Xi camouflages his Master Plan for crushing Taiwan’s freedom


Sources that had functioned within the higher echelons of the Chinese Communist Party say that under the direction Xi Jinping, a Master Plan has been drawn that is to be ruthlessly (described as “resolutely” in the documents accessed by former cadres) implemented once Xi’s objective of the unification of Taiwan with the PRC takes place, writes Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat

Sources that were within the higher echelons of the CCP say that under the direction of Xi, a Master Plan has been drawn up that is to be ruthlessly implemented once his objective of the unification of Taiwan with the PRC takes place.

As a consequence of the firm response of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to PRC efforts at further expansionism at the cost of Indian territory, and the bravery and quality displayed by the Indian Army during the 2020 Galwan clash, chances are rising that it will be Taiwan and not India that would be facing a kinetic assault from China. Since 1949, it has been the declared ambition of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that the island nation of Taiwan would be integrated into the PRC in the manner that Xinjiang and subsequently Tibet was.

Despite the immense strategic implications of the absorption of Xinjiang and Tibet, in practice, since the 1950s there has been little blowback from major concerned countries at such an expansion by force of China’s borders. Despite the fact that the takeover of Tibet resulted in the territory controlled by the PRC acquiring a long border with India, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru accepted the change without demur. In 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India as a consequence of efforts to convert him and the high religious status he held into accomplices in whatever was decided by the CCP for Tibet. As a consequence, the traditional culture of Tibet was maintained and protected within India even while being systematically obliterated on the other side of the boundary.

Especially since the 1980s, Taiwan has transformed from an autocracy to a democracy of exceptional quality. As a consequence, the CCP is planning to ensure that any trace of democracy gets wiped out, should the PRC leadership succeed in their mission of integrating Taiwan into the PRC. Given that the Taiwanese people have over the years been more and more open against unification with China, such a process is expected to be lengthy and ruthless. After the Hong Kong protests during 2019-20, the CCP leadership believes that stamping out any trace of democratic behaviour is an existential matter for the party. The fear at the top was that the “democracy virus” would spread to the Mainland from Hong Kong, especially in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.

Hong Kong is a lesson in what happens to promises made by the CCP. Believing in the 1997 Basic Law, efforts were made by the population of Hong Kong from the 1990s until 2019 to make the governance system of the HK Special Autonomous Region conform to the processes of democracy in a way that was absent in the past. From 2016 onwards, such moves were met with harsher and harsher state repression, until by 2019, any trace of the implementation of the 1997 UK-PRC agreement on Hong Kong was snuffed out. Given its size and much deeper democratic roots, Taiwan is slated to experience much more elevated levels of repression than HK, which are to be carried out in order to extinguish any trace of the practice of democracy in the island.


Contours of planning for the Day After a takeover of the island nation by the PRC have become known as a consequence of the increasing distaste within the CCP cadre to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s arbitrary methods. Hundreds of thousands of CCP cadres have fled the country since 2012, although some of them are covert agents of the State Security Bureau of the PRC. From their inputs, it has been possible to piece together a profile of what is being planned for Taiwan from the “day after” the island nation gets overrun by the PLA and loses its freedoms.

Sources that had functioned within the higher echelons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) say that under the direction of General Secretary Xi Jinping, a Master Plan has been drawn that is to be ruthlessly (described as “resolutely” in the documents accessed by former cadres) implemented once Xi Jinping’s objective of the unification of Taiwan with the PRC takes place. In the meantime there have been thinly concealed efforts at keeping the fires of conflict burning in other flashpoints of the world in order to distract the US and its allies from focusing on the threat faced by Taiwan. Going by the information provided by former higher cadres, by 2021 nearly two million Taiwanese residents have been put on the database of the relevant wings of the CCP governance mechanism. This is the number of Taiwanese citizens considered by CCP security agencies to be “unreliable”. They have been marked for “re-education” on the model long practised by the PRC. As many as 280,000 have been identified as “Anti-State Elements”. These include those who have been especially vocal about the fact that Taiwan is an independent state, and should remain so.

They have been marked for confinement in camps until their “re-education” is completed. Almost 40,000 democracy activists and leaders are to be immediately sent to prison, while hundreds have been marked for execution as “Traitors to the (Chinese) State”, some after a show trial, others summarily. Such is the fate awaiting Taiwan should the PRC succeed in carrying out Xi’s vow that “unification will take place during my term” in office. A foretaste of such planning has been the way in which openly pro-democracy Taiwanese nationals visiting China since 2021 have had their entry cards destroyed in their presence. Several have been confined to cells for days before being put on the next ferry home.


Expectedly, the CCP has sought to conceal its intentions through a blitzkrieg of information warfare, including through popular CCP-controlled apps such as TikTok, that are very popular in Taiwan. As part of such a campaign of presenting a benign face towards the people of Taiwan, Xi Jinping had this month hosted a former President of Taiwan in the PRC, and given protocol and respect that has thus far been unprecedented where meetings between Taiwanese and Chinese leaders are concerned. Not very subtly, his effort was to show that far from disrespecting the island nation and its democratically elected politicians, the CCP leadership considers them as “family”. The message sought to be conveyed is that a takeover will be benign, a coming together of close relatives long separated. The factual situation has been revealed by former senior cadres who were part of the CCP governance mechanism but left out of fear that they would soon be next in line where the lengthening list of victims of the repression initiated in the PRC, especially since 2015, is concerned. Should a takeover happen, even those now favoured by the CCP as being genuine “compatriots” would find that the manner in which they get treated changes significantly. That this would be the case is by now well understood by a majority of the population in Taiwan, although a diminishing number still place their trust in CCP disinformation.


