Why Is Taiwan a Mortal Threat to the CCP?

April 9, 2022 Updated: April 10, 2022

Commentary

Most of the world knows that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a psychological animus against Taiwan. Why would the CCP want to erase the existence of the independent democratic country of Taiwan?

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), threatens the entirely false premise that the CCP is the best form of government in the world and especially the best form of government for the Chinese people. Taiwan represents an alternative view that the CCP cannot allow to blossom.

The CCP fundamentally fears that Taiwan will be, like the Chinese proverb states, the “single spark that can start a prairie fire.”

An Ideological Threat

Taiwan is more than a flourishing democracy. First and foremost, Taiwan is an ideological threat to the CCP. Taiwan represents a country where the individual is the ruler or the sovereign, and the government serves the people. This idea is clearly stated in Taiwan’s Constitution: “Sovereignty of the Republic of China shall reside in the whole body of citizens.”

In China, sovereignty resides in the Party: the CCP is the ruler, and the people serve the Party. This type of thinking is no different than how the masses were treated under the Chinese emperor or the serfs of Europe.

Therefore, Taiwan represents a revolutionary ideological threat to CCP authoritarian statism.

Proximity

Taiwan is geographically close to China—Formosa is about 100 miles from mainland China. Some of Taiwan’s islands, such as the Kinmen islands, are only a few miles from the Chinese port city of Xiamen.

With travel usually allowed between Taiwan and China, the ideological infection that Taiwan represents terrifies the CCP. In 2019, over 2.5 million Chinese citizens visited Taiwan, and before the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of 6 million Taiwanese citizens visited China each year.

To nip this ideological threat in the bud, the CCP uses extensive measures through its United Front and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) media, psychological, and legal warfare departments to counter the ideological threat.

Regardless of relentless ideological attacks against Taiwan, the idea of democracy and individual freedom continues to spread throughout China. Examples of activities in favor of democracy include the following: the deadly demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, where (an estimated) 10,000 people were massacred; the brutal suppression of protests in Hong Kong; the severe oppression of the Falun Gong movement. These examples demonstrate that the CCP constantly struggles to maintain its oppressive totalitarian rule.

Of course, CCP propaganda ignores protests against the regime, and Beijing wants its citizens and the rest of the world to believe that the CCP has rendered a “miracle” in transforming its country—as if the communists had such a word in their anti-religious vocabulary.

Epoch Times Photo
A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Avenue of Eternal Peace during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China on June 5, 1989. (Jeff Widener/AP Photo)

Divergent History

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, two types of government emerged: democratic and communist. Ironically, each of these government types is based on Western ideologies.

For Taiwan, the shift to democracy is enunciated in the constitution’s Three Principles of the People: “… shall be a democratic republic of the people, to be governed by the people, and for the people.”

The idea of equality is reinforced throughout the constitution, as the following selections demonstrate:

Article 5: Complete equality among the various ethnic groups.

Article 7: All citizens of the Republic of China, irrespective of sex, religion, ethnic origin, class, or party affiliation, shall be equal before the law.

Article 8: Personal freedom shall be guaranteed to the people … no person shall be arrested or detained other than by a judicial or police organ in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law. No person shall be tried or punished other than by a court of law in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law.

Article 10: The people shall have freedom of residence and of change of residence.

Article 11: The people shall have freedom of speech, teaching, writing, and publication.

Article 12: The people shall have freedom of privacy of correspondence.

Article 13: The people shall have freedom of religious belief.

Article 14: The people shall have freedom of assembly and of association.

Article 15: The right to existence, the right to work, and the right to own property shall be guaranteed to the people.

Article 16: The people shall have the right to present petitions, lodge complaints, and institute legal proceedings.

Article 17: The people shall have the right to election, recall, initiative, and referendum.

The above list of freedoms is antithetical to the CCP’s hold over the people in the mainland. For example, freedom of speech is denied under the CCP. Anyone holding “divergent” views is subject to harassment, prison time, and even torture.

The CCP has created the dystopian hyper-technological version of “Thought Police” described in George Orwell’s “1984.”

Epoch Times Photo
Security guards patrol below surveillance cameras on a corner of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, on Sept. 6, 2019. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

The social credit system implemented throughout China creates new classes of people based on a CCP scoring system, similar to the five-layered caste system in Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World.”

The CCP denies all freedoms listed in the Taiwanese Constitution to the people of China.

Who Does the Military Protect and Defend?

According to Articles 138 and 139 of the Taiwanese Constitution, the Armed Forces’ purpose is to protect the people; it is above party affiliation, and it cannot be used as an instrument for individual or party power.

The Taiwan military oath states, “I do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be loyal to the nation, safeguard the security of the State.”

This apolitical structure of Taiwan’s military is opposed to how the CCP has constructed its power structure. The PLA’s purpose is to protect the Party. The PLA’s oath of office includes the following: “I promise that I will follow the leadership of the Communist Party of China.”

Conclusion

Taiwan is an ideological threat to CCP rule. Although the PLA military invasion threat persists against Taiwan, the CCP fears the ideological threat of Taiwan’s ideas of freedom, which include equality before the law, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of the press, right to privacy, freedom of movement, right to petition, and right to work.

Each of these rights and freedoms represents moral and mortal spears to the CCP, which one should hope, will liberate the Chinese people from the dictatorship of the Party.

Taiwan’s democratic principles can achieve Sun Tzu’s ultimate goal in warfare against the CCP: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Guermantes Lailari is a retired USAF Foreign Area Officer specializing in the Middle East and Europe as well as counterterrorism, irregular warfare, and missile defense. He has studied, worked, and served in the Middle East and North Africa for over 14 years and similarly in Europe for six years. He was a U.S. Air Force Attaché in the Middle East, served in Iraq and holds advanced degrees in International Relations and Strategic Intelligence. He researches authoritarian and totalitarian regimes that threaten democracies. He will be a Taiwan Fellow in Taipei during 2022.