chapter  12
18 Pages

China’s Soft Power over Taiwan

WithDalton Lin, Yun-han Chu

Between 2008 and 2016, China had a chance to experiment with its soft power attraction in Taiwan. In the end, the soft power push met with a backlash on the island. This chapter argues that China’s economic soft power failed to attract Taiwan to embrace cross-strait economic integration, let alone political integration, because Beijing had turned the logic of soft power upside down. Chinese leaders made Taiwan’s commitment to unification (the so-called One China principle) seemingly a precondition for accessing China’s economic soft power resources and obstructed Taiwan’s integration with third-party countries to substantiate the notion that Taiwan is part of China. The precondition and obstruction made anyone who advocated for closer relations with China suspected of kowtowing to Beijing and selling out Taiwan. It thus became challenging to encourage a soft power response on the island.