Ma Ying-jeou served two terms as President of Taiwan, and during that period, implemented several steps designed to bring the two economies closer together. In his final days in office, Ma faced a “Sunflower Movement” that opposed his efforts at getting passed a Services Agreement with China. It must be added that Ma has been a believer in peace, and in his view, at heart so is his “old friend” Xi. In April, the former Taiwanese President spent eleven days in the PRC. This was the second visit made by him to the neighbouring country, and for the second time he had a face to face meeting with Xi Jinping, the first such meeting being in Singapore in 2015. The April 2024 meeting was noted across the world for its optics and possible significance.

CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, the Head of State, Party, Military and Government’s 45-minute meeting with former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing, was held weeks ago in the Great Hall of the People rather than in the Taiwan or Fujian Room, as had been the norm when discussions between Chinese and Taiwanese policymakers take place. Unexpectedly, Xi made no reference to contentious issues such as cross-strait relations during the meeting, confining himself to pleasantries. Nothing gets done by a CCP leader without careful scripting, and it was clear that the intention behind the Xi-Ma meeting was to attempt

 to show the Taiwanese people that the other side are (in the words of Xi at the meeting), “family members”. The implication was that a takeover of Taiwan by the PRC, or what is termed “reunification”, would be a cordial affair, a “family reunion”, again in the words of Xi. Former President Ma has his ancestral roots in China, as do many other Taiwanese. However, unlike the overwhelming majority of his people, Ma remains sentimental about the other side of the Straits, and made no effort to conceal his joy at the warm welcome he received during his second visit to China, the first being to pray at the graves of his ancestors last year. During their first meeting at Singapore in 2015, Xi had told Ma that “we must meet again”, and this time as well, he expressed the same “you are always welcome” attitude.


Following the January 2024 victory of the DPP for the third time in the Taiwanese Presidential elections, the disinformation machinery of the PRC has been on overdrive in an effort to convince the population of the island that they would have nothing to fear from what would be (in view of the antipathy of 90% of Taiwanese to the idea) necessarily a forced absorption of Taiwan into the PRC. In 2019, the way in which the 1997 UK-PRC agreement on Hong Kong was torn to shreds by Xi Jinping helped ensure a second term for President Tsai Ing-wen, who is committed to retaining the freedoms of her country and ensuring that they do not get erased by a PRC takeover. In the last Presidential election, over 40% of the voters stood by the DPP and its candidates William Lai and his Vice-President pick Bikhim Hsiao, despite repeated threats from the Chinese side that a victory for the party would mean war. Another 23% voted for the Taiwan People’s Party, which promised to keep Taiwan free by skilful diplomacy with the Chinese. Scarcely a quarter of the population voted for the KMT, despite the fact that few even in the KMT favour unification with the PRC, knowing as they do the repressive nature of the state machinery on the other side.

KMT Chairperson Eric Chu had chosen New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi in 2023 as the party’s Presidential candidate in order to cut into the voting base of the DPP. Mayor Hou is what is termed a “native Taiwanese” and is moreover from the south of the island, where the DPP predominates. The choice of a native Taiwanese, that too from the south, an individual who had served as the Chief of Police during the tenure of President Chen Shui-bian of the DPP, upset the “Mainlander” faction of the KMT, and they succeeded in selecting Mainlanders with pro-China leanings as both the Vice-Presidential candidate of Hou and as the top pick of the party for the legislature. The consequence was that the KMT ticket changed colour in public perception from “light blue” (moderately friendly to China) to “dark blue” ( very friendly to China and open to unification). The switch in perception ensured that the KMT lost votes amongst a population that was more than 90% opposed to unification in any form. Much of the youth vote went to another party, the TPP, but not enough to enable it to secure more than eight seats in the Legislative Yuan. As the KMT became the largest party in the national legislature, and because the TPP abstained from voting, the KMT’s legislature party leader Han was elected Speaker on a minority of votes. Should DPP and TPP come together for the purpose of unseating Han, the DPP would get the Speakership and the TPP the Deputy Speakership, although as yet such a pairing does not appear to be in the works.


A drumbeat of reports have been appearing across the world that Xi Jinping does not want war, and that he would avoid kinetic action. Such a conclusion flies in the face of the reality that by 2027, conditions in the PRC are likely to make Xi’s position shaky, and he may calculate that (1) the US and its allies would no longer have the will to defend Taiwan if attacked by the PLA, and that (2) resistance by the nation could be crushed, were its allies to not step forward and defend its sovereignty. The CCP is also (3) banking on the conflict remaining confined to Taiwan, rather than expanding elsewhere within the Indo-Pacific. Xi is relying on the lack of appetite within the public in NATO member states to get involved in a conflict in Asia, unlike the enthusiasm they have shown where a European state, Ukraine, is concerned. The democracies are on notice, and the example of the 1930s in Europe shows the folly of believing that authoritarians under pressure, who have made no secret of their ambitions, will abstain from conflict should they decide that the same is needed to protect their position. Should President Biden sign into law the TikTok bill and the Tibet Bill, both of which have bipartisan support in the US Congress, such a step by the White House would give greater confidence to US friends and allies that the US in the 2020s is not what the UK was in the 1930s, sleeping at the wheel while the other side planned for war. Tik Tok has had a corrosive effect on US society, encouraging contempt for democratic institutions and politicians, while portraying China in rosy hues.

India and Japan in particular will be watching to see what President Biden’s reaction to Tik Tok as well as the Tibet and Taiwan legislation would be, given that under Modi, India is taking unprecedented steps to combat PRC expansionism, and in recent days Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan is coming closer to the line taken by his predecessor Shinzo Abe, who together with Modi will re-invigorate the Quad. Despite some missteps, overall the Quad is expanding its scope and capability, and is regarded as more than a match for the PLA where the defence of the Indo-Pacific is concerned.

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