Think China Can Take Taiwan Easily? Think Again

(MENAFN- Asia Times) “All forms of media is [sic] propaganda, we're just more honest about it.” So declares the social media profile of
Zhao DaShuai , a member of the
People's Armed Police
Propaganda Bureau.

Chinese strategy is often characterized by its
reliance on deception , but like so many authoritarian regimes, the Chinese Communist Party often says exactly what it's doing and why it's doing it.

It is through this lens of
political warfare
that China watchers should analyze the People's Liberation Army's“punishment exercises” around Taiwan, collectively referred to as Joint Sword 2024A. Billed by Beijing as a response to the
inaugural address
of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on May 20, these exercises positioned Chinese air and naval assets in areas around Taiwan that would allow Beijing to isolate or impose a blockade on the island.

These exercises were accompanied by a propaganda
video , produced by China's Eastern Theater Command, that showed an overwhelming volley of rockets striking targets in Taiwan. Slogans pronounced during the video state the intention of these strikes:“Destroy the pillar of Taiwanese independence! Strike the base camp of Taiwanese independence! Cut off the blood flow of Taiwanese independence!”

Viewing this in concert with China's sustained
pressure campaign
against Taiwan, an acceleration of
Chinese shipbuilding
that increasingly dwarfs Western naval production and a growing Chinese
missile inventory
with increasing threat ranges, one can easily see a bleak picture of Chinese invincibility. The message is clear: It is futile to resist a Chinese military seizure of Taiwan.

US allies and partners who consider defending Taiwan may question the feasibility and value of intervening against such a powerful foe as China. And Taiwanese policymakers and voters may be intimidated by the giant whose fist overshadows their entire island nation. If resistance is futile, then reducing the pain of a future unification could be the smarter choice for Taiwan and the world.

This impression is exactly the effect that China seeks – a cognitive fait accompli. China wants the world to believe that it has already decisively won and that no one can do anything about it.

Looking past the propaganda, China's real military strength – while dangerous – is less impressive and more brittle than Beijing would have the world believe. Nevertheless, China's influence campaign could be effective if it reinforces what China watchers may already tend to believe.

For example, the Associated Press has
accidentally used
a doctored photo from Chinese state media of PLA military exercises. The narrative filters out from there. Many newspapers, television, social media, and academia now all tell the same tale of Chinese overmatch. In short: It has all the
doctrinal hallmarks
of effective deception.


Asia Times

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