A supporter of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen displays a banner outside the campaign headquarters in Taipei on January 11, 2020.
Date: January 13, 2020
By: James Griffiths
Hong Kong (CNN)Speaking in 1995, a hundred years after Japan's seizure of Taiwan, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin said it was the "sacred mission and lofty goal of the entire Chinese people" to see the unification of the island with mainland China.
In Hong Kong two years later, Jiang oversaw the implementation of the model he said would achieve just that, "the great concept of 'one country, two systems'" — a process whereby the city would continue to maintain its distinct political and legal systems, while becoming part of a unified China.
On Saturday, Taiwan voted overwhelmingly to reject that model, reelecting President Tsai Ing-wen in a landslide. The campaign was dominated by fears of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and a desire not to follow the path of Hong Kong — where "one country, two systems" looks shakier than ever in the wake of sometimes violent anti-government unrest.
Responding to Tsai's victory, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry said that "regardless of what happens in Taiwan, the basic facts won't change: there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China." [FULL STORY]
Date: January 13, 2020
By: Ben Blanchard, Yimou Lee
TAIPEI (Reuters) – His policies rejected by Taiwan voters in a landslide re-election for President Tsai Ing-wen, Chinese President Xi Jinping will most likely continue to tighten the screws on the island, with state media already floating shows of force.
China took center stage in the campaign after Xi sought in a major speech a year ago to get Taiwan to sign on to the same sort of “one country, two systems” model as Hong Kong.
Tsai immediately rejected the idea. Six months later, Hong Kong erupted in anti-government protests, giving a huge boost to Tsai in her efforts to portray China as an existential threat to Taiwan’s democracy and freedoms.
But rather than recognize that its pressure on Taiwan had failed, Beijing’s immediate reaction to the election was to double down on “one country, two systems” and say it would not change policy. [FULL STORY]
Illustration ties pro-democracy movement in Beijing in 1989 to 2019 Hong Kong protests
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAI6PEI (Taiwan News) — An illustration showing solidarity between Tiananmen Square and Hong Kong protesters has gained over 24,000 upvotes on the social media site Reddit since New Year's Eve.
On Dec. 31, Reddit user baylearn posted the illustration with the heading "Thirty years, and we’re still fighting the same fight, protecting the flame lit in Beijing three decades ago." Baylearn says that the image had originally been posted by an anonymous use on Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging service, on Dec. 29.
In the illustration, a woman is shown wearing a yellow helmet and carrying a yellow umbrella, symbols of both the 2019 Hong Kong protests and the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Meanwhile, on the other side of a pane of glass cracked by a bullet hole, a woman wearing a headband that reads "Liberty" can be seen inking the words "Glory to H.K." in red, possibly blood.
In the foreground at the top of the image are Chinese characters that read "revolution era," with the year 2019 on the left and 1989 on the right. In the background on the left, a black flag of the 2019 Hong Kong protests can be seen waving, while on the right, a black and white banner reads in Chinese "Give me liberty, or give me death!" [FULL STORY]
Date: December 31, 2019
By: Yimou Lee; Editing by Kim Coghill
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday the island would not accept a “one country, two systems” political formula Beijing has suggested could be used to unify the democratic island, saying such an arrangement had failed in Hong Kong.
China claims Taiwan as its territory, to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if necessary. Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.
Tsai, who’s seeking re-election in a Jan. 11 vote, also vowed in a New Year’s speech to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty, saying her government would build a mechanism to safeguard freedom and democracy as Beijing ramps up pressure on the island.
Fear of China has become a major element in the campaign, boosted by months of anti-government protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong. [FULL STORY]
FILE PHOTO: A banner is reflected on a polished surface as Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 2, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Date: De5cember 30, 2019
By: Ben Blanchard
BEIJING (Reuters) – With just days to go before Taiwan’s elections, its giant neighbor is trying a push-and-pull strategy on the island Beijing claims as Chinese territory, rattling its saber while trying to coax electors with outwardly friendlier policies.Taiwan, which says it is an independent country, has long been wary of Chinese attempts to sway its elections in favor of candidates who may look more kindly upon Beijing.
