After Blinken repeated warnings that the Biden administration remained, “determined to make sure that [Taiwan] has all necessary means to defend itself against any potential aggression, including unilateral action by China, to disrupt the status quo that’s been in place now for many decades,” the PRC has responded with sharp rhetoric.
Even though the speech before the Senate foreign relations committee expressed a continuity of existing US policy, and continued compliance with the 1979 Taiwan relations act, the PRC has felt the need to intercede with its own round of expressions of displeasure.
This also included repeated criticism of the growing chasm between the offensive capabilities of the PRC whose military expenditures have been increasing year after year, and that of Taiwan, whose expenditures have stagnated along with military wages, and drastic reductions in compulsory military service over the past several years.
Repeated sensitivity to the pro-independence rhetoric is also now on the rise, especially as polling from the 台灣民意基金會 suggests that a majority support independence, even more than the status quo.
Still, the incumbent DPP has lost a significant margin of support according to the same polling, about 6 percent over the span of a month, as COVID cases continue to rise. The CECC has refused to close restaurants, bars and nightclubs as they did last year to successfully control the spread, despite public opinion largely demanding the government act to respond.
This implies that the PRC will continue to increase criticism of the DPP’s handling of the virus, which according to existing CCP rhetoric is a marker of state competence and legitimacy, contrasting with their own struggles to forcefully contain the virus.
Bloomberg has reported that the Taiwanese Mainland Affairs Council has instead of acknowledging the gap between public will and their actions has instead said that the reliance of the PRC on lockdowns will “will hit the credibility of the CCP leader and his confidants, forming policy pressure,” without acknowledging that the same may take place in Taiwan.
Note: all images are screen captures from 觀察者, a Chinese media source which like all in China must follow strict censor guidelines, and therefore the opinions expressed are at least tacitly accepted by the Chinese Communist Party.
Data source: https://www.tpof.org/%e7%b2%be%e9%81%b8%e6%96%87%e7%ab%a0/2022%e5%b9%b44%e6%9c%88%e3%80%8c%e7%96%ab%e6%83%85%e5%8d%b1%e6%a9%9f%e3%80%81%e4%bf%84%e7%83%8f%e6%88%b0%e7%88%ad%e8%88%87%e5%8f%b0%e7%81%a3%e8%aa%8d%e5%90%8c%e3%80%8d/