Last week, Taiwan became more isolated than ever. Panama is the latest country to break relations with Taiwan, known officially as the Republic of China, and instead recognize Beijing, the People’s Republic of China, leaving the island nation only 20 countries that recognize its legitimacy. This trend is not new: The two Chinas have battled for recognition since they separated after the Second World War. Yet this holdover conflict from the Cold War really only matters today for Taiwan and mainland China. For those countries that receive economic benefits for recognizing one over the other, it is only a matter of who offers more investment, aid, and infrastructure.
This game of winning over countries with aid and infrastructure has been the norm since mainland China and Taiwan separated in the 1950s, following China’s brutal civil war. After being run out of the country by Mao Zedong’s Communist Party, the nationalist Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek established their government in Taipei, declaring Taiwan to be the “real China.” The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, sees Taiwan as a renegade province and has as its ultimate goal its reunification with the rest of China — their so-called One-China Policy. Since then, the two nations have been fighting over who is the “real” China by obtaining the recognition of other countries.
Read the rest at: RealClearPolicy
On New Year’s Day, China Central Television (CCTV) unveiled its newest “soft power” entertainment media venture, whose purpose is to extend China’s global media influence. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the overriding directive of this new collection of television stations and news agencies will be to “follow the party line and promote ‘positive propaganda as the main theme.’”
The CCTV announcement compounds the growing risk that increased Chinese investment will entice Hollywood into volunteering itself as a propaganda division of the Communist Party of China (CPC). And if these trends continue, the Western world’s outlet for Chinese dissenters will be closed.
China’s film industry has in recent years grown approximately 34% annually and generated $6.8 billion in 2015. While many applaud the very modest political reforms that sometimes complement China’s market liberalization, one should be wary of the country’s iron grip on its entertainment industry.
China’s industry players are inextricably bound to the CPC, as evidenced by the ascent of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man. Jianlin’s successes are a product of quid pro quo arrangements between himself and the CPC’s top officials. Further, Jianlin is a delegate to the CPC congress and was a high-level advisor in China’s faux legislature from 2008 to 2013. Today, CPC delegate Jianlin can count several American awards shows, including the Golden Globes, the Billboard and American Music Awards, and even AMC Theaters as part of his recently accrued collection.
Continue reading at Forbes.
Two weeks into the new year, we may already be able to hand out the award for 2016’s biggest historical irony. Internet users in China have shown the world a gigantic golden statue of Mao Zedong built in one of the provinces devastated most severely by the Chairman’s attempts to build a communist utopia. The 121-foot tall statue, completed in mid-December, features Chairman Mao sitting with his hands crossed on his lap, staring out into the fields—the very same ones he sabotaged 58 years ago, causing one of the worst famines the world has ever seen.
Little is known about the origins or purpose of the statue, but the BBC reported that it was funded by local businessmen and cost around $460,000. Only four days after the news broke, however, the giant Mao was already being dismantled. The official explanation from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was that the construction of the statue had not been approved. Yet the statue was completed in December, and it was not until the statue came in for international criticism that the CCP addressed the issue.
Read the rest on Dissident here.
As a child, I enjoyed reading the Shadow Children series of novels. The seven books describe a dystopian United States where it is illegal for families to have more than two children. If they do, the third child is executed by the government, along with their family and any accomplices.
Because the book was set in an unlikely future version of the U.S., I never thought such atrocities were possible in the real world. But similar atrocities have been taking place in China for the past 35 years.
Since the late 1970s, most pregnant Chinese women have been forced to have abortions if they already have one child. Women who aren’t complicit in the extermination of their fetuses are physically forced into it, backed by law. Sometimes they are forcibly sterilized.
Read the rest on the Washington Examiner here.