Takshashila Strategic Assessment: PRC’s Influence on Taiwan’s Polity: Instruments & Efficacy

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Executive Summary

Chinese President Xi Jinping has termed the “reunification” of Taiwan with the PRC as “a historic task” that is vital to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. For the Communist Party of China, this is a core interest, underscored by the One-China Principle, that goes to the heart of the legitimacy of its rule.

In pursuit of this goal, the PRC uses a number of instruments of statecraft to influence public discourse and political outcomes in Taiwan. This paper delineates these instruments and enumerates how the PRC uses them.

We identify six broad instruments:

  1. Economic Coercion

  2. Shows of Military Force

  3. Soft Power and Information Campaigns

  4. Cyber Warfare

  5. Diplomatic Isolation

  6. Corruption and Espionage

The final section discusses the efficacy of the PRC’s approach in achieving its stated objective. This is done using public polling data along with the changes in Taiwanese economic and cybersecurity policies and legal frameworks regarding foreign interference and misinformation.

Based on the evidence, we argue that the PRC’s recent attempts to influence Taiwanese policy, democratic processes and public opinion have not had the desired effect.

TSA-PRCs Influence on Taiwans Polity-SM-MK-2020-01

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