Wolves in wolf skin
Senior Vice President, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA, Warsaw and Washington)
The Chinese Communist Party seeks to control our words and thoughts. This is evidenced by the reaction to my article about Chinese pressure on Lithuania to strengthen ties with Taiwan.
My column was reprinted by the leading Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. According to the Chinese embassy in Stockholm, my writing not only “contradicts the facts” and is based on “false conclusions and prejudices,” but also “seriously violates the norms of international relations and the principles of the Swedish government’s foreign policy.”
The embassy seems to have confused Stockholm with Pyongyang. Svenska Dagbladet may (and does) print columns that do not comply with Swedish foreign policy. In a free society, the media operate independently of the government.
Consider in more detail.
Proposition № 1:
“There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an integral part of China.”
“One China” is fine. Theoretically, both sides agree: in the end, Taiwan’s official name remains “Republic of China”, as its roots go back to the nationalist regime overthrown by Mao’s communist forces in 1948.
However, the argument that Taiwan is “an integral part of China” is nonsense. The Chinese Empire ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895. Most importantly, the Taiwanese do not want Beijing’s rule. They see how the “one country, two systems” principle has worked in Hong Kong. But mainland China ignores wishes. So, let’s start editing the embassy letter. It should have read: “Our bosses in Beijing want to control Taiwan, despite the legally contradictory claims and opposition of the Taiwanese people.”
Proposition № 2:
“The ‘one China’ principle is a red line that cannot be crossed.”
A mistake. The red line was crossed repeatedly. That is why China is complaining.
So let’s edit this part: “The one-China principle is extremely important to us, but foreigners find it ridiculous.”
Proposition № 3:
“The meaning of the ‘one China’ principle is clear and does not imply any distortions or misinterpretations.”
Not at all. Many countries, including most Western countries, have semi-official ties with Taiwan. Cooperation in the military and intelligence spheres is growing due to growing fears of mainland China’s aggression. Amendment: “The one-China principle is rather vague in practice.”
LITHUANIAN POLITICIANS SINCERELY BELIEVE IN FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW. THEY TALK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME. THEIR CONTEMPT FOR THE CHINESE DICTATORSHIP AND THEIR SUPPORT FOR FRIENDLY, LONG-SUFFERING TAIWAN IS FAR FROM FEIGNED. IT INSPIRES FOREIGNERS, AND CHINA IS ANNOYING
Proposition № 4:
“Support for the ‘one China’ policy means strict adherence to the ‘one China’ principle, in particular the severance of official cooperation (both demonstrative and secret) with the Taiwanese authorities.”
False: see above. The embassy moves here from facts to demands. Surprisingly, it seems to be confused as to what is worse: “demonstrative” or “secret” interaction.
The following statement probably sounds better in the original Chinese: “The Lithuanian side is trying to distort concepts and disguise its attack on the ‘one China’ principle by so-called protection of ‘principles and values’ in order to develop official ties with the Taiwanese authorities.” Such attempts do not deceive anyone. “
It seems that Lithuania is disguising its attack on the “one China” policy with eloquence. However, Lithuania does not hide its position at all. Lithuanian politicians sincerely believe in freedom, democracy and the rule of law. They talk about it all the time. Their contempt for the Chinese dictatorship and their support for friendly, long-suffering Taiwan is far from feigned. It inspires foreigners, and China is annoying. No one is fooled, except the Chinese rulers, who do not want to accept reality.
After the final nonsense, the embassy called on the Swedes to publish the letter. And they did.
However, a paradox arose here. When mainland China’s media is strictly forbidden to publish the arguments and arguments that (still) prevail in the free world, the Western media is ready to publish China’s derisive nonsense. Think about it, comrades.