Beijing this week unveiled a plan to further integrate Taiwan into a coastal province in China. This appears to be a plan to take control of the island in order to “fully reunite” the two nations.

“Resolving the Taiwan issue and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland is the steadfast historical task of the Communist Party of China,” said the plan of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council. “Fujian occupies a unique position and role in Taiwan’s overall situation.”

Beijing intends to use Fujian province as a “demonstration zone” for further integration with Taiwan, the plan says.

According to the state Global times“The document is tantamount to setting out Taiwan’s future development plan.”

The plan, aimed at strengthening economic and social ties between Fujian province and Taiwan, encourages Taiwanese firms to list on Chinese stock exchanges to “participate in the development of the mainland’s financial market” and outlines plans to make it more Taiwanese To make it easier for workers and working families to live and work in Fujian.

Taiwanese students will be able to enroll in schools in Fujian, and the plan will encourage people in Taiwan to purchase property in the province. The plan also proposes improving access to “institutional guarantees” and social assistance programs for Taiwanese, including those related to employment, medical care and elder care.

The plan also calls for exploring joint electricity and gas projects between Xiamen, a port city in Fujian, and Kinmen, an offshore island of Taiwan. According to the plan text, water, electricity, gas and bridge projects between Fuzhou, the largest city in Fujian province, and Matsu, another island under Taiwan’s jurisdiction, are also part of the plan. Beijing also wants to “intensify” passenger and cargo routes between Fujian and Taiwan.

The diktat is just the latest economic and cultural component Beijing has added to its oeuvre to force closer ties with Taiwan as China pushes for “reunification” more broadly, even though Taipei has objected to China’s claims of sovereignty over the island for years .

Good cop, bad cop

The vision represents what China likely sees as a carrot or reward for Taiwan in exchange for cooperation with Beijing’s reunification goals, said Timothy Heath, who previously worked for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and as a Chinese naval analyst for the Office of Naval Intelligence.

“China sees this plan as an incentive and a way to lay the groundwork for possible unification,” Heath, now a senior international defense researcher at RAND, told The Daily Beast. “That’s their hope.”

The plan also suggests that Taiwan and Fujian should establish joint cooperation in agriculture, fashion, scientific innovation, cultural exchanges and sports exchanges for the youth population – particularly baseball and softball.

Beijing is calling on creatives in Taiwan and Fujian to work together to create fashion brands with “national characteristics” and urging producers to jointly develop films and television to “promote integrated development in the cultural field.” They should “jointly promote Chinese culture and promote the protection, heritage, innovation and development of China’s excellent traditional culture,” the plan said.

The so-called blueprint states that all of these programs should pay attention to “maintaining and strengthening the overall leadership of the party.”

“It is a cover to attract and seduce our people.”

And while the plan aims to paint a picture of reunification without military action, China has become increasingly aggressive and coercive toward Taiwan in recent months. Just this week, China sent the largest number of warships in years into waters near Taiwan, an intimidation tactic that may be aimed at highlighting the contrast between seemingly peaceful “reunification” and military advances.

As part of what appeared to be a massive exercise, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) earlier this week sent a carrier strike group led by the aircraft carrier Shandong near Taiwan’s south with dozens of accompanying fighter jets. Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense On Wednesday, 35 fighter jets were discovered, 28 of which crossed the center line between China and Taiwan. Taipei said it was forced to prepare fighter jets, naval vessels and land-based missile systems for a response.

Since then, that number has only increased. According to the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, 68 People’s Liberation Army aircraft and 10 People’s Liberation Army naval vessels were spotted around Taiwan on Thursday. China’s air force entered Taiwan’s southwest or southeast air defense zone on Thursday.

The Shandong “undoubtedly represents a new threat,” Taiwan General Huang Wen-chi said on Tuesday. Taipei warned China not to increase its military pressure against Taiwan in the coming days.

The “plan” for integration with Taiwan comes just months after US officials warned that China was preparing to invade Taiwan by 2027, according to US intelligence.

