China tries to ‘divide and rule’ Taiwan by befriending pro-Beijing towns

Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (C) arrives at the airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, for her first trip to China, where she is expected to meet China's President Xi Jinping, October 30, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (C) arrives at the airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, for her first trip to China, where she is expected to meet China’s President Xi Jinping, October 30, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

By J.R. Wu | TAIPEI Sun Oct 30, 2016 | 5:59am EDT

China is embarking on a divide-and-rule campaign on self-ruled Taiwan, offering to boost tourism to pro-Beijing towns and counties while giving the new pro-independence government the cold shoulder, government officials and politicians say.

Whether Beijing’s promises materialize remains to be seen, but the political rift is pressing Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to come up with measures of its own to counter an alarming decline in mainland tourists.

Eight Taiwanese local government officials, mainly representing counties controlled by the China-friendly opposition Nationalist Party, were promised greater tourism and agricultural ties when they met China’s top Taiwan policymaker in Beijing last month.
And this week, Communist Party Chief and Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet Nationalist Party chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu when she visits Beijing during an annual party-to-party gathering about economic and cultural ties.

In contrast, Beijing has withheld official communication with the government of DPP leader and President Tsai Ing-wen, until it agrees to recognize the “one-China” policy.

“The Chinese government has put political conditions relevant to Taiwan surrendering our sovereignty and our right to determine our own future on the outflow of tourists to Taiwan and that’s what makes this a very politically complicated issue,” said Hsiao Bi-khim, a DPP lawmaker for Hualien, on Taiwan’s east coast.

Hsiao and the Hualien county chief, an ex-Nationalist who went to Beijing last month, do not see eye to eye on tourism development.

“We have to condemn this divide-and-conquer strategy and also individual politicians who seek to play into the Chinese divide-and-conquer strategy,” Hsiao said.


China says Taiwan is part of one China, ruled by Beijing. It regards the island as a renegade province, to be united by force if necessary, and ties have become strained since Tsai took office in May.

The previous Nationalist administration agreed to recognize the “1992 consensus”, which states that there is only one China, with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.

The eight officials who went to Beijing came home to a storm of criticism for being lackeys to Beijing’s one-China policy.

One of them, Liu Tseng-ying, chief of Matsu, a group of small islets off China’s Fujian province but held by Taiwan, told Chinese officials that he wanted more Chinese to visit Taiwan’s smallest county.

“I said I hoped Chinese tourists can increase to 40 percent of the total,” Liu told Reuters.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office head Zhang Zhijun agreed to expand trade and travel specifically between China’s Fujian province and Matsu and Kinmen. Both Taiwan-controlled islands lie closer to China than Taiwan.

Group tourists from mainland China, which Beijing can effectively control via state-run Chinese travel agencies, fell 71 percent year-on-year from October 1-18, Taiwan data showed, coinciding with China’s National Day holiday, a Golden Week for travel for Chinese.

The sector was also hit by a bus fire in Taiwan in July that killed 24 mainland tourists. The driver, among the victims, had poured petrol inside the bus and locked its emergency exits before setting it alight, prosecutors said.

The severity of the decline in tourism led to a major protest in September and prompted the government to pledge T$30 billion ($960 million) in loans to the industry and work on attracting tourists from other Asian countries.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Ryan Woo and Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “China tries to ‘divide and rule’ Taiwan by befriending pro-Beijing towns”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


5 Comments on “China tries to ‘divide and rule’ Taiwan by befriending pro-Beijing towns”

  1. Jane says:

    The DPP keeps talking about “Taiwan’s sovereignty.”

    China is a unitary state, like France. It is not a federal state, like Germany or the United States. Provinces do not have any sovereignty of their own. Sovereignty rests with the central government of China, whether you believe that is the Republic of China or the People’s Republic of Chiba.

    For example, Jinmen and Mazu are not part of Taiwan Province. They are administered by the government of Fujian Province in the Republic of China, just like Fuzhou is administered by the government of Fujian Province in the People’s Republic of China.

    The DPP talks about Taiwan’s sovereignty while continuing to claim Jinmen and Mazu. This is a logical contradiction. If they claim those islands, then they are acknowledging that sovereignty rests with the ROC. If they claim Taiwan as sovereign, then those islands do not belong to Taiwan.


  2. Steve says:

    Taiwan Government officials said, China tries to Divide and Rule Taiwan by befriending pro Beijing townships..? I find this statement really strange by the DPP.

    Is it Not the policy of the DPP to DIVIDE the One China Policy and RULE Taiwan independently as a sovereign country.?

    Maybe the only setback preventing a military unification are problems surrounding the ECS and SCS. As soon as the SCS farce is subdued, Tsai and her DPP has to be extra careful of Beijing’s next move.


  3. johnleecan says:

    “Group tourists from mainland China, which Beijing can effectively control via state-run Chinese travel agencies” – this statement is an outright lie by Ben Blanchard and Reuters. He should be arrested for endangering national security.

    If the statement is true, countries like Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines among others would see a marked decline of Chinese tourists but this is not the case.

    Mainlanders should not only not visit and not do business with Taiwan but also Hong Kong. During the British occupation of Hong Kong, did Hongkongers have the right to vote? There are so many restrictions placed by the British. Yet they(Hongkongers) love being in their company. What a disgusting group of people!


  4. Fre Okin says:

    Great job China! Hit DPP with financial surgical strikes, encouraging Chinese tourists to go where people are friendly to her and avoid DPP areas, particularly Southern Taiwan. Wait out a year or more to put pressure on Tsai. Let her misguided China policy explode in her face. If Chinese tourists are to go back to Taiwan again, they should only go to the Northern areas and don’t give one cent to DPP strongholds in the South.