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Andreas Fulda of the University of Nottingham tweeted: “A CCP led by Xi Jinping may set its eyes on Taiwan, the other bastion of liberal democracy. The CCP’s sharp power approach thus could be the spark which will set the entire region on fire. Five minutes to 12.”
The senior fellow at the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute spoke of how the Chinese Communist Party’s, CCP, “unwillingness to allow even gradual liberalisation and piecemeal democratization” will be its eventual tragedy.
Mr Fulda in his piece in Foreign Policy wrote: “We may witness Hong Kong becoming a new Northern Ireland, where the pro-democracy movement evolves into a protracted urban struggle against outside rule.”
“And with mounting fears of a political contagion from Hong Kong to the mainland, a CCP led by Xi Jinping may set its eyes on Taiwan, the other bastion of liberal democracy.
“The CCP’s sharp power approach thus could be the spark which will set the entire region on fire.”
China considers democracy an invasive weed that must be eradicated wherever it is found.
This antipathy towards freedom of expression, judicial independence, and the democratic process is manifested in the draconian new security law for Hong Kong, and the belligerent rhetoric constantly leveled at Taiwan.
A rhetoric laced with jealously that the island nation’s democracy is not just working, but thriving.
The academic envisions the possibility of “Hong Kong becoming a new Northern Ireland, where the pro-democracy movement evolves into a protracted urban struggle against outside rule”.
He describes Chinese president Xi Jinping’s most pressing fear being “a political contagion from Hong Kong to the mainland”.
Mr Fulda says he can see the CCP’s panic when it sees democratic seeds take root as a recipe for future strife in the region.
He calls China’s determined effort to stamp out democratic principles China’s “sharp power”.
The senior fellow goes on to state “China’s use of sharp power could shatter East Asia.”
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The repertoire of tools in China’s “sharp power” armoury is its global data gathering ecosystem, the concentrations camps of Xinjiang and Tibet, the use of China’s psychiatric system to lock up dissenting voices, and the alliance between local government and organised crime, as seen by the use of the Triads to harry the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
This system of coercion against “enemies” and financial encouragement towards “friends” is operated internationally by Beijing’s United Front.
The United Front is a network of groups and individuals and front organisations within China and abroad that advance the interests of the CCP.
Under Xi Jinping, the United Front has grown in size and scope.
The list of its “enemies” worldwide is also growing.
Mr Fulda added: “In order to protect its monopoly on power, the CCP has gone to great lengths to suppress any potential challenges to its continued rule.”
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