The plan attempts to lure Taiwan “into surrender,” Su Tzu-yun, an analyst at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told The Daily Beast.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) practices old wine in new bottles. The two-handed strategy has been practiced since the time of the Chinese Civil War,” Su said. “The current ‘use of emotions to promote integration’ and so on are all the same old tricks.”

Reception of the plan in Taiwan was less than enthusiastic.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which manages Taipei’s policy toward China, called the plan “completely wishful thinking” and accused Beijing of trying to use Taiwanese companies to boost its economy.

It was “a pretext to attract and entice our people and companies to go to the mainland and integrate into its systems, regulations and norms to accept the leadership of the Communist Party,” the council said. “This is clearly an attempt to attract Taiwanese money and talent to mainland China to stimulate its economy.”

Wang Ting-yu, a Taiwanese lawmaker, said the plan was “ridiculous,” according to CNN.

Beijing has been working to “integrate” Taiwan through economic plans like these for years, without significantly affecting Taiwanese sentiment toward “reunification” with China.

In 2018, for example, Beijing announced its so-called 31-Taiwan Preference Policy, which denounced Taiwan as measures that “favored Taiwan in name but in reality served mainland interests.” Taiwanese businessmen reported that they had received little benefit from the economic programs. Calls for “equal treatment” of Taiwanese in China failed and economic integration measures were ultimately veiled attempts to weaken Taiwan’s sovereignty, according to Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council.

The presidential office accused Beijing of adopting the measures as a means of interfering in the elections at the time.

Shot in the dark

Surveys have shown that such integration programs in the past appear to have done little to persuade Taiwanese to support reunification with China.

According to Heath, if history is anything to go by, the likelihood that China’s latest plan to integrate Fujian and Taiwan will work now is slim.

“There’s very good reason to be skeptical that it will work,” Heath said, adding that it appears to be “a rehash or reworked version of what they’ve already tried with very little success.”

“Economic integration as a means of unification has been attempted since the 1990s. Taiwan’s economy is heavily dependent on China and is fully integrated in many respects. They trade with each other quite a bit and many Taiwanese companies already have factories on the mainland to take advantage of cheap labor,” Heath said. “But this economic integration has not generated political support for unification. On the contrary, it coincided with a growing rejection of unification.”

And while Taiwan has rejected calls for unification, Beijing may have released the Fujian-Taiwan integration plan to convince some Taiwanese of China’s view of integration ahead of Taiwan’s presidential election.

Beijing released the plan just months before Taiwan’s elections in January. The ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has typically been more reluctant to establish economic ties with Beijing than the Kuomintang (KMT), which has historically been more open to strengthening ties with Beijing.

Part of the plan could be aimed at winning over those more positive about building business ties with China – and influencing their decision-making in the coming months.

“There is a message about Fujian province,” Heath said. “The Communist Party is saying this to the people who have money and influence in Taiwan: We are willing to work with you and give you the opportunity to become truly rich and successful.” But that means you have to work with us . “You must cooperate with the Communist Party authorities and listen to us when we say we want you to exert influence over the government of Taiwan.”

Taiwan’s representative to the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim, said Taiwan would work to fend off any efforts by Beijing to influence the vote in recent days.

“We are trying to strengthen our democracy, build a more resilient democracy so that we are less vulnerable to outside interference and intervention,” Hsiao said, according to the Central News Agency of Taiwan. “And ultimately, the people of Taiwan will decide how our elections go. We will not allow the People’s Republic of China to force us to make such decisions.”

Some Taiwanese residents are already seeing China’s attempts to win them over.

Terry Hung, who works in the pharmaceutical sector, said in an interview with that the plan was “very risky.” The guard.

“I don’t want to invest in real estate in a communist country and share my property with this government. I don’t want to work in an autocratic country because human rights and labor rights are all controlled by the government,” he said. “If one day your opinion does not agree with the government’s stance, you will face arrest or imprisonment.”

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