Recently China’s president Xi Jin-ping and the Communist Party have been consolidating power.
Such instances of this have often been clear, such as the abolition of term limits. Others are not as often seen by those outside the region who don’t make a concerted effort to discover these things.
Recently the Chinese Communist Party has been making a lot of changes. One example is the expanding, consolidating, creation, and destitution of of number of commissions, departments, ministries, and bureaus. These and other changes generally hand more power to the central control of the CPP, of which Xi is at the helm.
The moves are the most self-serving towards the CPP and grow out of Deng Xiaoping focused the power of the party. This of course following the also despotic rule of Mao Zedong.
Both Taiwan and Hong Kong also have specific threats against their respective nations to contend with.
Taiwan has created a specific and undeviating threat to the Chinese government. Taiwan in its simple existence presents a very different expression of the ‘one true China’.
Xi who has already lifted the mantle of unifier, which has been a staple of Chinese heads of state since the two split after WW2.
I personally do not believe that Xi would be stupid enough to use the military to try to gain control of de facto independent Taiwan. An attack such as this would almost draw international support, especially from the U.S., who has promised to defend Taiwan. Though, I am sure that many powerful officials, including Xi, are working behind the scenes to control the island.
Hong Kong has also seen interference in its government. The nation has had numerous pro-democratic lawmakers disqualified. They have also allegedly had several persons abducted by Chinese security forces due to challenges to the CPP.
It is still unknown what Xi or the Party will do with Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is certain that they will not let the two nations develop anymore if they can have any impact. Though it seems, at least for Taiwan, that the American government is beginning to take a more integral stance. This may result in more nations taking a stance one way or the other.
Recent comments from the Communist Party and Xi have shown a more aggressive approach to snatching democracy from the hands of Taiwanese citizens.
The Chinese ambassador to America, Li Kexin (李克新) recently stated that, “the day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) in a recent press conference said that Taiwan must adhere to the 1992 Consensus and admit that the two sides of the Taiwan straight belong to the “one and the same China.” He also insinuated that the international community creating diplomatic ties with Taiwan would be an incorrect move, and the only proper action would be to make and maintain connections with the People’s Republic of China.
At the 19th Party Congress Xi said, “we will resolutely uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity and will never tolerate a repeat of the historical tragedy of a divided country. All activities of splitting the motherland will be resolutely opposed by all the Chinese people. We have firm will, full confidence, and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence secession plot. We will never allow any person, any organization, or any political party to split any part of the Chinese territory from China at any time or in any form.”
Xi seemed to stray away from some of the “9 continuous elements, which have been pushed by Chinese Leaders for decades. One of the most obvious was the reliance on Taiwanese people to help bring about unification. It seems that perhaps Xi has realized that this will never happen, Taiwan is moving in the other direction, as more and more Taiwanese citizens view themselves as an independent nation and as Taiwanese, not Chinese.
This means that the idea of an ideological take over is almost certainly out of the question. This essentially leaves on an economic take over, or one of force.
While it seems that China is ramping up the rhetoric, the US and the international community more broadly are also taking more of an interest in supporting Taiwan. As the internet allows more people to discover Taiwan and its rich history, it seems more people are in support of the democratic island remaining free.
It will be up to Taiwanese citizens and the global community to check China’s power and keep Taiwan free from Chinese domination.