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Evaluation of China understanding: Xi is facing pressure – and could use Taiwan election for significant action

When Taiwan holds its election on January 13, it is seen as a crucial moment by many observers. Depending on the election outcome, the Chinese dictatorship may decide to invade the democratic island.

China’s sole ruler Xi Jinping claims that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic. However, this is not true – the island has never been part of the communist China.

Since Xi took office, he has threatened the Taiwanese with an annexation that he euphemistically calls “reunification”. However, over the years, the Taiwanese have become increasingly self-confident.

Today, more than 75 percent of the country’s residents say they identify as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. Similarly, many resign to arm themselves should Xi be serious about his colonization threat.

Beijing has intensified military actions

Some things are already clear ahead of the Taiwan election.

The current President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cannot run for office after serving two terms. The top candidate of her party is her Vice President Lai Ching-te.

The politician leads in all polls. Beijing claims that the DPP is seeking “independence” for Taiwan. However, according to the government, Taiwan, whose full name is the “Republic of China”, has been an independent state since its founding in 1911.

Since Tsai was in 2016, Beijing has intensified its military actions against the democratic country. Warships and fighter jets cross the median line between free Taiwan and unfree China almost daily.

Xi could use the victory of the Progressive Party as a pretext for attack

The conservative opposition, the Kuomintang Party and the Taiwan People’s Party, hope that Beijing’s attrition tactics will drive voters into their arms. They are counting on relaxation with Beijing.

However, there are no concrete plans on how this will happen. Because there are no signs so far that Xi could relent after a victory of the opposition in the election.

It is more likely that China’s ruler will use a renewed victory of the Democratic Progressive Party in the presidential election as a pretext to attack the island.

Because Xi is under significant domestic pressure. Youth unemployment is at an all-time high, the economy is struggling, and banking and real estate crises have destroyed the assets of the middle class.

Xi is targeting democracy

In such a situation, dictators start wars to stay in power. Therefore, a victory by Lai Ching-te could lead to the invasion of the island. Or at least to intensified measures meant to harm the country’s economy, especially the globally leading semiconductor technology.

It is clear that Xi’s army has practiced the blockade of the island multiple times. Chinese ships destroyed internet cables to practice how to cut off the country from the rest of the world.

The Taiwanese are proud of their democracy. They will use their , a privilege that the Communist Party of China has denied the people in the country for decades.

It is the successful that Xi is targeting. Because the dictator fears that it could inspire mainland Chinese to emulate it if their dissatisfaction with his rule continues.

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