As U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday evening local time, brushing aside stark, repeated warnings from China that her high-profile diplomatic visit could compel Beijing to take targeted military actions, strong reactions erupted on the Chinese social media site Weibo, where shock, rage, and calls for countermeasures echoed.
The core thing that I take away from Pelosi’s visit is that it was ultimately about U.S. domestic politics and P.R.C. domestic politics, and Taiwan was the pawn caught in the middle. Initially, Pelosi’s goal was almost certainly to do a little cheerleading for Taiwan, show that the U.S. cares about it, that we’re paying attention, and that it’s an important friend and partner—that kind of thing.
Whether or not Pelosi eventually makes it to Taipei, almost all agree that tensions across the Taiwan Strait haven't been this high since 1996. Today, GRR is privileged to publish a translation of an article titled 台海问题可能正在变成一个“灰犀牛” "The Taiwan question may be turning into a 'gray rhino' event" by popular Chinese blogger 兔主席 Chairman Rabbit [links to his Twitter].
The article was originally posted on Chairman Rabbit's WeChat blog in Chinese on July 30 and has been viewed more than 100,000 times within 24 hours. In his article, the author explained how the Taiwan question is being turned into a “gray rhino” event, a predictable event that has a high probability of occurrence, and how key upcoming events -- including the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the U.S. midterm elections in 2022, the election of Taiwan region in January 2024 and the U.S. presidential election in November 2024 -- will shape the political landscape across the Taiwan Strait as well as across the Pacific between China and U.S. (that is of course to assume no major military conflicts would break out between the world’s two largest economies and militaries before 2024).
I read that some Western military experts specializing in China, including the US ones, said that China's countermeasures were much stronger than those of the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. And what China did this time is equal to creating a military blockade and basically cutting Taiwan off. I would like to point out that China does not lack the ability to do "reunification by force". But it is a matter of national reunification after all, and being rational is more important than being emotional, as we strive to achieve the larger goal of national reunification at a minimal cost….
In general, the US leaders are chaotic. Indeed, China doesn't care about the motive behind the visit, it focuses solely on the result. Pelosi's visit is a poor display of the No. 3 U.S. political figure trespassing China's bottom line.
Many researchers and professionals in the U.S. think tank believe that Pelosi's Taiwan trip is "bad timing." Biden also said that the U.S. military believes the visit is "not a good idea". Why would she provoke a major country for no reason? This is what selfish politicians do when self-interests lead them by the nose. It symbolizes the fall of U.S. political wisdom, not U.S. toughness.
Not only the United States, but even members of the House of Commons in the UK have swooped in to play the "Taiwan card". It is really strange that they jump out to "protect Taiwan's democracy" when their own democracy is faltering. The populism of the U.S. and Britain has penetrated into the elite politics and the political system has become very sick. It is sad that these old "beacons of democracy" are always dumping their problems on the outside world.
The Taiwanese media are all in a tizzy, asking each other, “Who invited Nancy Pelosi? After all, Taiwan isn’t some American offshore possession that Nancy can come and go as she pleases.”
To paraphrase one of the commentators, “Doesn’t she understand that we can’t stand the excitement and tension of her visit?”
He added, “Most people of Taiwan like the relations with mainland China just the way they are. Peaceful, stable, quiet, and we sell a lot of our stuff across the Taiwan Strait, to the tune of more than US$100 billion in surplus every year.”
Some say that you are planning to visit Taiwan to encourage the Taipei government to start a fight with the mainland.
The people of Taiwan have seen how the US has been helping Ukraine in its fight with Russia, and they don’t want any part of that setup.
I have misgivings about some of my country’s policies. And I recognize that some criticisms of my government’s policies are justified. But Americans must also recognize that U.S. behavior is hardly setting a good example.
The shift in Chinese attitudes wasn’t a given. But when U.S.-led NATO forces mistakenly bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1999 during the Kosovo war, our idolizing of America began to wane. Three people were killed in that attack, and 20 were wounded. Two years later, a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet collided in the South China Sea, leaving a Chinese pilot dead. These incidents may have seemed relatively minor to Americans, but they shocked us. We had largely avoided foreign wars and were not used to our citizens dying in conflicts involving other countries. The shift in perception gained pace as the 2000s unfolded and more Chinese had televisions. We watched as the carnage of America’s disastrous involvement in Iraq, launched in 2003 on false pretenses, was beamed into our homes.
In 2008, China had to defend itself against the consequences of American greed when the U.S. subprime lending fiasco touched off the global financial crisis. China was forced to create a huge stimulus package, but our economy still suffered great damage. Millions of Chinese lost their jobs.
Following his predecessors, President Barack Obama announced a string of weapon sales to Taiwan and embarked on his so-called pivot to Asia, which we regarded as an attempt to rally our Asian neighbors against us. President Donald Trump declared a destructive trade war against us, and Chinese citizens were as shocked as anyone when a pro-Trump mob stormed the citadel of American democracy on Jan. 6, 2021. The visit to Taiwan last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has only further disappointed many Chinese, who saw it as a violation of U.S. commitments on Taiwan.