Economic Integration, Democratization and National Security in East Asia
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Economic Integration, Democratization and National Security in East Asia

Shifting Paradigms in US, China and Taiwan Relations

Edited by Peter C.Y. Chow

The US policy of supporting a democratic Taiwan while simultaneously engaging China is a delicate and complex balance, with outcomes critical to economic, security and strategic interests in Asia. At the same time, rising Taiwanese identity amid the emerging power of China continues to change the paradigm. The contributors to this volume explore the political and economic dimensions of this complicated and pressing issue.
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Chapter 2: China’s Incorporation of Taiwan: The Manipulation of Community Tensions

Edward Friedman

Extract

2. China’s incorporation of Taiwan: the manipulation of community tensions Edward Friedman Since 1991–92, China’s Communist Party (CCP) has committed itself to snuffing out Taiwan’s autonomous democracy. In the wake of the 1989–91 implosion of the Soviet bloc and the spread of democracy, including Taiwan’s democratization, the CCP newly imagined democratic Taiwan as part of a supposed American plot to subvert the CCP. China’s rulers therefore decided to build and deploy weapons to press Taiwan to subordinate itself to the CCP regime. By the late 1990s, as Chinese missiles piled up across the Strait from Taiwan, that military threat had alienated the Taiwanese, strengthening a separate Taiwan identity. The CCP, in addition to intensifying military pressure on Taiwan, also promoted a policy of economic co-optation, hoping to repeat the Hong Kong experience in which tycoons sold out the people and their democratic aspirations to secure profits in China. But, by the early twenty-first century, it was clear that China’s economic integration with Taiwan, which kept Taiwanese enterprises globally competitive, was making many Taiwanese anxious that their autonomous democracy was becoming dependent on the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The CCP also switched to a policy of infusing itself inside of Taiwan politics early in the twenty-first century. The goal was to strengthen and unite forces on Taiwan descended from the authoritarian order (the Blues) which were seen as friendly to China, and to weaken and split forces which had struggled against the authoritarian order...

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