Does a Beijing commonwealth loom?

By Joe hung

Professor Lin Chong-pin (林中斌), who once served as President Chen Shui-bian’s deputy defense minister, said in an exclusive interview with the Chinese Communist Party organ Global Times last Tuesday that the possibility of Taiwan’s unification with China does “absolutely” exist. He attributed the rise of public opinion in China for Chinese reunification by force to the increasingly hard pressure brought by hardcore Taiwanese independence supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to bear on President Tsai Ing-wen, whom they regard not as “one of us.”

As a result, Dr. Lin, a one-time assistant to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick, concluded that the peaceful unification of both sides of the Taiwan Strait will come thanks to President Tsai losing popular support and because the United States will be compelled to decline assistance to Taiwan in the event of an attack. He also pointed out that most of the middle-of-the road types are so dissatisfied with President Tsai’s DPP government as to believe “it may be better to be unified with China,” though they are not openly advocating it. These people voted in Tsai in January last year, convinced that it would be better to have the then opposition party come back to power. They did so in 2008 to dump President Chen’s DPP. According to a recent Duke University poll, 70 to 80 percent of these young “born independentistas” support independence — on the condition that the United States comes to their homeland’s rescue. But if no American help comes, support drops to a mere 20 percent.

Lin also predicted that the People’s Republic of China could easily achieve Chinese reunification “bloodlessly” in a matter of hours through a “war of acupuncture,” in which the People’s Liberation Army does not have to wash Taiwan with blood. All it has to do is to fight a website war, electronics war as well as electromagnetic pulse war to destroy Taiwan’s wartime system of command. This however would rely on a secret collusion from within Taiwan. It would take 48 or 72 hours to make Taiwan defenseless, he said.

But Professor Lin predicted that Beijing won’t resort to war to accomplish reunification. The reason is that the “century of China” would last only 100 years, if the reunification is accomplished by force, but will continue for 200 to 300 years if done through peaceful means. Oswald Spengler prophesized in his two-volume “The Decline of the West” published in 1898, that the 21st century belongs to China.

Nobody thinks Chinese unification will come in 2020, as is now being bandied about among political commentators. But come it will sooner or later, as Professor Lin is so sure, much like the British Empire evolved into the Commonwealth.