World China Nationalists Mock Government Inaction Over U.S. Senators' Taiwan Visit
China Tells U.S. To 'Behave' After Top Taiwan Official Chides Country
Brent Christensen, who heads the American Institute in Taiwan, reaffirmed Washington's firm backing of Taiwan's leadership during an interview with Taipei newspaper 'Apple Daily.'Brent Christensen, the outgoing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), criticized China's multifaceted diplomatic, economic and military pressure against Taiwan during an interview given to Apple Daily on June 1.
's largest social media platform is being overrun with nationalistic sentiment this week as a deluge of online comments mock the Chinese government's familiar rhetoric and tepid response following Sunday's visit to by three U.S. senators.
, which boasts more than half a billion active monthly users, has become the breeding ground for an "especially toxic variant" of jingoism, which has left elements of the Chinese public with "high expectations" when it comes to Taiwan, one analyst told Newsweek.
'Prepare for War,' China Military Warns in New Propaganda Poster for Taiwan
The People's Liberation Army has released images from a series of military exercises this week, following the high-profile visit to Taiwan by three U.S. senators on Sunday.Articles published by the information arm of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) 80th Group Army carried stark warnings for "splittists" and a poster reading "prepare for war." The campaign material was widely shared on Wednesday by users on China's popular social media services Weibo and WeChat.
China's state-owned media outletswhen senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Chris Coons (D-DE) made a brief stop at Songshan Airport in the Taiwanese capital to announce the Biden administration's intention to donate 750,000 U.S-made vaccines to the island.
Chinese commentators, including the prominent Global Times chief editor Hu Xijin, appeared particularly aggrieved by the lawmakers' having been ferried to and from Taipei in a conspicuousC-17 Globemaster III. It marked the first time in over four decades an American military aircraft had openly landed in Taiwan—an apparent red line that, once crossed, would naturally require a display of Chinese resolve for its wantaway territory.
China Outraged After Japanese PM Calls Taiwan 'Country'
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga mentioned Taiwan in Japan's legislature when discussing different countries' responses to their respective COVID-19 outbreaks on Wednesday.Yoshihide Suga, who leads the Liberal Democratic Party, made the remarks while attending his first face-to-face with opposition leaders in Japan's legislature. He listed Taiwan next to Australia and New Zealand as countries that had taken stricter measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Instead, indignant social media users have found themselves criticizing a seemingly tame response from the Chinese government, following what they perceived as a historic change in the U.S.-Taiwan security relationship.
A Global Times Weibo post carrying awas overwhelmed on Monday by comments ridiculing Beijing's "strong opposition" and its filing of a diplomatic protest with Washington.
There was even the faintest hint of dissatisfaction with Chinese President, under whose leadership the country's foreign policy has become more assertive, leading to a brand of government-level known as "Wolf Warrior" diplomacy.
Trump Administration Sought Even Closer Taiwan Ties, Wanted Japan to Do More on China
"I actually think you can do everything you can to drive the Japanese to the right placewe ought to absolutely do more with Taiwan. We tried to do that we made some progress. We didn't get all the way home for sure there's an awful lot of space left to there," ex-State Secretary Mike Pompeo said.Speaking during a virtual seminar hosted Tuesday by the Nixon Foundation on the topic of the U.S.-Japan alliance, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed at length how he and other U.S. officials "tried to encourage the nations in the region to work alongside of us to defend the West against the threat from the Chinese Communist Party.
"It looks like [China] has no bottom line," one Weibo user wrote. "Stop these verbal protests—show me some action," another said.
"No bottom line, yet [he] wants a third term. [He's] going to have a hard time," a third commenter added in an apparent reference to.
A fourth person wrote: "It looks like Taiwan will never be unified."
Video: U.S.-China relations moving into a 'permanent state' of tension: Expert (CNBC)
Similar comments were found under a statement by China's defense ministry on Tuesday, despite the usual.
"I'm tired of listening to this," a user wrote, before a second added: "I laughed reading this. I know [these words] by heart."
"Where exactly is the bottom line and where is the red line? You said a military aircraft landing in Taiwan would constitute crossing a red line, so what now?" another user said.
A fourth added: "Thecan land in Taiwan but the cannot, so whose territory and whose internal affairs is it?"
Hu, the Global Times editor-in-chief, was also among those heavily criticized for the Chinese government's perceived inaction. Weibo netizens reposted an editorial he wrote last August, in which he warned that an American military aircraft arriving in Taiwan would signal the start of a Taiwan Strait conflict.
China Warplanes Swarm Around Taiwan After G7, NATO Talk up Threat
President Joe Biden attended G7 and NATO summits where leaders voiced concerns over Chinese policies in numerous sectors.Radio intercepts sent to Newsweek included at least 17 airborne warnings aimed at People's Liberation Army (PLA) warplanes. The warnings were broadcast by Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) radio operators between 5:48 a.m. and 10:43 a.m. local time, but the precise number of intruding aircraft remains unclear.
Having already escalated the newspaper's hawkish rhetoric over the past year, Hu appeared to back down on Sunday, saying: "China controls when and how it loses its temper. The Taiwan authorities can only wait and see."
Sense Hofstede, a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, said the phenomenon on Weibo "is the consequence of Beijing having nurtured Chinese nationalism into an especially toxic variant."
Liberal views and those critical of the leadership "are expunged," leaving behind a "hostile environment," Hofstede told Newsweek on Wednesday.
"Chinese nationalism is aggrieved ethnonationalism. It is a combination of belief in one's superiority and belief in one's victimhood. China is morally good and supposed to be dominant, but has been betrayed by foreign imperialists and traitors and weaklings in its midst. Given that Taiwanese are claimed to be Chinese in this story, that means they are extra contemptible," he explained.
According to Hofstede's analysis, the Chinese government has created "high expectations when it comes to Taiwan." "By ideological necessity, pronouncements by the state cannot admit the real situation of Taiwanese public opinion, have to exude confidence in the eventual settlement and historical trend, and threaten punishment."
Taiwan, the world's chipmaking factory and home of TSMC, is battling Covid and the climate crisis
Taiwanese officials are fretting about whether a severe outbreak of Covid-19 could jeopardize the island's critical role in the global semiconductor supply chain. But there's another threat to the industry that experts worry may have even more drastic consequences: the climate crisis. © Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg/Getty Images Dried reservoir bed at the Second Baoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Chip plants in Taiwan called in water trucks earlier this year to ensure supply during a drought caused by the absence of monsoon rains. Photographer: Billy H.C.
However, he cautioned against attaching too much significance to online sentiment in China.
"Nationalists have taken over Weibo, driving out even more people. Most Chinese people do think that Taiwan is part of China, but may not support the aggressive and bellicose nationalism that the Global Times and angry extremists push," Hofstede said.
The analyst noted Beijing did not need to wield its military in order to placate the Chinese public, at least not in the short term before Xi's expected re-election next year.
China Shows Off Army, Navy Landing Capabilities After U.S. Senators Visit Taiwan .
The military exercise, which took place on an unspecified date, was released on Monday following the whirlwind visit to Taipei by three sitting U.S. senators.The People's Liberation Army (PLA) drill took place at an unspecified time and place off the coast of Fujian province in southeastern China, according to separate reports published Monday by the PLA's Eastern Theater Command and China's state broadcaster CCTV.