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Home The News News CCP ‘carrot, stick’ success waning: expert

CCP ‘carrot, stick’ success waning: expert

China might implement pressure campaigns in the run-up to Taiwan’s presidential election next month, including introducing investment incentives and conducting military exercises around the country, to try and sway voters to cast their ballot in a more pro-Beijing direction, an expert said on Thursday.

In contrast to how official communications with Taiwan were severed after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) won her first-term victory in 2016, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has continued full steam ahead in its efforts to win the hearts of Taiwanese business people, said Kung Shan-son (龔祥生), a researcher at the Taiwan government-funded think tank Institute for National Defense and Security Research.

At a forum in Taipei, Kung highlighted that in September, as Taiwan’s election campaign intensified, China announced a total of 22 new policies aimed at facilitating the creation of a “demonstration zone” in coastal Fujian Province to facilitate cross-strait economic collaboration.

The flags of Taiwan, right, and China are pictured in an arranged photograph taken on April 28 last year.

Photo: Reuters

On the military front, in the past China has hesitated to employ military pressure in the run-up to a major Taiwanese election, fearing that such aggressiveness could cause Taiwanese to vote for an anti-Beijing party, he said.

However, there might be less incentive for China to exercise restraint this year, as voters are more set on which way they will vote, which could leave less room for Beijing’s “carrot” approach to sway a meaningful amount of voters, he said.

He added the CCP might not be laser-focused on working toward one “particular political party” being elected, as has traditionally been the case, although he did not mention which party he was referring to.

The Chinese Nationalist Party ‘s (KMT) presidential nominee, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), who is more China-friendly, is trailing the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nominee, Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and Taiwan People’s Party Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in polls for months.

However, Hou has gained momentum among the KMT base since announcing media personality and opinion leader Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) as his running mate last week, and while still lagging behind Lai, he is now polling ahead of Ko in most polls released this week.

In addition to military exercises around Taiwan, the CCP could employ coercive economic and trade policies as tools of intimidation in the lead-up to the Jan. 13 elections, with the aim of influencing Taiwanese voters, Kung said.

These might include measures similar to the banning of Taiwanese mangoes in August, he added.

The Taiwanese government labeled the ban on the fruit as “meddling in the presidential election,” while China attributed the move to the discovery of agricultural pests in recent shipments.

The CCP may, at the right time, lift the ban in a bid to showcase “goodwill” toward Taiwan, the expert said.

However, the effectiveness of the “carrot and stick” strategy might not meet the CCP’s expectations, as Taiwanese voters are accustomed to such approaches before elections, Kung said.

Given the downturn in China’s economy, investment incentives might not yield anticipated results, he said.


Source: Taipei Times - 2023/12/02



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Newsflash


Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday protest against the Anti-infiltration Act, while Democratic Progressive Party legislators hold signs instructing their colleagues to vote in favor of the bill.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus, which has a majority in the Legislative Yuan, yesterday passed a third reading of the Anti-infiltration Act (反滲透法) to outlaw interference in elections on the instructions or with the funding of an “infiltration source.”