The CCP’s National Congress Will Work on Fully Occupying Taiwan: Chinese Scholar

By Ben Liang
Ben Liang
Ben Liang
and Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2009.
February 20, 2022 Updated: February 21, 2022

As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is preparing for its 20th National Congress this fall, a Chinese scholar on Taiwan issues told Chinese state media that the 20th National Congress will further realize China’s plan to fully occupy Taiwan “under the guidance of the Party’s overall strategy for resolving the Taiwan issue in the new era.”

The scholar, Zhou Zhihuai, is the director of the Academic Committee of the Center for Taiwan and East Asian Studies at East China Normal University.

Zhou made the statement in an interview with China News Service on Jan. 19. He also said that the CCP should focus on eliminating interference from Taiwan’s ruling party—the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)—as well as from external forces, and should “build a new mechanism to unilaterally resolve the Taiwan issue at its own pace.” Zhou further predicted that in a “unified” state, the DPP will completely lose the opportunity to “discuss reunification” with the CCP.

Since Zhou is a member of a high-level think tank and considered by the CCP an expert on Taiwan issues, his statement aroused curiosity as to whether this was his merely personal opinion or whether he was sending a signal as a representative of the regime.

Propaganda War

Tang Jingyuan, a senior China affairs commentator based in the United States, told The Epoch Times that on the surface, Zhou’s statement appears to be his own opinion since he conveyed it through a dialogue with the reporter. However, the seminar was widely reported by China’s state-run media, including news outlets under the CCP’s United Front.

“It means that his statement represents the authorities’ attitude, and it was released as a test to see what responses it would incur,” Tang said.

In November last year, the CCP passed its third “Historical Resolution” at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee, putting forward Xi Jinping’s “Overall Strategy for resolving the Taiwan issue in the new era.” A few days later, Zhu Fenglian, China’s spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office, interpreted the resolution, saying it means Beijing “has a firm grip on the cross-strait relations” in terms of both “dominance and preemptiveness.”

According to Tang, Zhou’s so-called “new mechanism” is based on Xi’s “Overall Strategy,” and Chinese authorities are now releasing it to test the reaction from the outside world. If Xi secures re-election at the 20th National Congress, similar approaches will continue to take place as part of the CCP’s efforts to legitimize its occupation of Taiwan. The CCP is basically conducting a propaganda war in the international community to reshape public opinion.

The so-called mechanism to “unilaterally resolve the Taiwan issue” amounts to abandoning the “cross-strait negotiation” mechanism, Tang said.

“The CCP will no longer consider negotiation and dialogues, but do things as it pleases while completely ignoring the other party’s attitude,” Tang said. “It could be a full-scale armed invasion, or a complete blockade of Taiwan by soft military means, or supporting the pro-CCP forces inside Taiwan to carry out separatist actions, deliberately causing social unrest, and then using it as an excuse to send over troops, etc.”

Tang further pointed out that the CCP is already taking concrete action, as revealed by Wang Liqiang, a former CCP agent who fled to Australia. Before his defection, Wang’s main task was to divide Taiwanese people and disrupt Taiwanese society.

‘Nine Principles’ Overturned

In 1981, Ye Jianying, then-chairman of the CCP’s National People’s Congress, proposed “Nine Principles” on how to handle Taiwan issues.

The first principle stipulated that Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party and the CCP may negotiate on an equal footing. The fifth principle said that Taiwanese politicians and representatives from all walks of life can serve as leaders of China’s political bodies. And the ninth principle encouraged Taiwanese citizens to provide suggestions and engage in discussions on state affairs.

After publication of the “Nine Principles,” China and Taiwan opened the “Three Links” between the two sides, namely postal services, transportation, and trade, which was a great improvement from the previous hostility. In the decades that followed, cross-strait relations have been moving along in a complex and intertwined pattern.

Now, seeing Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement suppressed by the CCP, and Hong Kong rapidly becoming another ordinary Chinese city, Taiwanese politicians and citizens increasingly reject the CCP. The Chinese regime has carried out rounds of intensified propaganda campaigns, including threatening to take Taiwan by force, causing serious concerns around the world. The regime also blamed Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen administration for being a major “reactionary” and an “enemy” that challenges the goal of reunification.

“Blaming Tsai for being anti-China and seeking independence is a typical example of a thief shouting ‘catch the thief,’” Tang said.

Tang went on to explain that the CCP is ready to break the status quo in the Taiwan Strait for two main reasons.

One is that the CCP believes that China’s economic and military strength have increased greatly in recent years, making it finally possible to counteract U.S. troops should the United States decide to engage its military to help Taiwan. That’s why Xi emphasized the need to achieve “unification” during his term.

Second is the CCP’s mistaken belief that “the West is declining while the East is rising.” It has therefore begun to take a posture of active expansion to compete with the United States for the dominance of international order. Gaining control of the South China Sea is its first step. In order to accomplish that, taking over Taiwan has become essential.

Divide and Conquer

Additionally, Tang added that the CCP is good at dividing people, and its most common method is to divide groups of people based on class or political position, instigate fights among these groups, and then benefit from the fallout.

Tang pointed to Xi Jinping’s “Overall Strategy for resolving the Taiwan issue” statement last year, where Xi mentioned five sets of keywords. The third phrase says: “placing hope in the people of Taiwan and opposing Taiwan independence.”

So the CCP will not only attack the “Taiwan independence” advocates and the “anti-communist” group, but will target people in the middle, who don’t strongly support Taiwan’s independence, in the CCP’s time-tested strategy of divide and conquer.

Tang further pointed out that, as a result of the CCP’s escalating threats toward Taiwan, Taiwan has reinforced its partnership with other democratic countries. However, in its propaganda to the Chinese people, the CCP reversed the causal relationship of things and repeats that it must take back Taiwan because Taiwan is now partnering with the United States, Europe, and Japan.

This trend will only continue to accelerate, Tang said, because it’s not just an established policy of Xi, but also one of the conditions for him to achieve re-election.

Joyce Liang contributed to this article.

Ben Liang
Jessica Mao
Jessica Mao is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2009.