Fear of China has become a major element in the campaign, boosted not only by the anti-government protests in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong but also by a speech Chinese President Xi Jinping gave in January outlining China’s “reunification” agenda, including threats of force.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her team are pressing home a message that people need to “protect” Taiwan from China when they vote in the Jan. 11 presidential and parliamentary election. [FULL STORY]
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi’s planned spring visit to Japan provides an opportunity to contain mutual hostility and expand relations. Photo: DPA
Following our earlier look ahead to 2020, four more commentators offer their predictions for the trends likely to impact the region in the year ahead
South China Morning Post
Date: 29 Dec, 2019
By: EZRA VOGEL, Professor emeritus at Harvard University
Unrest in Hong Kong, tensions between the United States and China over technology and trade, resurgent Hindu nationalism in India, and frictions in the South China Sea are just some of the issues that shaped Asia in 2019.Following our earlier look ahead to 2020, four more commentators, including the editor of This Week in Asia, offer their predictions for the trends likely to impact the region in the year ahead.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced he plans to visit Japan in 2020 when the “cherry blossoms bloom”. This will be the first visit by a Chinese leader to Japan since the 2008 to 2014 period, when relations between the two reached their lowest point since being normalised in 1972.Chinese attitudes towards Japan had grown worse in the 1990s. After the Tiananmen Square crackdown
in 1989, the Chinese government launched a patriotic education campaign to gain the loyalty of Chinese youth. China produced many World War II movies featuring heroic Chinese fighting against vicious Japanese. In turn, Japanese became angry after they saw film clips of Chinese attacking Japanese-owned stores in China, and the Chinese military threatening the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Nearly 90 per cent of the public in both countries viewed each other negatively.China and Japan should not see each other as a threat, says Xi24 Dec 2019
From 1895, when Japan won the First Sino-Japanese War, until 2008, Japan enjoyed the upper hand in relations with China. But in 2008, China began to pull ahead after the Lehman shock and the Beijing Olympics. In 2010, the World Bank announced that the size of the Chinese economy had surpassed Japan’s. [FULL STORY]
President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan and her running mate, William Lai Ching-te, campaigning in Taipei on Nov. 17. Ms. Tsai has vehemently denounced interference from Beijing.Credit...Chiang Ying-Ying/Associated Press\
So it is attacking democracy on the island from within.
The New York Tmes
Date: Dec. 1, 2019
By Natasha Kassam
“Not a chance,” the president’s tweet said, in Chinese characters. That was the message from Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of Taiwan, on Nov. 5, after the Chinese government announced a string of initiatives to lure Taiwanese companies and residents to the mainland.
“Beijing’s new 26 measures are part of a greater effort to force a ‘one country, two systems’ model on #Taiwan,” Ms. Tsai’s tweet said, referring to the principle according to which Hong Kong — another territory Beijing eventually hopes to fully control — is supposed to be governed for now and its semiautonomy from Beijing guaranteed. “I want to be very clear: China’s attempts to influence our elections & push us to accept ‘one country, two systems’ will never succeed.” The protesters who have mobilized in Hong Kong for months say, in effect, that the principle is a lie.
In Taiwan, the Chinese government’s objective has long been what it calls “peaceful reunification” — “reunification” even though Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction or control of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party. To achieve that goal, Beijing has for years tried to simultaneously coax and coerce Taiwan’s adhesion with both the promise of economic benefits and military threats. Early this year, President Xi Jinping of China reiterated that “complete reunification” was a “historic task.” “We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means,” he added.
Taiwan is gearing up for a presidential election in January. On Nov. 17, Ms. Tsai announced that the pro-independence William Lai Ching-te, a former prime minister, would be her running mate. On the same day, China sent an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait. (In July, China had released its defense white paper, and it stated, “By sailing ships and flying aircraft around Taiwan, the armed forces send a stern warning to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”) Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s foreign minister, reacted by tweeting: “#PRC intends to intervene in #Taiwan’s elections. Voters won’t be intimidated! They’ll say NO to #China at the ballot box.”
The Chinese government also seems to suspect as much: Even as it holds fast to its usual (ineffectual) strong-arm tactics, it is employing new measures as well. It no longer is simply supporting candidates from the Kuomintang, a party that now favors closer ties with Beijing. It is also trying to undermine Taiwan’s democratic process itself and sow social divisions on the island.
