Putin’s playbook, Taiwan protests, and China’s ambition

Manthorpe B&W
Jonathan Manthorpe

Beijing claims to own Taiwan and its 23 million people, writes international affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. Amid the student occupation of Taiwan’s parliament, it takes little imagination to construct a chain of events in which the students’ action cascades to a point where China’s leader, Xi Jinping, decides to emulate Russian President Vladmir Putin over Crimea — and press home China’s claim. Meanwhile the Western capitals, that profess to be driven by democratic impulses, have become disturbingly and dangerously inconsistent in their reactions to people power protests. An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column: 

At the moment, that is unlikely. But events in the human story have a habit of rushing downhill, gathering momentum as they go.

And a Chinese take-over of Taiwan would make Putin’s annexation of Crimea look like a tea party. Not only would Taiwanese resist, but Beijing’s acquisition of Taiwan would dramatically alter the strategic balance in Asia, to the alarm of Washington and all China’s neighbours, especially Japan.

The response by the United States and its allied democracies to “People Power” uprisings against established governments has become more and more confused and inconsistent since the first modern outbreak of this phenomenon in the Philippines in 1986….

Log in to read the column, Taiwan’s People Power protest is Beijing’s Crimea moment.  ($1 site day pass or subscription required*)

*Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, funded entirely by readers who buy a subscription or a $1 site day pass. We do not carry advertising or solicit donations from non-journalism foundations or causes.

Agence France-Presse posted a video of the Taiwan student protest: