China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) has established 79 “exchange bases” in various provinces as its latest “united front” tactic to entice young Taiwanese to identify more with China, a report compiled by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said.
These bases are at sites or buildings that bear historical or cultural significance, and are “aimed at evoking the shared background [between people on either side of the Taiwan Strait] through history, culture, and religion,” the report said.
They also aim to encourage civic exchanges by “linking young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait with Chinese culture,” it added.
Photo: CNA
Some bases feature Confucianism, Confucian temples, Matsu temples, temples of Guan Gong (關公) — the Chinese deity of war and martial arts — and the native home of the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi, 黃帝), the mythical ancestor of Han Chinese, it said.
The Chinese government invites Taiwanese people and civic groups to China to participate in exchange activities to expose them to propaganda relating to Chinese culture and economic development, it said.
Sichuan Province has set up 23 exchanges bases for Chinese teenagers to interact with those from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, the report said.
The TAO, the Chinese Communist Party propaganda department, and the party’s United Front Work Department have taken secondary roles to the exchange bases in recent years in an effort to engage Taiwanese with softer tactics than what has typically been seen from the “united front,” it said
Major provinces along China’s southeast coast have been encouraged to establish bases that emphasize local culture, it added.
Fujian Province has created 18 exchange bases since 2000; Hubei and Jiangsu provinces have six each; Guangdong, Shandong and Zhejiang have five each; and Yunnan and Sichuan have four each, it said.
Other bases are located in Hunan, Anhui, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Gansu and Inner Mongolia, distributed throughout two-thirds of China’s provinces, it added.
The report suggested that the government monitor these bases and pledge to work with relevant agencies to improve information transparency, risk warning and safety management.
It also urged Taiwanese to be aware of exchange campaigns created by Beijing.
The government should investigate and punish Taiwanese who contravene the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), it added.
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