Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks at the opening session of the 20th Communist Party of China’s National Congress demonstrated that Xi is confidently preparing his country for conflict with the United States and Taiwan. His speech included threats to the West and Taiwan, and assertions that Hong Kong and Macao were firmly under China’s control.
Veiled Threats to the West
Xi’s speech had several veiled references that are preparing the Chinese people for a conflict with the West. Xi ominously warned CCP cadres to “be more mindful of potential dangers, be prepared to deal with worst-case scenarios, and be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms.” Xi also mentioned that China “cannot be swayed by fallacies, deterred by intimidation, or cowed by pressure.” In not-so-veiled propaganda against the United States, Xi stated that “China stands firmly against all forms of hegemonism and power politics, the Cold War mentality, interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and double standards.”
China Owns Taiwan’s Fate, By Force if Necessary
Xi’s words on Taiwan were more specific. First, Xi signaled that one of his main objectives is for the Chinese takeover of the island. Xi stated that “[t]he wheels of history are rolling on toward China’s reunification [with Taiwan] and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Complete reunification of our country must be realized, and it can, without a doubt, be realized.” Xi also remarked that “resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese people.” According to Global Times, this reference to Taiwan indicates that Xi views Taiwan as an issue of domestic, not foreign affairs.
And on the details of this “reunification” with Taiwan, Xi stated that China is prepared to use force. Specifically, Xi stated that “[China] will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary.”
Zhang Wensheng, a deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, noted that Xi’s comments on Taiwan serve “as a fresh warning to outside forces and the few separatists seeking ‘Taiwan independence,’” as well as to “outside forces.” This echoed similar comments by Sun Yeli, spokesperson for the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, who commented that while peaceful reunification with Taiwan is China’s first choice, China will resort to non-peaceful means to combat against “external influence” and “separatist activities.” Sun added that such forces “will plunge Taiwan into the abyss of disaster, and bring profound and heavy tragedies for Taiwan compatriots,” and that, as cited by Global Times, “no party, and no force should underestimate our strong determination, firm will and powerful strength to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University, also stated that if external forces continued to interfere in the Taiwan issue, this would “force the Chinese government to take non-peaceful means.”
Hong Kong and Macao Remain Firmly Under China’s Control
As usual, any autonomy that Xi promised to Hong Kong and Macao is a mirage. While Xi stated that Hong Kong and Macao will be “administer[ed]” by their own people, with a “high degree of autonomy,” Xi alsowarned that “[w]e will remain committed to law-based governance in Hong Kong and Macao,” that the “central government exercises overall jurisdiction over the two regions, and that Hong Kong and Macao are administered by patriots.” The fact that the Chinese government has the final say, and that these two cities are “administered by patriots” means that China has total control, and that there is no autonomy.
Xi also continued to whitewash China’s brutal suppression of Hong Kong. Xi dismissed the Hong Kong democratic protests as “turbulent changes,” and praised China’s suppression of those protests as China “effectively exercis[ing] full control […] and implement[ing] the principal of patriots ruling Hong Kong, resulting in a major turnaround in the situation in Hong Kong from chaos to governance.”
Xi used the 20th Communist Party of China’s National Congress to telegraph his game plan for Chinese relations with Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and the West. The speech shows that Xi is readily embracing increased conflict with the West and Taiwan, and the continued suppression of Hong Kong and Macao.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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