China to "resolve Taiwan problem" by 2020


#1

I’m not sure how much stock to put into this, but there’s this Chinese language HK newspaper article about how Jiang Zemin has vowed to “resolve the Taiwan problem” by 2020.

The mainland has flapped their arms impotently many a time as Taiwan as slowly lurched towards independence. But things have always blown over with the US, China, and Taiwan’s decision to agree to disagree and to maintain the status quo.

How hard do think this deadline really is? Will this deadline make a peaceful resolution impossible? How much will this strengthen the resolve of the pan-greens to push for a new constitution?


#2

I think it is probably just a lot of hot air. For the past 60 years, the US has been the dominant power in East Asia, and it has no plans to leave. If China attacked Taiwan and the US stood by, it would be the end of the US presence in Asia and the end of the US-Japanese security arrangement. The US is not going to allow this to happen.

Any Chinese government that lost a war to the United States would lose power, so the CCP would be taking a real risk if it attacked Taiwan. How can they be sure the US will not defend Taiwan? Unless they are sure, they will not attack.

On the other hand, any Chinese government that allows Taiwan to declare independence will also lose power. So the reality is that China has a real interest in maintaining the status quo.

I believe the DPP has already agreed not to push for a new constitution or any constitutional amendments that would change the boundaries or name of the Republic. Instead, they will shoot for constitutional reform that affirms the right of the people to call for and vote on referendums including referendums on a new constitution. This is in keeping with two steps forward, one step back process that characterizes political development in Taiwan.

These threats will not stop the DPP from pushing ahead with constitutional reform. Only the US can pressure Taiwan on this, and it probably will not do so as long as Bush is president. But if Kerry wins and pushed Chen too far, Chen may call his bluff and implement a new constitution.

In the end, the US cannot tell a democracy that it cannot reform or rewrite its constitution.

The Hong Kong paper you are quoting is a notorious pro-Beijing rag. This statement probably has more to do with internal power struggles in China than it has to do with reality. Joseph Kahn has an illuminating piece on this in today’s New York Times:

nytimes.com/2004/07/16/inter … in.html?hp

We all remember Kahn for his abysmal coverage of Taiwan’s election; he does a much better job on China issues.


#3

More of the usual hot air. “We’ll huff and we’ll puff and we’ll blow your house down”


#4

1936 Berlin Olympic (Sumer)
1945 Destruction of Nazi Germany

1980 Moscow Olympic (Sumer)
1991 Destruction of the Evil Empire of Soviet Union

1984 Sarajevo Olympic (Winter)
1992 Destruction of the Yugoslav Federation

2008 Beijing Olympic (Summer)
2020 Destruction of the Evil Empire of Communist China!?!?!?

Can the Communist China even last till 2020? Or will it’s communist regim be resolved by an earlier date like 2014 or 2010. One thing for certain is that China still has a very difficult road ahead of him, it’s economic growth looks good on paper but does it show a realistic picture of it’s developments? Is it going on a stable economic growth or is it just a ticking time bomb waiting to explode?

Will Jiang Zemin still be alive by 2020? I mean, why the year 2020 anyway, isn’t that a little bit too late? We will be setting a new constitution by 2006 and making it effective by 2008. By 2020 it will be 12 years too late for China to do jack, especially when by then Taiwan and Japan will already be joined under U.S missile defence system and form an alliance similiar to NATO within South-East Asia.


#5

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#6

Sure. The two pillars of the Party’s legitimacy were socialism and nationalism. In the middle of the last century, most educated Chinese truly believed that socialism would bring economic equality and prosperity to China. They also wanted a government that could resist foreign powers. When the Communists came to power they instituted socialism and kicked the foreigners out.

Now no one believes in socialism anymore. That leaves nationalism. Especially since 1989, the Party has been telling the Chinese people that Taiwan is a part of China and that the United States and Japan are scheming to wrest Taiwan from the bosom of the Motherland. They have also been telling the Chinese people that the Party will never allow this to happen. So each time Taiwan moves closer to independence, the Chinese people, whipped up into a patriotic frenzy, want to know why their government is not making good on its promises of war.

Essentially, the Chinese government has painted itself into a corner on this one.


