After Hong Kong, China has its eyes on another prize
Date: August 4, 2020
By: Alessio Patalano
In the past few months, as the world battled to control the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing indulged in increased military activity across the Taiwan Strait. The purpose was to remind the newly re-elected Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, that Taiwan is an inherent part of China and that there is no alternative to reunification with the mainland by 2049. Westerners may find it difficult to comprehend the definitive nature of such a message. But events in Hong Kong suggest that Beijing takes it very seriously.
When it comes to messaging, nothing matches the significance that Beijing attaches to military might. In the old revolutionary days, Mao famously quipped that power comes out of the barrel of a gun. The revolution may seem like the distant past today, but Xi Jinping is not afraid to apply the Chairman’s saying.
Half a decade ago, Xi launched sweeping reforms to bring the People’s Liberation Army to the cutting edge of 21st-century warfare. No effort was spared in communicating Chinese intent and ambition. The army did its part to answer its leader’s call, introducing new training and exercises, reforming its command structure and growing at an incredible pace. In the past three years alone, the PLA has commissioned more combatants than the entire surface fleet of the Royal Navy. [FULL STORY]