I agree with Orville Schell and Carl Minzer’s comments on Xi Jinping’s proposal to remove the two-term limit on the presidency (Guardian, March 6). The proposal confirms mainland China’s commitment to authoritarianism. Coupled with China’s aggressive militarisation of disputed South China Sea territories, it makes progress in cross-strait relations more difficult.
The world should remain wary of China’s use of “sharp power” diplomacy as opposed to soft power. China has consistently employed intimidating tactics to pressure countries and businesses into executing its international agenda. For example, after backlash from the Chinese government, Marriott and Delta Airlines issued a toadying apology for listing Taiwan as a separate territory and promised to self-censor in the future. According to reports, China also abruptly restricted banana imports from the Philippines to punish Manila for contesting Beijing’s claim to Scarborough Shoal.
The international community should seek to counter China’s behaviour before it goes too far.
David YL Lin
Taipei Representative Office in the UK