#7

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#8

[quote=“camalolo”][quote=“Feiren”]
On the other hand, any Chinese government that allows Taiwan to declare independence will also lose power.[/quote]

Could someone explain to me why ?[/quote]
Because they’ve painted themselves into a corner. China is no longer a communist or socialist country. Communism is a state religion in an unbelieving age. Without democracy, the rule of law or any real civic values, the only ideology Beijing can use to stir up support from the masses is nationalism, particulary unification nationalism. The state has built such a huge chip on the nation’s shoulder concerning Taiwan that if the government’s Taiwan policies failed or proved wrong (i.e. the ROCAF, the USAF and the USN pulvarize China’s military back to the stone age when they try to take Taiwan), this would call into question the whole world view that mainlanders have been fed by the government. If Beijing were to do nothing in response to a Taiwan declaration of independence, people’s heads would turn upside down. However, I must add that there are many mainlanders who are quite skeptical of the state and couldn’t care less about what Taiwan does.


#9

Feiren, it’s that NY Times article that I had in mind when I saw that article. In my opinion, if Hu firmly controlled the CCP, he’d probably be able to find a new way for Taiwan and the mainland to open up negotiations, most notably by not making Taiwan’s acceptance of One China a precondition for any sort of negotiations. But since Hu’s got Jiang on his flank, Hu can’t appear soft. And that’s why I think the hardliners will continue to dictate China’s Taiwan policy and why if the hardliners really push for a firm deadline, it wouldn’t be pretty.

[quote]Feiren wrote:

Could someone explain to me why ?[/quote]

Because everyone on the mainland would flip out if Taiwan declared independence and the CCP didn’t instigate all-out war. There would be anti-government protests in the streets that would make ‘89 look like an accountants’ convention. People would be comparing the CCP to the Qing governments that allowed the foreign invaders blah blah blah…


#10

Oops, Feiren types faster.


#11

It’s replaced by ‘stability above anything’ reasoning to appeal for the poor majority.


#12

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#13

[quote=“alidarbac”]Because everyone on the mainland would flip out if Taiwan declared independence and the CCP didn’t instigate all-out war. There would be anti-government protests in the streets that would make ‘89 look like an accountants’ convention. People would be comparing the CCP to the Qing governments that allowed the foreign invaders blah blah blah…
[/quote]
I think there would be demonstrations, but no like what you are describing. In Han areas of the country, people would probably realize that the government has been full of shit all along and that in spite of the fact that most of Taiwan’s 23 million are “Han,” Taiwanese people ultimately see no benefit in being a part of China. They will realize that Beijing has used the Taiwan issue as a brainwashing tool. Most Han areas probably won’t fall into outright rebellion, but there will be a great deal of pressure on the government to reform.

In non-Han areas like Tibet and Xinjiang, the minorities will go into an anti-government frenzy. If the government is seen to be powerless in forcing Han populated Taiwan to unify, these areas will have an even greater desire to go their own way. With low support for the government in the Han heartland, the government just may not have the spine to go from trying to whip up on Taiwan to doing the same to Tibet and Xinjiang in order to beat them down. Losing Taiwan would probably mean the end of the CCP as we know it.


#14

The students will flip out, since the students are more ideological than realistic, but how about the average working citizens, the military, and the government officials?

I really think we need to devide China into different classes and analyze each individual class’es thinking.


#15

Even if somehow this issue is resolved through peaceful means, it is my belief that the CCP is living on borrowed time as we speak. A military conflict with Taiwan, short of nuclear, is one that the PRC can’t win due to U.S. intervention. Even China’s current pace of modernizing it’s military won’t give it anywhere near what can be considered an “edge” against the U.S. What the PRC doesn’t seem to realize is that the U.S. military’s technology advances at such a rapid pace, that this new “modernization” on their part will be even more useless in a few years time. And the gap will only get wider.

One example I can give is that from my days in the Navy, I can tell you that the AEGIS system is truly magnificent. A modern marvel of military technology. And yet, even the AEGIS system will soon be replaced by an even more powerful system. Why do you think the U.S. is considering selling the system to Taiwan for it’s defense? Because they know in a few years time it will have been replaced and will be yet another technology that the U.S. will, in essence, hand-me-down to it’s allies…for a price of course.

But in any case, having seen and experienced them first hand, the implementation and success of the Special Economic Zones, as well as that of Hong Kong S.A.R. leads me to believe that it is only a matter of time before the CCP goes the way that the KMT seems to be going here in Taiwan. JMO, of course.


#16

One of my professors studied new age prophecies, stuff like that. He said something that may be relevant here. He said that most people who predict the future, cluster their predictions about 20 or 30 years in the future. That way it’s near enough to be interesting, but not so near that they get blamed when whatever they said (like, California falling into the ocean, etc.) doesn’t happen.


