China and Taiwan Post Coronavirus – Will Taiwan Finally Gain Independence?

  • Taiwan is escalating their critcism of China.
  • It is highly likely this summer Taiwan will amend its constition to declare independence.
  • Xi Jinping's lifetime leadership could be in jeopardy.

Coronavirus created a lot of challenges from the economic and security prospective. China’s failure to provide accurate data and contain the virus caused a lot of losses. The virus is claimed to be man made and such findings are corroborated by a Nobel Prize winning French virologist. China is facing a backlash for being the cause of the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world.  Japan recently announced funding to aid their companies in moving manufacturing out of China and back to Japan or alternatively to another country.

Qing Manchu Dynasty.

The State of Missouri is suing China for damages the state sustained due to COVID-19. It is highly likely that other US States will follow. There is talk of the US defaulting on China’s debt in lieu of the damages the US sustained. It is plausible some of the EU nations will follow separately or collaboratively under a EU collective claim.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, China was allowed to undermine Taiwan and the world looked away. Now, it is a completely different scenario. Historically, China and Taiwan had a  tumultuous relationship. During the 1911-1913 revolution, as a result of overthrowing the Qing dynasty, the formation of the Republic of China occurred.

The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China.

The Taiwan Strait.

There was an attempt to defeat the Chinese Communist Party between 1946-1949. Once defeated, the supporters of the opposition fled China to the Taiwan straight. A new governance was established on the islands and Taipei was chosen as the capital. The People’s Republic of China proclaimed to have jurisdiction on the Chinese mainland in the 1949. Therefore, China was divided into two separate parts.

Each government was considered the rightful representative of their country. Until the 1970s, the Republic of China, with its capital in Taipei, was recognized by most nations and international organizations as the legitimate authority of all of China. Until 1971, its representative held China’s place in the UN.

The concept of China’s “one country-two systems” took shape. Beijing expected Taiwan to be on the same trajectory for reunification as Hong Kong and Macao.

China experienced huge protests in Hong Kong prior to coronavirus. One almost wonders if the virus wasn’t used intentionally to force Hong Kong protests to disburse.

It is plausible China just underestimated the virus spread globally. However, their true motives, or the truth of how the virus originated and how it all happened, remain to be seen.  China continues to suppress any information and limit access to the data needed to gain a better understanding of the virus.  The lab that posted the genetic sequence of the virus was shut down and the doctors were disappearing in China.

Currently, the idea of Taiwan having closer relations with US is gaining momentum. The US is no longer interested in China’s interests. Before China was trying to control and block any contact or dealings with Taiwan. At this time, China has lost such power. Newly empowered Taiwan will solidify the nation’s desire to stop any sort of amalgamation with the Mainland. China no longer can enforce economic pressure on Taiwan.

At this time China’s standing on the world stage has been downgraded and their geopolitical influence is not as strong. It is highly plausible to expect Taiwan gaining sovereignty in the near future.

Another factor to consider is the precarious position of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Not so long ago term limits were removed in China. Xi became a lifetime ruler of communist China. If China loses Taiwan and more manufacturing moves out of China, its economy will begin a downward spiral. The pending lawsuits and other ramifications post coronavirus will create dissatisfaction with Xi’s leadership. As much as China suppresses and monitors everything, the dissatisfaction can start to happen within party ranks.

Hong Kong can restart protests and take the opportunity to separate from the weakened China as well. This time they could have additional support from the West to separate.  Another wave of unhappiness will likely happen within the nouveau riche class in China, who got accustomed to the high roller lifestyle. Loosing it will create huge dissatisfaction with the government.

Xi Jinping President of China.

Taiwan is gaining its voice and momentum, including an escalation of their accusations against China. Taiwan is claiming that WHO was warned back in November 2019 about the virus and China suppressed information relating to the true scenario.

This summer Taiwan might initiate a process to amend its Constitution to declare independence. Of course, there would be push back from China, but at this time the West will no longer side with China.

It is highly likely US President Donald Trump and the EU will support Taiwan in finally gaining independence. It is unlikely China will chose to resort to military operations to keep Taiwan and it is very plausible if such happened, it will face severe sanctions, including the possibility of NATO stepping in.

As much as Russia and China have symbiotic dealings, Russia will not risk being further shunned by the West. Given the oil price drop and coronavirus, the Russian economy can’t afford at this time to be involved in any armed conflict backing China in Taiwan.

This year will be an interesting time and the geopolitical balance will shift. What will happen to China on the global stage remains to be seen

It is for certain, coronavirus has damaged China’s claim to dominance and set back their ambitions. Xi staying as president is going to be a bumpy ride and the outcome is unknown.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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