ads part of unification push
Four Chinese banks that issue offshore yuan bonds in Taiwan placed large,
front-page advertisements in several newspapers belonging to the China Times
(中國時報) and United Daily News (聯合報) groups. These eye-catching ads used the term
“on the island,” implying that the nation is a province of China.
Although economic and social cross-strait relations are growing stronger, many
people are likely to take offense to such a blatant reference to the
They may be disgruntled, but what can they do? The government’s pro-Beijing
stance has created a heavy economic reliance on China, which is almost Taiwan’s
biggest trading partner, thus making the nation vulnerable to economic
China is making good use of its economic and political resources as it expands
its influence over different sectors of society and gradually turns Taiwanese
dependence into a bargaining chip, which it will use to control “the island” to
achieve its goal of forcing political talks.
During last year’s presidential election campaign, Beijing used Taiwanese
businesspeople based in China to threaten voters, which resulted in former
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) loss to
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), despite his lackluster performance.
The government has given up on the pro-US policies of the past in favor of
China, and many of its decisions are made to please Beijing in the hope that it
will repay the government economically and at the ballot box.
When sovereignty claims clash, the Ma administration is afraid of opposing China
and of offending Taiwanese, and so it becomes paralyzed. This is what happened
when China announced its air defense identification zone last month. The
government’s reaction was delayed because it did not have the slightest
understanding of the impact that the announcement would have on the nation’s
sovereignty and regional security. This shows how much Ma leans toward Beijing.
To understand how China’s unification policy will work, consider how Beijing
forced Hong Kong to surrender.
The manipulation of Taiwanese businesspeople in China was the first step in its
plan. By using Chinese market opportunities as bait and holding Taiwanese
businesspeople hostage to their investments in China, Beijing has them in a
stranglehold that allows it to force companies to express support for China or
to keep their mouths shut.
The second step is to co-opt politicians. The pan-blue camp is looking for
opportunities to go to China for networking purposes. A look at how politicians
fought to meet with Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman
Chen Deming (陳德銘) and to be invited to banquets with him during his recent visit
showed how “red” the political stage is becoming.
The third step is to use China’s huge domestic market to bait the media into
becoming more pro-Chinese. A good example is how China is using soap operas to
entice the pro-green TV station SET TV and how it is trying to get a hold on
media outlets by buying advertising space. This approach is gradually silencing
critical voices and luring them toward the Chinese market.
The advertisements for Taiwanese bonds were a testing of the waters. They
straddled the line between law and politics, and if politicians, the media and
the public do not protest, there will be more advertisements and other
activities that continue to push the boundaries.
If Taiwanese see this as normal behavior and get used to China’s influence, it
will just be a matter of time before the nation becomes part of China.