperation with Indonesia. And Malaysia.
- KMT fears cheating in the Chairmanship election because gangsters are signing up to become members. The KMT is endlessly creative in its exploitation of historical irony.
- Great thoughtful piece on Taiwan, The Call of the Donald, and the people of Taiwan
- Mark Harrison, always excellent, musing on authoritarianism, history, and geopolitics in Taiwan.
- International News Lens piece on record tourist arrivals in Taiwan in 2016. Wonder if the media people who published all the garbage about Taiwan being "hard hit" are going to publish corrections... retractions... or just plain describe reality for once instead of being so freaking conclusory.
- This piece on Taiwan traffic is fabulous.
- GTI's latest newsletter
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!