Small changes in the wording of China’s annual work report could spell big trouble for millions in the island state of Taiwan.
The first annual work report since President Xi Jinping took power that omits the words ‘peaceful reunification’ regarding relations with their neighbor and rival.
Premier Le Keqiang’s report hinted a different approach for China stating:
China will adhere to the major principles and policies on work related Taiwan and resolutely oppose and deter any separatist activities seeking ‘Taiwan independence’.”
We will improve institutional arrangements, policies and measures to encourage exchanges and cooperation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, further cross-strait integrated development, and protect the wellbeing of our compatriots in Taiwan. We will encourage them to join us in opposing ‘Taiwan independence’ and promoting China’s reunification.”
The last sentence significantly leaves out the two words and finished instead with “with these efforts, we can surely create a beautiful future for the rejuvenation of China.”
The change in the language has been interpreted by international media outlets “as an apparent policy shift” (Reuteurs) and “a sign that it is taking a tougher tack” (Wall Street Journal). China itself has followed up through state media, stating “Taiwan Separatists and foreign forces” have “become panicked and nervous”.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has committed to support Hong Kong in its continued protests against Chinese tyranny, saying it would offer “necessary assistance” following the latest clashes. China in turn, accused activists in both Taiwan and Hong Kong of colluding in a plot for independence.