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    China Goes Ballistic Over Taiwan

    Hong Kong: The paranoid Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its authoritarian Chairman Xi Jinping reacted furiously to the historic Taiwan visit of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) shuffled naval and air assets, and angrily fired ballistic missiles and rockets into the sea to vent its wrath. Taiwan recalled its armed forces, putting them on alert soon after they had completed annual Han Kuang war games. Some are already calling this the “Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis”. Notably, at least four ballistic missiles flew over or past northern Taiwan. The authorities did not sound air raid warnings, though the populace was expecting such an eventuality. One Taiwanese citizen told ANI that he was worried. “China has never been that aggressive before. After they taste blood, they sure would like to know what the meat tastes like,” he fretted.

    He added, “There’s a bit of tension. Also, TV programs and the news are running the topic all day long.” Nonetheless, he said, “For average people, life is moving on.”

    Taiwanese netizens remained defiant, and some went so far as to claim that any imagery revealed by China was fake. Most Chinese would never have heard of the American politician before, but the name “Pelosi” has now become a sensitive topic in China.

    Such was the alarm that owners of the Pelosi Italian fashion outlet in China were covering up the shop name to prevent becoming a target of protestors. Those Chinese netizens calling for calm tended to be drowned out by the nationalistic fervor.

    Indeed, the following comment can be viewed as a moderate voice: “China has been a wise country since ancient times, and attacking Taiwan without sending any troops is the correct choice … In short, Chinese should not question the decisions made by the government. Our aim was never war, but the reunification of the motherland. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is not the end, but the beginning.”

    Another began calmly but then advocated unquestioning fealty to the CCP: “All Chinese people want to start a war, but nobody is talking about the consequences of fighting a war. Our government is not an incompetent one. It’s a government with a clean mind. We should trust them. If it tells the country to start a war, then fight; if not to fight, then defend.” One China Daily, one reader enthused, “We witnessed the return of Hong Kong, the return of Macau. We too will witness the reunification of Taiwan.”

    Yet social media brings out the worst too. One photo circulating online showed a Chinese car that had sign-written on the back this offensive comment: “Recover Taiwan. Gang rape Tsai Ing-wen.” Other misogynist comments against Taiwanese women were common. This kind of nationalistic hubris is rampant in China, with Xi and the CCP firing up people with undiluted visions of Chinese supremacy.

    Chinese officials were little better. What about the Chinese Ambassador to France, for instance? Lu Shaye discussed CCP plans for Taiwan after “reunification” (i.e. military conquest). Lu declared that re-education programs would be necessary for the “effectively indoctrinated and intoxicated” Taiwanese public. He added, “It must be re-educated to eliminate separatist thought and secessionist theory”.

    The CCP is already busy formulating a Taiwanese version of “one country, two systems”, drawing lessons from Hong Kong’s subjugation. China’s military reaction to Pelosi’s overnight stay in Taiwan was robust yet calculated. The scale and extent of the joint exercise was greater than hitherto seen, and it was controlled by the Eastern Theater Command of the PLA. This is one of the military’s five commands, and the one responsible for the theafter facing Taiwan.

    The Chinese exercise kicked off on 4 August, with the Eastern Theater Command specifying seven exclusion zones surrounding Taiwan as restricted areas for ships, aircraft and missiles to execute live firing. These zones pretty much encircled the island nation, but at the same time they revealed the key areas where China might intimidate and blockade Taiwan again in the future. PLA actions, as outlined below, telegraphed China’s operational approach to isolating Taiwan.

    The PLA exercise echoed an “invasion” scenario, and four distinct phases were discernible. In one sense, while this was worrisome to Taiwan, it could prove a treasure trove for the Taiwanese, Japanese and American militaries, since it exposed what PLA strategy and tactics might be in a real shooting war.

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