China’s apparent ‘divide and rule’ policy would only further turn off Taiwanese voters.
Beijing’s approach to post-election Taiwan looks utterly unimaginative. It has reverted from quasi-governmental contacts to party-to-party communication, in essence the state of affairs between 2005 and 2008. Take last weekend’s visit of eight representatives of Taiwanese municipalities, led by the Kuomintang, to Beijing, where they met Taiwan Affairs Office director Zhang Zhijun.
In recent months, Beijing has allegedly cut the number of tourists visiting Taiwan and put a hold on high-level negotiations. Both measures are ostensibly intended to “punish” the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for its refusal to accept the “1992 consensus”, which in Beijing’s parlance means that Taiwan is part of “One China”.
Not surprisingly, tourism was one of the benefits promised to the visiting delegation. Sending a signal that only areas with a “friendly attitude” would benefit from future exchanges is making Beijing no new friends. It also goes against the line pushed by proponents of cross-strait tourism since its inception eight years ago: the grand idea that tourism was to bring people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait closer together.
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