‘My Fighting Eagles Fly Around Formosa’: Is This the ‘China Dream’ for Taiwan?

China has steadily signaled to Taiwan that ‘peaceful reunification’ comes with a generous side helping of military domination.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/03/11
By Robert S. Wang

Credit: Alert5 / CC BY-SA 4.0

On Feb. 5, 2019, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) published an article entitled “PLA bombers, jet fighters in Beijing’s ‘Happy Lunar New Year’ video message to Taiwan” and provided a link to the film itself, titled “My Fighting Eagles Fly Around Formosa.” According to the SCMP, this three-and-a-half minute video was released on Weibo, a popular social media platform in China, by the PLA Air Force Airborne Corps on Sunday (Feb. 3) with a note saying it was to celebrate the New Year.

The film starts by displaying beautiful scenes of what appears to be Taiwan’s mountains, lakes and rivers, and ocean waters surrounding its islands. It also includes shots of children playing in the water and on beaches, grandparents celebrating with their family at home, shoppers and others strolling on crowded city streets, and the iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper. At the same time, interspersed throughout the film were images of Chinese bombers and fighters flying in formation and doing maneuvers among white clouds and in clear blue skies, taking off and landing, and young pilots in uniform marching around their aircrafts. The lyrics of the catchy music accompanying these images sing of “my fighting eagles flying around Formosa softly calling on brothers and sisters to return.”

In watching this video several times, I still find it hard to understand its intent and targeted audience. Is it trying to persuade Taiwan’s “brothers and sisters” portrayed in the film to return? Did the video producers, and the Chinese government, really believe that this film would actually win over the hearts and mind of the people of Taiwan to the prospect of unification? Having worked and lived in Taiwan for many years, I cannot imagine that even my most ardent friends in the Kuomintang (KMT) would see this video as attractive and persuasive to them and their supporters, much less my friends in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). If the Chinese government considers this video to be an effective propaganda tool, it only shows to me how very much detached they are from the reality of Taiwan and its people today.

Insofar as the video was released on Weibo, it may be that the intended audience is actually the Chinese public, especially those exuberant nationalists on the internet. Here, the intent may be to build up patriotism and strengthen support for the government, especially in the wake of increasing doubts about the current economy. At the same time, one wonders if the general public would welcome military threats and perhaps even attacks on their civilian “brothers and sisters” across the Strait? This seems to be what the film implies, even if juxtaposed with beautiful scenery and soft music. Having worked and lived in China for over a decade spanning 30 years, I doubt that my many friends in China would welcome such a scenario, however much they favor unification. If I’m wrong, it would suggest an even wider cross-Strait gap than I had thought and would confirm the worst fears of the Taiwan people about the prospect of unification with their “brothers and sisters” across the Strait.    [FULL  STORY]

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