Thursday, 11 August 2022 – China on Wednesday August 10, published its first white paper on Taiwan since Xi Jinping came to power, refusing to rule out using force in its bid for unification and blaming the island’s “independence seeking” ruling party for deepening the crisis with Beijing.
The paper states China “will tolerate no foreign interference in Taiwan.” It comes days after China held unprecedented military drills around the island in response of a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
China had said in two previous white papers on Taiwan, in 1993 and 2000, that it “will not send troops or administrative personnel to be based in Taiwan” after achieving what Beijing terms “reunification”.
That line, meant to assure Taiwan it would enjoy autonomy after becoming a special administrative region of China, did not appear in the latest white paper.
China’s ruling Communist Party had proposed that Taiwan could return to its rule under a “one country, two systems” model, similar to the formula under which the former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
That would offer some autonomy to democratically ruled Taiwan to partially preserve its social and political systems.
The updated white paper is called “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era”. The “new era” is a term commonly associated with Xi’s rule. Xi is expected to secure a third term at a Communist Party congress later this year.
In the new white paper, China has withdrawn a promise not to send troops or administrators to Taiwan if it takes control of the island, signalling a decision by President Xi Jinping to grant less autonomy than previously offered.
A line in the 2000 white paper that said “anything can be negotiated” as long as Taiwan accepts that there is only one China and does not seek independence, is also missing from the latest white paper.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council condemned the white paper, saying it was “full of lies of wishful thinking and disregarded the facts” and that the Republic of China – Taiwan’s official name – was a sovereign state.
“Only Taiwan’s 23 million people have the right to decide on the future of Taiwan, and they will never accept an outcome set by an autocratic regime.”
Taiwan has lived under the threat of Chinese attack since 1949, when the defeated Republic of China government fled to the island after Mao Zedong’s Communist Party won a civil war.