Beijing's attacks on Taiwan a distraction for Chinese public

J. Michael Cole penned an editorial on Friday in which he suggests that Beijing is busy bullying Taiwan as a way of distracting its own people

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Forbidden City on polluted day in Beijing. (Image from goodfreephotos.com)

Forbidden City on polluted day in Beijing. (Image from goodfreephotos.com)

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) A Canadian commentator on cross-strait relations penned an editorial on Friday in which he suggests that Beijing is busy bullying Taiwan as a way of distracting its own people from the lack of benefits they are receiving from growth and development.

J. Michael Cole, chief editor at Taiwan Sentinel, a news and commentary website on Taiwan, wrote in a piece titled "China's Bullying of Taiwan: External Distraction for an Underperforming CCP?" that the Chinese Communist Party is targeting Taiwan to "fuel and exploit nationalist sentiment so that the Chinese will not pay attention to the many problems at home."

Cole started out by claiming that the intensified campaign against Taiwan, which ranges from exclusion from the World Health Assembly and poaching of diplomatic allies to increased military drills nearby, "isn't really working."

Beijing's aim has been to "break morale and fuel fears of abandonment in Taiwan," he wrote, but "reactions across Taiwan have been calm and rational," with the noted exception of the opposition Kuomintang.

He then asks why Beijing is following such a strategy if it is ineffective in achieving its targeted aim.

Cole posits that these measures are effectively a distraction intended to ensure the Chinese people are not focussed on a series of domestic problems.

These include, according to Cole, a slowing economy, the widening wealth gap, poor air pollution and overall environmental deterioration, and "backsliding on the (limited) freedoms that had been secured in the post-Mao Zedong era."

He went on to say that if he were Chinese, he would demand that the government pay more attention to its own people instead of the Taiwanese people, because at the end of the day, a quarter of a billion people in China have not reaped the benefits of growth and are being ignored by the state.