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讓世界看到彩色的香港 讓香港看到彩色的世界

Opinion | The rhapsody of great power politics: Chinese people in Taiwan may not have to pay price

By Augustus K. Yeung

Under the wings of the U.S. military, Wiliam Lai Ching-te, a Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party candidate won the leadership race, beating a divided camp of pan KMT loyalists and CPC sympathizers. On mainland China, there was a sense of loss, and Taiwan too.

But all was not lost – as this divided camp has successfully garnered a combined majority in the legislature, enabling the two opposition parties to constrain the executive branch.

What's more, tangible benefits can be reaped from the results of this all-important election – if we can look back objectively and learn a few important lessons.

First, we turn to the leaders and authorities for examination and future transformation. The new DPP leader Lai Ching-te is a son of a miner. Being the Taiwan "president" is a big accomplishment for a man with a lowly social class. Besides, he is none of those previous leaders who are ideologists and opportunists. Shih M.T., the DPP founder and Tsai I.W., who dubiously changed the "Double-Ten Celebration" to "Taiwan National Day" –-- angering Ma Y.J. the former KMT leader, who refused to attend the celebration. These two belong to the first category.

Lai is a little like Chen S.B; he is pragmatic, but may not be as corrupt, greedy and phony as Chen, Taiwan's first DPP leader – who was jailed for corruption.

There is a lot Beijing can maneuver to guide, influence and rule Lai Ching-te, or even win him over, turning him into William Tell, a folk hero of Switzerland.

CPC should make room for him as a future "helper". If Lai can wisely cooperate with Beijing, then he may do greater good, helping both sides across the Taiwan Strait to join hands, fulfilling Xi's goal of national reunification.

I don't doubt that the son of a miner will resist the temptation of realizing such a great feat – if tempted diplomatically. But Beijing must examine its Taiwan policies and make changes.

Timely came President Xi's words of wisdom, "CPC MUST 'WIN THE HEARTS OF TAIWAN…'" which were splashed across the front page of a local English-language newspaper.

Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of the Communist Party winning the "hearts and minds" of the people of Taiwan… This call was made during a conference with the United Front department of the CPC in Beijing.

The focus is on promoting exchanges and mutual learning opportunities between China and foreign nations and cultures, to cultivate a broader understanding of, as well as support for, China.

This initiative is part of China's broader efforts towards the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," which Xi has frequently mentioned as his central objective.

The approach involves strengthening the role of the United Front in places like Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong, and overseas Chinese communities – aiming to build support and loyalty towards China and its political system.

These statements from Xi come in the context of significant political developments and tensions in the region, particularly in the case of the recent elections in Taiwan – in which the DPP retained office.

The emphasis on winning hearts and minds may indicate a strategic shift that combines soft power and cultural influence alongside more traditional political and diplomatic efforts. (Source: PC/AGENCIES)

Now, it is the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council that oversees Taiwan affairs, which has been pursuing a policy of using tariff reductions as a weapon for harnessing the DPP authorities. Has its control mechanism been effective?

Are there other ways and means now that the key player has changed from Tsai to Lai? Will the deployment of a high-power Beijing leader make any difference?

The means to the end of reunification may not and should not be the same as before: An embracing approach "to win the hearts of the Taiwan people," may better serve the purpose. For a weak leader like Lai, Beijing can be more dynamic, daring and caring in dealing with him – rather than refusing to negotiate with his administration.

Wang Yi said, "Taiwan independence is a dead end." Mr. Lai should know better after four years working under Tsai, who was dubbed by Beijing as a hopeless hardliner.

Second. Profiling is worth referencing. Han Xin, Marquis of Huaiyin, once posed a question while on the stage about to be commissioned as the Han Army commander-in-chief. He asked, "How do you rate yourself in relation to Xiang Yu, your opponent?" "I'm unworthy of this man – who's a formidable warrior," was his Lord's reply. "You're right. But Xiang Yu has one deadly personality trait: he's unusually kind to his wounded soldiers. But when it comes to rewarding the winning generals whenever rewards are due, he's always hesitant and parsimonious." Han Xin continued, "How can a lord and commander afford not to understand the importance of reward-and-punishment? You can beat Xiang Yu; it's a matter time." (Source: Selections from Records of the Historian.)

Profiling Taiwan's DPP leaders reveals their personality traits, enabling Beijing to conduct behavioral modification – to oppose or rehabilitate wayward leaders.

After all, the ruling Communist Party has in the past decade deliberately sought to shift away from a reliance on government-led investment in massive infrastructure projects to one that is driven more by consumer demand as is typical of other major economies.

A timely shift may be the right thing to do now.

Third. U.S. President Joe Biden has already pledged openly that he "does not support Taiwan independence," saying that he favors "peaceful reunification".

President Xi Jinping, too, has pledged," Communist Party must 'win the hearts' of people in Taiwan…" How else can Beijing win the hearts of the people in Taiwan – other than luring the DPP leaders to push global economic growth gloom together – instead of its strict policy of "stick and carrot", or tit for tat?

If Beijing were a magnet, would Taipei not be drawn to it naturally –rather than by force?


The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.

To contact the writer, please direct email: AugustusKYeung@ymail.com

Read more articles by Augustus K. Yeung:

Opinion | In Taiwan's election, once again history repeats itself! Beijing may need a plan B

Opinion | What does it mean to be strong and powerful? PLA Navy defined by its naval power


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