Editorial: US aids Taiwan unblushingly; Beijing undecided between internal and external narratives | Apple Daily Hong Kong

2021.06.11

By Li Ping

Following the landing of the U.S. C-17 military cargo jet at Taipei Songshan Airport, which pushed the bottom line of military exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan, the U.S. passed the Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), in which legislation that will facilitate expanded ties with Taiwan like the Taiwan Fellowship Act and Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act were included, in the Senate. These actions are aggressive and pushy, causing the Chinese side to protest not only on the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but all the way to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress. The hilarious part is that the Chinese official organizations and media all avoid discussing the Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act for fear of provoking the public, and makes it even harder to respond to their calls for war. Wouldn’t such discrepancies between the domestic and international responses make it even more obvious that the CCP’s toughness on the exterior is just a show?

Compared to the complaints toward the U.S. C-17 military cargo jets entering Taiwan, the passage of USICA in the U.S. Senate resulted in even stronger objections. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the bill of going contrary to the common desire to strengthen U.S.-China exchanges and cooperation. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress also issued a statement bombarding the U.S.’ global hegemony, fabricating the “China threat” and treating China as an “imaginary enemy” at every turn, which is “unpopular around the world and doomed to fail.” At the same time, the statement strongly opposed any form of diplomatic exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan, and reiterated that the Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong issues are “purely China’s internal affairs and absolutely no foreign interference will be tolerated.”

How is the U.S. legislation to promote innovation and competition against the general trend of the world and common desires of everyone in China and the U.S.? Could it be that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National People’s Congress are better suited to represent the wishes of the general public of the U.S? Moreover, how is the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act interfering with the Chinese internal affairs around Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet? What the Chinese government neither likes nor want to bring up is that the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed by the U.S. Senate is in fact not a single bill, but a sweeping package of bills, including the 2021 Strategic Competition Act, the Taiwan Fellowship Act and Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act.

In particular, the Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act stipulates that the U.S. will allow Taiwanese diplomatic and military personnel performing official duties to display the national flag and wear uniforms within the borders of the U.S. Is this not an explicit recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty? China is letting its Foreign Affairs ministry and National People’s Congress members shoot a few verbal bullets, but would not even dare to mention and outwardly oppose the Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Acts, isn’t that a tad bit feeble? This is almost no different from a sullen acquiescence to the U.S. recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Remember when the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in 2019? China fired seven statements consecutively from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Hong Kong government. Moreover, the Foreign Ministry and National People’s Congress Foreign Affairs Committee issued statements simultaneously to oppose the Taiwan issue after then U.S. President Trump signed the Taipei Act in March last year, urging the U.S. “not to implement the bill and handle the Taiwan issue cautiously.”

Of course, the U.S. Innovation and Competitive Act and its relevant legislation will need to be passed in the House of Representative, before signing into force by President Biden. However, gauging the U.S. public opinion and media, it is only a matter of time before the bill takes effect. Whether the Chinese response is strong or not, and whether it has any impact at all are negligible. Therefore, what deserves attention is whether or not the Chinese response has an effect domestically.

Since the U.S. C-17 military cargo jet open landing in Taipei, the Chinese official mouthpieces and officials in the U.S. threatened that as soon as U.S. military aircraft and warships are parked in Taiwan, a war would start. That became a joke of the international community. Even the patriotic “little pinks” in China slammed the government for being too weak, failing to guard the bottom line of their position on foreign interference and the safeguarding of national unity, and exposing the fault lines in the CCP’s abuse of the Taiwan issue to incite its people.

China did not utter a word toward the passage of the Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act by the U.S. Senate, not because it is holding back, but because it really is at a loss of how to act. Too strong of a verbal opposition would only generate another wave of the hawkish calls on war with Taiwan, which is an impossible task at the current moment and would only have a negative impact on the CCP’s ruling authority. The CCP needs to clearly express its opposition to the U.S. and be louder with its objections, yet it does not dare to cross the line, spinning a cocoon around itself, or even end up shooting itself in the foot.

To pacify the little pinks who are heartbroken from seeing the U.S. military jets enter Taiwan, the CCP recently released images of the PLA Southern Theater Command’s Xian H-6 strategic bomber air-launched cruise missiles, and the Eastern Theater’s exercise of amphibious armored vehicles landing on the beach, both looking strong and powerful. However, this kind of literary attack and military threat have been played on stage for 25 years, from 1996 when Taiwan got its first directly elected president. Through it all, when has this act not ended up being an election campaign for the “Taiwan independence forces”?

This article is translated from Chinese by Apple Daily.

Click here for Chinese version

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