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I know that the range of possibilities is broad, but some officials, such as the Chinese ambassador to France already spoke about unspecified re-education:

https://twitter.com/badiucao/status/1554946689445703680?s=20

Are there official plans, leaked or published, on what would happen to Taiwanese people, their rights, and their legal status within unified China?

Or perhaps is there an either official or 'commonly understood' standing offer such as "If you don't resist re-unification you will get to keep these rights and this status..."?

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    The same thing that happened to the "Chinese" citizens in Hong Kong and Tibet - restriction on political rights to comply with the one party system, forceful cultural assimilation, migration and re-population of the territories with other Chinese. Worst case, Uighyur type prison and re-education camps for the political activists that don't submit to the Chinese leadership.
    – sfxedit
    Apr 17, 2023 at 11:08
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    "...you will get to keep..." That phrase would also depend on how trustworthy the Chinese government is seen by the Taiwanese. In Hong Kong they not long ago broke their promise of "one country, two systems". But hey, maybe China has also somehow explained why Taiwan could actually trust any promise they could make (although I strongly doubt that). Apr 17, 2023 at 12:16
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    It really depends on who is on the leadership position. If it is Xi, then I don't think TW would believe anything he said or promised (HK enforces the perception of "China can't be trusted" in pro-independent Taiwanese). But if it were up to previous leaders like Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, there might be a better chance for the "one country, two systems" actually being carried out to the letters. Also, there won't be cultural assimilation because the culture is the same, and they are Chinese (ethnically), and there are much more efficient ways to make dissent help CPC rule TW than camps
    – Faito Dayo
    Apr 17, 2023 at 17:40
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    @ohwilleke I get a feeling that the answer is "None that we know of, apart from a few casual statements." Apr 18, 2023 at 9:16
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    Somewhat related: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/72377/… Apr 18, 2023 at 18:09

2 Answers 2

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official plans?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - A policy of "one country, two systems" on Taiwan

On September 30, 1981, Ye Jianying, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, officially put forward a nine-point proposal for bringing about the peaceful reunification of the mainland and Taiwan. He said that "after China is reunified, Taiwan may become a special administrative region. It may enjoy a high degree of autonomy and may keep its military forces. The national government will not intervene in the local affairs of Taiwan." "Taiwan's current social and economic systems will remain unchanged, its way of life will not change, and its economic and cultural ties with foreign countries will not change.'

Deng Xiaoping's scientific concept of "one country, two systems" was advanced in light of Taiwan's realities. It both upholds China's state sovereignty and takes into full account the specific conditions of Taiwan. According to the concept of "one country, two systems", two systems will be practiced within the sovereign state of the People's Republic of China. On the premise of one China, the main body of the country will practice the socialist system, while the existing capitalist system and way of life in Taiwan will remain unchanged for a long period of time. This concept is highly flexible in that it both gives full expression to the principle of bringing about China's reunification and upholding its sovereignty and takes into full consideration the history and realities of Taiwan.

Two things to note: First, keeping the "capitalist system" and "way of life" does not imply keeping democracy. And, if I recall correctly, this was exactly the promise made to Hong Kong and Britain, with the special regime to be maintained until 2047. We all know how that worked out.

One Country, Two Systems - June 22-23, 1984

The Chinese Government is firm in its position, principles and policies on Hong Kong. We have stated on many occasions that after China resumes the exercise of its sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, Hong Kong's current social and economic systems will remain unchanged, its legal system will remain basically unchanged, its way of life and its status as a free port and an international trade and financial centre will remain unchanged and it can continue to maintain or establish economic relations with other countries and regions. We have also stated repeatedly that apart from stationing troops there, Beijing will not assign officials to the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This policy too will remain unchanged. We shall station troops there to safeguard our national security, not to interfere in Hong Kong's internal affairs. Our policies with regard to Hong Kong will remain unchanged for 50 years, and we mean this.

We are pursuing a policy of "one country, two systems". More specifically, this means that within the People's Republic of China, the mainland with its one billion people will maintain the socialist system, while Hong Kong and Taiwan continue under the capitalist system.

In fact, how HK was treated reminds us of the fable of the scorpion crossing the river: knowing how much it would put the lie to the one country, two systems appeal wrt Taiwan, and in the midst of trying to court Taiwanese public opinion, China's CCP still couldn't countenance anything like people making small decisions for themselves, even with the highly stacked "democracy" it had rigged in HK.

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I would first reject the premise of "unification" or "reunification" (as there was no prior unity to speak of), and recommend the more accurate term "annexation".

As to what would happen during the annexation. History is overflowing with examples of large countries annexing small countries. We are witnessing one right now in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Among other things, the Chinese authority might attempt the following:

  • Slaughter Taiwan's political leadership. That includes the president, premier (prime minister), cabinet ministers, members of parliament, local mayors, local councillors, etc.

  • Suspend rule of law. The country would be put under strict military occupation. The constitution and statute laws would be suspended. There will be no judiciary to adjudicate disputes. Power is might.

  • Slaughter all dissenter. Once they're done with the political leaders, the Chinese military would seek to eliminate all dissenters. Civillians would be ecouraged to report on each other, possibly in exchange for reward. Expect seeing mass graves.

  • Erase all cultural signifier of former regime. All public signage and textbooks would be switched from traditional Chinese to simplified Chinese. Taiwanese history would be replaced with Chinese history in school and textbooks. Everyone must hand over their Taiwanese passport and be issued Chinese passport.

  • Deportation of Taiwanese children. Taiwanese children might be deported to mainland and be reassigned to Chinese families, in an effort to erase all existence of Taiwanese population. This has been done to Indigenous peoples in Canada and North America, to Ukranian people in the eastern part of the country, and to Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

... what would happen to Taiwanese people, their rights, and their legal status within unified China?

Or perhaps is there an either official or 'commonly understood' standing offer such as "If you don't resist re-unification you will get to keep these rights and this status..."?

What makes you think anyone has rights in China? Provided that there is no rule of law to enshrine those rights in the first place?

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    I agree that this is the most likely scenario but I would still be interested in what the government in Beijing claims will happen. Even if it is unbelievable, it can still shine a light on their assumptions and approach. "Here's a plan for gradual integration over the next 10 years" would send a very different message than "Our brothers on Taiwan will welcome us with open arms after we topple their government".
    – xyldke
    Apr 17, 2023 at 14:17
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    If you want to back up your assertion with cited references to previous Chinese actions, fine. But "take my word for it" doesn't really cut it on these sites. Apr 17, 2023 at 15:29
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    It's worth noting that when the KMT (the government of China before the PRC) took over Taiwan after WWII they did a significant amount of steps 2 through 4. To some extent they did step 1 during the 228 massacres by eliminating much of Taiwan's cultural and political elite.
    – Readin
    Apr 17, 2023 at 16:58
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    This answer is probably true, but it doesn't actually answer the question. It's fine that you think that Beijing's word is useless (I'm inclined to agree), but the OP has asked for Beijing's stated plans, and that's what the answers should give.
    – T Hummus
    Apr 17, 2023 at 17:44
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    I downvoted this answer because it is not an answer to the question. The question specifically asked for "official plans, leaked or published". This answer is nothing but speculation. Even if you believe that your speculation is accurate due to your personal experience or based on past history, that doesn't change the fact that it is not an answer to the question that was asked.
    – Philipp
    Apr 25, 2023 at 9:03

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