Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

China shows its real face again

China shows its real face again

The Presidential Office Building in Taipei appears in a video recorded in Inner Mongolia. Members of the People’s Liberation Army storm through the surrounding streets and attack the building.
A drone bumps into Taipei 101 and crashes to the ground. Luckily, nobody inside or outside the building was injured. The operator of the flying machine turns out to be a 30-year-old visitor from China.
The two incidents were completely unrelated but they both give the people of Taiwan a similar message: China is still the enemy, and underestimating its intentions is not an option.
The use of an image of a five-story-tall building with a red brick tower remarkably similar to the Presidential Office Building as a target in the Stride 2015 Zhurihe military drills led many commentators to believe that China was simulating an attack on Taiwan, despite rapidly warming relations between the two over the past seven years.
Despite the location of the maneuvers near the town of Zhurihe in China’s region of Inner Mongolia, the intention of the drills was clear. The PLA was simulating an attack on Taiwan, and more precisely, on its most powerful citizen, the president himself.
The Ministry of National Defense in Taipei said the video recording, which was shown on China’s CCTV channels, would hurt Taiwanese people’s feelings and was unacceptable because it so clearly targeted an important building.
Taiwan’s military also holds regular simulation drills with defenders labeled as the “blue” camp and attackers as the “reds,” an obvious reference to a communist country, but it has never used a clearly identifiable building or other structure in China.
While President Ma Ying-jeou has done his utmost to improve relations with China, even going against public opinion in Taiwan, Beijing shows that its old mantra of using force against Taiwan still stands.
The drills in Inner Mongolia make it very clear that President Xi Jinping’s tough nationalist attitude is not only aimed at Japan or at the Southeast Asian nations like the Philippines which counter its claims on disputed islands, but also at Taiwan, despite its friendly government.
The pictures of the Presidential Office Building being attacked by the PLA should wake up not just the Taiwanese public, many of who have no illusions about China’s intentions, but also and especially the current government.
Beijing’s simulations reportedly also included a copy of Taichung’s Chingchuankang Airport in its province of Gansu, another clear sign that Taiwan is at the top of its list of military destinations.
For some commentators, the timing of drills aimed at Taiwan is also an important element. On January 16, millions of Taiwanese voters will cast their ballot to choose the next occupant of the building targeted by the Chinese, and most polls indicate that they will pick Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party, the candidate most critical of China’s intentions.
The drills in Inner Mongolia are reminiscent of previous efforts by China to influence Taiwan’s presidential elections, with the most extreme example the launching of missiles around the island in the run-up to the first-ever direct presidential elections in 1996.
Each time though, the result of those Chinese attempts has been the same: the side Beijing least wanted to see in power, won.
While Tsai does not look like she needs the antagonism of China to make the public understand that her views on the communist country are the right ones, Beijing’s bluster is only likely to remind Taiwanese voters that she might be the candidate best placed to defend the island’s interests.
If China takes more action or produces more words inimical to one particular candidate in the election, the result will only be that more Taiwanese voters understand its intentions and vote the other way.
One would imagine that after several previous failures to interfere with Taiwanese voters, Beijing would have learned its lesson, and stayed well away from a democratic process where it is not welcome.
As if the surprising insertion of the Presidential Office Building into military exercises was not enough, it was revealed on Wednesday that the drone which had hit Taipei 101 the previous day had been operated by a citizen of the People’s Republic of China.
On Tuesday morning, the 30-year-old Chinese man surnamed Yang saw the weather was nice and went to a park near his hotel to launch the unmanned flying device. However, he reportedly lost control of the drone, which then smashed into Taipei 101 and crashed to the ground.
Police questioned the man shortly after the incident and again on Wednesday evening, reportedly reaching the conclusion that he had not born any ill intentions.
The Taipei 101 building is not a high security target and Yang, a former student in Taiwan, seemed like an ordinary tourist on a short visit to the island.
Nevertheless, the incident again raised questions about the safety and security of major sights, buildings and more sensitive installations. The onslaught of Chinese tourists over the past few years has not only given rise to consternation about the rude behavior of some of the visitors, but also brought reports of tourists taking pictures close to or even inside military camps.
In addition to frequent incidents of present or retired military officers caught passing on key information to China, the drones, the behavior by tourists and the drills all form evidence that the communist country should not be trusted nor underestimated. China’s threat to “unify” Taiwan with force is still as real today as it was at the height of the feud with President Chiang Kai-shek, when the reconquista of Mainland China was still listed as the Kuomintang government’s main aim.
China might have said it would only use force in the event that Taiwan officially declared independence, but it has been building up its massive military machine to the point that one day, if Taiwan fails to do its part, it will be able to attack and win without having to worry about independence or not.
Taiwan can build up positive relations with China, but it should never lose sight of the fact that the communist rulers in Beijing are preparing for the day when they can use brute force to occupy the island if its democratically elected government is unwilling to play along with its designs.


Updated : 2021-09-18 00:32 GMT+08:00