#17

Interesting my Feng Shui guy says by 2006 unification will occur and LTH will be dead. Whatever the case may be, he has a good eye for interior color.

But that is an interesting point. Assume the CCP loses power in the Mainland. What make anybody think the new Chinese party in control of China will not also be requesting the eventual unification with Taiwan.

I think many people make the mistake only the KMT and CCP has the ideology of “eventual reunification.” I believe the concept is an ideological one that many Chinese people have independent of class or party affiliations (excluding the pan-green of course).


#18

The best weapons China has against Taiwan is

  1. International Blockout
  2. Economic Intergration
  3. Military/Pyschological Coercion

It is in the best interests of China to prolong any negotiation at all for as long as possible, thus giving them longer time to gain a leverage in their unification strategy, not by force but by intergration.

Two things they need to achive is:

  1. Slowly erode away Taiwan’s will to resist as China grows
  2. Build up enough military power to make the U.S unwilling to intervene

If for example, by 2020, when Taiwan knows that it is very unlikely for the U.S to come to the rescue if a war occurs, then Taiwan will definitly to forced into an unfair negotiation, at which China is willing to accept. But right now there is no interest in part of China to enter the negotiation table since the outcome of a fair negotiation is not what they seek and might force them to loose any legitimacy for future unification propaganda. This is evident by them insisting that Taiwan cannot delay the vaunted unification with the motherland while simultaneously preventing any discussions from taking place between the governments. But if they know that we are set on changing country’s title by a certain date, they might be forced into a negotiation table. The Consititutional reform aim at 2006 will certainly put pressure on China to respond but even then that might not be enough for them to enter into a fair negotiation because there’s no changing to the name of the country.

But will they actually attack if things go wrong?

The general impression is that there is a red line to their principle and if once crossed China will attack. Another opinion is that China had painted itself into a corner by it’s own public nationalistic propaganda, unification nationalism, and it will be forced into an attack from such domestic pressure.

I believe in neither of these two. Their communist regime has no idealistic principle that cannot be bend, the only principle they will abide by is that their regime must stay in power and unite their current China at all cost, that is their current ideology. They do not want to see a Soviet-Style collapsement and is doing everything they could to maintain that order. But what they are afraid of is not a domino affects of Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong seperating away. Hong Kong will not seek independence just because Taiwan wrote a new Consitution, their situation is different. Tibetans have not much to go against the regime and China had always dealt with the Xinjiang issue. What they are afraid of is a nationwide rebellion from the masses for a government overthrow. The importance of it is it being nationwide crisis and protest from the masses, not a scattered protest from a few thousands or by the students.

One circumstance that will trigger such scenario is a financial crisis, or a continue growing of mass unemployment. A formal declaration of seperation between Taiwan and China will not trigger such crisis, but a fail attack or even a successful attempt on Taiwan will.

Why I think China’s nationalism will not trigger a crisis and cause the CCP to loose power in an event of loosing Taiwan is because what happened after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. After that event people in China, especially people from the cities had learned not to go against the party. The working class and the students know what it will mean if they take it to the streets against their government. So instead their focus had shifted from political reforms to personal financial gains and the student’s focus shifted to nationalism against America, Japan, and Taiwan Independence. But note that the student’s nationalistic protests are now controllable by the party, thus could be used for a political statement but could also be quieted if the party does not allow it. The uncontrollable protests are no longer from the students but from the Falon Gong movements and also the movements of farmers in rural areas. Thus I don’t see the CCP being pressured into a war by nationalistic sentiments.

The other elements that might pressure China is CCP’s own power struggle from the top leadership, but is Jiang Zemin really such a brave man? If he is he wouldn’t be setting the timetable for 2020, when he’ll already be dead.


#19

Ask him if he knows any good shrinks. Much more useful in your state.


#20

Excellent post, steve101. :thumbsup: :bravo:

What you wrote makes a lot of sense. I think if not for Zemin and his cronies, Hu would be enacting some reform in China, even if it was only a trickle. Like many others, I think that once the old party hardliners die off, things will take increasingly different turns. And how would a new government approach the Taiwan issue? And how would Taiwan react to a democratic or pseudo-democratic China? Would Taiwan then drop independence as an agenda and then push for reunification?

So much could happen. And so much could not. Of course it’s all speculation at this point, but it is interesting nonetheless.