- China has sent scare to Taiwan based companies with a 74 million USD fine on Tsai Ing-wen’s corporate backer.
- Jinping attempts to choke DPP’s funding by corporates, a clear attempt to influence the country’s democratic elections.
- The move can supposedly backfire given the popularity of Tsai Ing-wen and the counter-productive impact it will have on the Chinese economy.
An organisation rises and falls on the leadership. If the leadership is poor, then the organisation is doomed to fail. On both sides of the Taiwan strait, the leaders of Taiwan and Communist China represent the two opposite ends of this statement. While Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has succeeded in keeping the country out of any widespread threat of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as taking on the aggressive actions by the Chinese Communist Party; on the other hand, Xi Jinping has been destroying his own economy and all the legacy that was left behind by his predecessors.
The failure of Xi Jinping and the mess of his own creations has heightened his vulnerabilities and in this predicament, he has decided to direct all the anger and vulnerability on Tsai Ing-wen, given she has successfully repelled all the actions Beijing took to corner Taiwan into submission to the CCP. In the face of an ever-popular President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, Beijing is trying to punish all her corporate backers and make her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cash-starved, so that she can be replaced by a more friendly leadership.
A scared Xi Jinping attempts to manipulate Taiwan’s politics
In the face of ongoing populism, fake news, and voter manipulation, Taiwanese President’s re-election in 2020 marked a watershed event for global progressive politics. Tsai, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), received slightly over 8 million votes – 57.1 per cent of the total – in the January 11, 2020 election, the largest overall number of votes in Taiwan’s democratic history. Since then her popularity has increased, not just in Taiwan, but almost throughout the world and this is really dangerous for the continuity of Beijing’s ‘one-China policy.’
Beijing’s ultimate goal is to sever linkages between the DPP and Taiwanese firms with vast pockets. The island will host regional elections next year, which will serve as a forerunner to the next presidential election. A sharp drop in corporate funding to the DPP would help the Kuomintang, which has advocated for a more conciliatory approach with China, win those elections. According to China’s script, the Kuomintang will reclaim power in the 2024 presidential election if this trend continues.
Tung Li-wen, an advisory committee member at the Taiwan Thinktank, which studies cross-strait relations, stated, “Chinese pressure has shifted to a new phase from the past.” “China has increased pressure on the economic front, not just on the political and military fronts,” Tung said, adding that “the Communist Party’s pressure is approaching extremes.”
CCP targets businesses backing Taiwan’s government
For a paranoid Xi Jinping, no leader is more dangerous to his authority than Tsai Ing-wen. A leader with a history of hawkish views over CCP, highly popular in Taiwan and gaining increasing international stature as well as focused on Taiwan’s international engagement. For Xi Jinping and the CCP leadership, a Kuomintang (KMT) government is much more favourable as it still maintains an idea of ‘one China’, however, differs on the type of political system that should be in place.
As part of a broader effort to erode support for Taiwan’s ruling pro-democracy party, China has targeted a significant corporate donor to Taiwanese political election campaigns with extensive business on the mainland. “We will not allow any company to make money on the Chinese mainland and then donate money to diehard Taiwanese independence groups,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian told reporters.
The term “secessionists” refers to Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party. While the DPP is independence-minded, the opposition Kuomintang party is strongly coloured by its Beijing-friendly bent. Far Eastern is a significant DPP donor, which Chinese officials consider to be an issue. Additional fines could be imposed as a result of the conglomerate’s ongoing probe, which could also affect other Taiwanese firms.
China’s attempts at manipulating Taiwan’s elections will backfire
Taiwan’s integration with the world’s top democratic economies is a big setback to China, and that may very well render China’s trade war against Taiwan utterly suicidal in long run. Consider this – when China banned pineapple import from Taiwan earlier this year, people across southeast Asia, particularly from Japan, sprung into action and started revenge-buying “freedom pineapples” of Taiwan.
So, the move backfired tremendously. Similarly, China’s move to intimidate pro-DPP businesses may also end in tatters. It may cost them already-battered markets in China, but it will very well help them set footholds in the new markets across democratic nations of the region.
Taiwan’s President’s comments in the latest FP magazine’s edition signalled her unwavering commitment to the sustenance of a Democratic Taiwan and her consistent criticism of Authoritarian CCP. She said, “Taiwan’s refusal to give up, its persistent embrace of democracy and its commitment to act as a responsible stakeholder are now spurring the rest of the world to reassess its value as a liberal democracy on the frontlines of a new clash of ideologies. As countries increasingly recognize the threat that the CCP poses, they should understand the value of working with Taiwan. And they should remember that if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system.”
At a time when the CCP is trying to manipulate the upcoming local elections in Taiwan by trying to strangulate the sources of political donations to DPP, Taiwan needs to stand vigilant in the face of an obvious obstruction of Taiwanese sovereignty. These actions also go on to show, that the real threat to Xi Jinping is not by any other major world power, but by the democratic people of Taiwan, who are living proof to the people of mainland China that one need not keep its people as sheep for political stability and socio-economic advancement. This whole thought is a threat to Xi Jinping and his dictatorship.