Beijing not only Threatens the Republic of China (Taiwan) with Mao’s “Cultural Revolution”
ISSUE 2021 / 11
“The Ministry of Truth – Minitrue, in Newspeak [Newspeak was the official language of Oceania […] was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE – FREEDOM IS SLAVERY – IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH:
[…] The Ministry of Truth […] concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts.“ (George Orwell 1949, p. 6).
George Orwell’s science fiction “1984” is no longer fiction today. Well-sounding goals have long been incorporated into political agendas that strive for the exact opposite. The tensions between the Peo-ple’s Republic and Taiwan (Republic of China) are a good example of this. Orwell’s literary subject is based on the linguistic Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, according to which language influences thinking. This can be used to deconstruct power techniques used by dictatorships and their ruling elites. In the case of the People’s Republic, language politics play a key role. It regulates public use of language and is intolerant of regional and minority languages. Trough language planning, Pejing stages its “peaceful reunification” while at the same time threatening Taiwan with war if it resists. This corre-sponds to the slogan “War is peace”. Equally ambiguous is the phrase “freedom is slavery”, accord-ing to which Taiwan must have fallen into economic dependency because of its desire for freedom. Again, the opposite is the case: Beijing’s economic reforms in the 1990s were an attempt to copy the successful model of the tiger state and “class enemy”. Finally, the People’s Republic has adopted Orwell’s slogan “ignorance is strength”: Its UN membership (1971) is based on a deception of the world community about the victims of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and the expected con-sequences of the digital revolution.
The following article analyses the background of the tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) from the perspective of political culture research. While Taiwan is fighting for its international rehabilitation and recognition, Beijing is concerned with cultural hegemony over the Chinese-speaking community worldwide. Thereby, the People’s Republic conceals its political agenda with the vocabulary of the United Nations (UN). The deeper interests remain hidden from the inexperienced observer, although they are openly stated elsewhere.
For example, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his country’s UN membership, Foreign Minister Wang Yi defended the “common values of humanity” such as peace and democracy, but declared in the same speech that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would remain true to its goals (fmprc.gov.cn, 25.6.2021). According to the party statute, this includes “The Four Cardinal Principles – adhering to the socialist road, adhering to the people’s democratic dictatorship, adhering to Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and adhering to the leadership of the Communist Party of China” (The Basic Line, KPCh)
In this way, the CCP not only rejects the model of a pluralist society for itself. According to the declared goal of a “reunification of the motherland” (CPC Program, 24.10.2017) Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are also to be converted to Chinese style socialism. As former colonial territories, Hong Kong and Macau are now part of the People’s Republic with treaty-protected autonomy rights until 2047 and 2049 respectively, whereas Taiwan is an independent state.
It sees itself as the successor to the Republic of China, proclaimed in 1947, whose government withdrew to the island in the South Pacific during the civil war, which was then administered by the USA. The People’s Republic has been demanding its return since its constitution on 1 October 1949, so that its legal status as an independent state is doubted in many places. [S. 1 f.]