It seems clear by now that even Beijing-friendly candidates cannot deliver Taiwan to China. Only about one in 10 Taiwanese people support unification with China, whether sooner or later, according to a survey by the Election Study Center of National Chengchi University in October. Given public opinion, presidential candidates are likely to hurt their chances if they are perceived as being too close to the Chinese government. [FULL STORY]
By: Chai,Sze-chia and Elizabeth Hsu
Shanghai, Nov. 24 (CNA) China's public security authorities have identified a Chinese national who was reported by Australian media to be a defector involved in spying operations in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia, as a fugitive being pursued for fraud.
The Sydney Morning Herald and other Australian media outlets reported Saturday that a Chinese defector named Wang "William" Liqiang went to Australia's counter-espionage agency in October with intelligence on how China's senior military intelligence officers funded and conducted spying operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.
However, in a Saturday post on its official Weibo web page, the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau's Jingan Branch said that after investigating the matter, it found that the so-called "special agent of China" is Wang Liqiang (王立強), 26, from Nanping in Fuijan Province.
"Jobless, Wang is a fugitive involved in cases," the post reads. [FULL STORY]
An unintended consequence of the current unrest in Hong Kong has been to derail Xi Jinping’s proposal to use the “one country, two systems” formula to settle the Taiwan issue.
The Natinal Interest
Date: October 27, 2019
By: Dennis P. Halpin
In December 2004, the Heritage Foundation’s Hong Kong office hosted a speech by Henry Hyde, Chairman of the then-named House International Relations Committee (now the Foreign Affairs Committee.) Hyde, a veteran of World War II who fought in the battle for the Philippines, had an abiding personal interest in post-war political developments in Asia, including the challenges posed by a rising China. In his remarks, he saw political developments in Hong Kong as a key test as to whether Beijing would emerge as a responsible stakeholder or, alternatively, an authoritarian threat in the 21st Century.
Speaking of Hong Kong, he said: “Many years ago, those laboring in mines deep underground, faced the deadly problem of the buildup of fatal but undetectable gases. To warn them of approaching danger, they would bring with them a small and fragile bird, imprisoned in a cage, which became known as the miners’ canary…Hong Kong is the miners’ canary. Its vulnerability makes it an unmistakable indicator of the course of China’s historic transition and the impact it will soon have on us all. We must watch carefully.”
Hyde died in 2007. Yet his words of caution remain relevant for Americans today. These include President Trump who, according to a CNN report on October 4th, made another questionable promise on Hong Kong in one of his now-famous phone calls to global leaders: “During a private phone call in June, President Donald Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that the US would remain quiet on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong while trade talks continued.” CNN further reported that the State Department told then-U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong, Kurt Tong, “to cancel a planned speech on the protests in Washington because the President had promised Xi no one from the administration would talk about the issue.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and NBA star LeBron James should also take heed. Their concerns for human rights and the rule of law are blinded by what Chairman Hyde called in his 2004 speech “the fool’s gold of pure selfishness” – in this case, the glitter of Chinese gold. Zuckerberg, seeking a breakthrough for Facebook in China after it was blocked in 2009, bought several copies of China strongman Xi Jinping’s book on governance in 2014, so that “he and (his) colleagues could learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics,” according to a December 9, 2014 article in the South China Morning Post. [FULL STORY]
FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to leave at the end of an event marking the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Reuters Date: DECEMBER 30, 2018
BEIJING (Reuters) – China will kick off a year of sensitive anniversaries with a major speech
on Wednesday by President Xi Jinping on Taiwan, China’s most sensitive issue.
In 2019 China will celebrate 70 years since Communist China’s founding. Anniversaries are always touchy events in China, where maintaining stability is the ruling Communist Party’s overwhelming priority.
Next year brings at least six that could unsettle the party, from June’s 30 years since the bloody Tiananmen crackdown to October’s 70 years since Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic at the end of an even bloodier civil war.
But it will be self-ruled Taiwan, proudly democratic and claimed by China as its own, that will be the focus of Xi’s first important, pre-announced public event of the year.
State news agency Xinhua said on Monday that Xi will give a major speech in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a key policy statement that led to a thaw in relations with Taiwan, the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan”.