Friday, October 03, 2014

When Core Interests Decline the Honor

China is having problems in controlling its peripheral provinces (Tibet, Xinjiang, and lately Hong Kong). And China seems to think that Taiwan can't be persuaded to join the mainland. Taiwan should worry.

The Taiwanese don't seem very happy to see that in practice, China's formulation of "one country, two systems" defines the two systems as "China's system" and "your system that inevitably evolves into China's system." No. Not happy at all:

Taiwan, an island that China's ruling Communist Party has long sought to bring into its fold under the same "one country, two systems" arrangement it has for Hong Kong, has thrown its support behind Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. ...

"If Hong Kong can soon achieve universal suffrage, it would be a win-win for Hong Kong and the mainland, and it can greatly help narrow the mental gap between residents on both sides of (the Taiwan Strait) and allow for the relations to develop positively," Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said.

Taiwan is seeing that China's smile is just another way to show their teeth.

China already told the Hong Kong protesters the limits of Chinese "inclusiveness."

Taiwan seems to be slipping away from China's charm offensive's grasp. China has an alternative:

There are already signs that Beijing has been bypassing the KMT and dealing directly with influential leaders at the local level across Taiwan. Initial research by some Taiwanese academics, who recently discussed their work with this author, has yet to draw a full picture of the network upon which the PRC relies to funnel money and influence into Taiwan. Nevertheless, enough is known to positively state that the liberalization that has occurred under Mr. Ma has created manifold opportunities for Chinese officials, investors, and intelligence agents to inject money into Taiwan in return for political favors.

This includes supporting fringe political parties in Taiwan that while tiny have the advantage of being aligned with Peking's policies on Taiwan.

It could very well be that the CCP under Xi has run out of patience with the KMT and is aware that it won’t be able to get what it wants under a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration—a distinct possibility from 2016—and that it sees its greatest hopes through cooperation with parties such as Yok’s NP, or gangster Chang An-le’s Unification Party, Taiwan-based organizations that while unelectable (Yok’s party only obtained 10,678 votes, or 0.08 percent of the total, in the 2012 elections), are ideologically in-tune with Xi (Chang, an ex-convict and head of the Bamboo Union triad who has reinvented himself as a politician, has been a vocal proponent of 1C2S since his return to Taiwan in June 2013 after spending 16 years on the run in China). Given the irrelevance of such parties in Taiwanese politics and their ostensible ties with the Chinese intelligence apparatus, we can conclude that Xi, having lost faith in his ability to use Taiwan’s democratic system against itself, has decided to bypass Taiwan’s democratic institutions altogether by cooperating more closely with parties and associations that would have done rather well under Mao’s doctrine of “constant revolution.”

This should scare the crud out of the Taiwanese.

This type of Chinese outreach is useful for an Astro-turf "popular" revolt that China can use to justify a rapid invasion and conquest of Taiwan; providing a ready-made puppet government ready to install to thank China for the humanitarian intervention and put a Taiwanese face on the organs of state repression that will follow as China adds a peripheral province to China as a warning to others on the periphery seeking to leave or loosen China's embrace.

Why Taiwan doesn't see the need to spend 6-10% of their GDP on defense is a mystery to me.

UPDATE: I assume China's government is behind this attack:

Violent scuffles broke out in one of Hong Kong's most famous and congested shopping districts on Friday, as hundreds of supporters of Chinese rule stormed tents and ripped down banners belonging to pro-democracy protesters, forcing many to retreat.

As night fell and news of the confrontation spread, more protesters headed for the gritty, bustling district of Mong Kok, considered one of the most crowded places on Earth, to reinforce.

China sends fishing boats to ram and harass foreign ships in disputed waters. So sending in thugs to rough up protesters to keep their police and army from having to do the dirty work seems like standard operating procedure.