China Risks Losing Taiwan in Hong Kong

China blew a great opportunity during the confrontations in Hong Kong.

Since the British left Hong Kong in 1997, Taiwan has watched how Hong Kong’s supposed autonomy under “One nation; two systems” played out. You can bet they took note of the current crackdown.

Taiwanese are overwhelming (98%) descended from Han Chinese who immigrated from the mainland generations ago. Even though Taiwan has a liberal, multi-party political system and a vibrant economy, most of the world (including the United States) do not recognize it as a separate country.

Taiwan has as much to fear from China, Inc. as from the People’s Republic of China. Both (of course they’d get both) threaten to crush the independent culture and industry of the island.

China could hardly give in to the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong because that would incite hopes elsewhere in China proper, but they didn’t help their image in Taiwan.

Peaceful reunification was always a long shot. Recent events in Hong Kong make it longer.